Nov 13, 2013 –Another partial victory for the vacation rental industry occurred Tuesday in San Luis Obispo, CA, when the City Council voted 3-1 to create a new ordinance allowing short term rentals of 30 days or less in owner-occupied homes.
Supporters of vacation rentals packed the council chambers, with more than 15 people speaking in support of legalization. A handful of opponents also spoke about privacy, decreased safety in neighborhoods and businesses operating in residential areas.
“If we ban this practice I think we are shooting ourselves in the foot from a tourism perspective,” said Councilwoman Kathy Smith.
Homeowners offering short-term rentals through Airbnb, VRBO.com and other sites will be required to pay transient occupancy tax and possibly get a use permit from the city. Vacation rentals that are not the homeowner’s main residence, so far, remain illegal.
To accomplish this win, a group of homeowners united to form a group called SLO Hosts, created a petition and circulated the petition using grass roots efforts and social media.
“If we are not good neighbors, we would not be able to continue as hosts,” said John Semon, who spoke on behalf of SLO Hosts.
Homeowners renting rooms to travelers began receiving enforcement letters last March telling them to stop renting or face fines of up to $500 per violation.
It is unclear how the short-term home stays will be regulated by the city. The new ordinance will come back to the City Council sometime next year for final approval.