As cities struggle with home sharing, here’s a guide to what they are doing to restrict Airbnb listings

Short-term rentals are nothing new to Orange County. But with the recent surge in home-sharing listings online, homeowners and city officials from the beaches to the hills are on a quest to rein them in, and in some cases, quash them altogether.

Just this week, city councils in Santa Ana and Anaheim passed restrictions on such lodging, most of them marketed on “sharing economy” websites like Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway. Many listing their properties on such sites typically aren’t permitted. In a lot of cases, Airbnb hosts say they aren’t aware of local laws addressing rentals.

City actions are in direct conflict with property owners and renters eager to jump into the often profitable business of renting out extra bedrooms or entire homes to vacationers and road warriors.

Michael Bargetto, who lists his Newport Beach condo on Airbnb, said most hosts, himself included, rent out their units responsibly and regulation would only stand in the way of long-needed innovation in the hospitality industry.

“Airbnb is the solution to this very (longstanding) problem of how people travel,” Bargetto said. “It’s allowed me to supply a product that people want to purchase.”

Anaheim resident Howard Vaughn welcomes more regulation. He and neighbors, he said, have noticed an uptick in noise and trash complaints as a result of five short-term rentals going live in the last four months. One, he said, is a home that was renovated to accommodate as many as 30 people.

“I don’t feel comfortable coming out there,” said Vaughn, referring to his residential block.

Rules on vacation rentals already exist in most cities in the region but they vary greatly. They’ve been banned outright in some areas as far back as the 1950s. In others, they must be permitted and taxed. And in a growing number of cases, cities are revisiting– and potentially revising – regulations that are already in the books.

Here’s a breakdown of what most major local cities are doing to address home sharing:

HALTED, PAUSED

Anaheim

Active Airbnb listings: 333

Status: Applications halted. Council members on Tuesday approved a 45-day moratorium on new short-term rental applications, with the possibility that the stay can be extended. During that time, the city will examine how it can better regulate short-term listings. One suggestion: Increase the $250 registration fee charged each year to property owners who rent out their homes. One council member proposed spending an additional $200,000 to ramp up code enforcement on evenings and weekends. Those with existing permits are allowed to continue operating. Council members are expecting a report on this issue Oct. 20.

Santa Ana

Active Airbnb listings: 121

Status: Temporarily banned. The City Council approved a 45-day moratorium Tuesday and is also eyeing permanent regulation. The vote was prompted by Santa Ana’s first run-in with a short-term rental issue: a six-bedroom house that neighbors say hosted a frequently changing cast of renters and pool parties sometimes going late into the night.

Laguna Beach

Active Airbnb listings: 174

Status: New applications halted. An existing moratorium was extended in August until Oct. 1, 2016. Though there may be close to 200 short-term vacation rentals in the city, only 53 units are permitted. In the meantime, city staff members are crafting an ordinance to ban all short-term lodging in residential zones, which constitute the majority of the city. Short-term lodging options in commercial zones may be considered. But if allowed, the permits would come with requirements, such as fire inspections and on-site parking.

REVIEWING POLICIES

Huntington Beach

Active Airbnb listings: 266

Status: Prohibited since the 1950s. Exceptions include bed and breakfasts. However, the City Council plans to review the issue of vacation rentals at a study session in the fall.

San Clemente

Active Airbnb listings: 170

Status: Vacation rentals must be registered and are subject to a 10 percent transient occupancy tax, according to the city code. Owners must collect the taxes and file tax returns. The city recently imposed a moratorium on issuing permits to sober-living homes, partly to review city codes related to all home-based businesses, including short-term lodging.

Laguna Niguel

Active Airbnb listings: 155

Status: No regulations are on the books, but the City Council plans to address the issue of vacation rentals in October.

Fullerton

Active Airbnb listings: 62

Status: The city has no restrictions in place, but officials say home-sharing rentals are becoming an issue. For now, they will monitor complaint calls.

POLICIES IN PLACE

Irvine

Active Airbnb listings: 369

Status: The city bans the rental of a space or unit for 30 days or fewer, unless it’s in a hotel-motel zone. Those who violate the policy could face a $100 fine for the first day, $200 for the second day, $500 for the third day and every day thereafter.

Newport Beach

Active Airbnb listings: 315

Status: Since 2004, the city has had a long-term moratorium on short-term lodging permits for areas zoned for detached single family homes.

Dana Point

Active Airbnb listings: 114

Status: A permit, which costs $150, is required. The rule has been in place since April 2013.

Staff writers Jessica Kwong, Art Marroquin, Greg Mellen, Megan Nicolai, Lou Ponsi, Erika Ritchie, Fred Swegles and Christopher Yee contributed to this report. Airbnb listings provided by Beyond Pricing.

Contact the writer: 714-796-4976 or lleung@ocregister.comTwitter: @LilyShumLeung

Leave a Reply