Vacation rental regulatory news for the week of February 4, 2018
South Lake Tahoe
From the Article: “Now activists are pushing an even tougher ballot measure that would make operating vacation rentals unlawful in much of the city.
The issue pits full-time residents concerned about the impact on their neighborhoods against those making extra income or subsidizing their mortgages by renting out their homes. Over three years, the ballot measure would eliminate 1,400 vacation rentals – or roughly 75 percent of those homes currently licensed as rentals.”
Takeaway: If you thought local regulation debates were bad, ballot initiatives are worse! Ballot initiatives connected to vacation rentals are not new. Gearhart, Oregon and Palm Springs, California have been fighting initiative actions over the last year and now even Pacific Grove, California could have a fight at the ballot box. When issues hit the ballot, they only demonstrate one thing, that local officials are not taking leadership roles on an issue. In the case of vacation rentals, officials continue to fail to create equitable ordinances that respect the rights of property owners, or they create rules that do not target the specific problems they face like noise, parking, or housing issues. Bans do not solve problems and ballot initiatives will only divide communities even more by pitting out of town property owners against local residents.
From the Article: “DuBose said Silvey’s case is the third he has litigated over a short-term vacation rental. Two of those cases have involved vacation rentals on Lake Oconee east of Atlanta, one of which led to the arrest and jailing of the New Jersey owner. In the second case, the homeowner decided to pay a fine rather than challenge the ordinance.
“We believe that jurisdictions passing these new ordinances are not giving proper consideration to grandfathered rights for people who rented on a short-term basis prior to the adoption of these new ordinances,” DuBose said.
Takeaway: Lookout Mountain, Lake Oconee, Savannah, and Hall County are all examples of why the Georgia Legislature needs to take up HB 579, which would stop cities from outright banning short-term rentals. Communities across Georgia and the U.S. are criminalizing property owners from simply renting their homes. While pre-emption bills are not perfect, they are a way to slow down the onslaught of regulations on an industry that not many policymakers understand.