HB Council Considers Legalizing Short-term Rentals

By Dan Jamieson

Even though HB has more than 800 short-term rental units (such as typically offered through Airbnb and other services), owners of the properties are in the awkward position of breaking the law.

That’s because short-term rentals (STRs) are not allowed in the city.

But the HB City Council looks like it will seriously consider legalizing and regulating short-term rentals.

At a September 4, 2019 study session, Council members seemed willing to move forward after hearing from residents who said they rely on rental income to pay bills and remain in the city.

And notably, the city’s hotel industry appears willing to accept the change. Kelly Miller, head of Visit HB, which represents hotels and other tourist businesses, told the Council that handling short-term rentals was a “tough issue” but that Visit HB would support what the Council comes up with.

Legalizing and taxing short-term rentals would generate between $450,000 and $800,000 in bed taxes yearly for the city, according to consultant Lisa Wise’s estimates given at the study session, although that doesn’t include costs of regulating rentals. Still, Ursula Luna-Reynosa, HB director of community development, said that the four cities HB analyzed that have legalized STRs (Carlsbad, Carpinteria, Newport Beach, Pismo Beach) all found that legal STRs were revenue-positive.

A big issue for HB may be whether to allow non-hosted rentals (renting from an absentee landlord). Council members Erik Peterson, Jill Hardy and Lyn Semeta had reservations about allowing non-hosted rentals, while Kim Carr favors the idea.

Council members were also concerned about STRs’ potential effects on home prices and housing stock, and how to handle multiple-unit properties like apartments.

Kathryn Levassiur, who leads the HB Short-term Rental Alliance, a group of STR hosts, tells Huntington Beach Tomorrow that her group wants all existing STRs grandfathered, with bed tax-collection done through Airbnb.

Operators of STRs can be required to give contact information to abutting neighbors, have quiet hours and for unhosted rentals, install noise monitors, Levassiur said.


3 Replies to “HB Council Considers Legalizing Short-term Rentals”

  1. Make STRs legal in HB, and everyone and their Chinese mother are going to do it. Then, just watch prices explode. What residential family buyer can compete with a biz who stands to lose $1000s on not paying over asking price for that home?

    The 20% of residential market supply taken by STRs & SLHs businesses is going to go up. That will squeeze families out of the market!


  2. This is so wrong. We have had problems with this in our townhome community and the late nights of vacationers is awful. Trying to work the next day while your neighbors have kept us up all night is a nightmare. We have enough hotels in this city. Enough is enough if people can’t afford to live here they need to move, not do short time rentals. Look at Oahu. When are council members going to look after the people of their city. It’s not all about money guys!lor

  3. How many of these council members have had a non-hosted STR move 6’ from their home, their children, their lifetime investment? Every week a crap shoot: House full of smokers on the patio? Loud music until morning? House parties on a school night? (Almost) every week it’s something new, never good. EVERY week, I take out the trash of the “hotel next door” because if I don’t, maggots, flies and ants. The question really isn’t whether STR is good for the neighborhoods in which they exist, ask any neighbor. What is being decided is whether HB city government represents its residents or solely seeks tax revenue to enlarge itself?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s