PUBLIC OPINION REGARDING SHORT-TERM RENTALS
Short-term rentals (STRs) are strongly supported by owners and opposed by some residents. To better understand the County-wide sentiment, a poll was taken in April 2016. The results indicated that 66% of County residents believe short-term rentals are beneficial. This was true even in Supervisor District 5. Click here to see the full poll report.
The strongest opposition to short-term rentals comes from the Big Sur area but even there opinion is fairly evenly split. The Coast Property Owners Association(CPOA), polled Big Sur residents. The results showed 47% in favor of short-term rentals, 53% against.
MCVRA understands that vacation rentals can cause problems in the neighborhood. We have attended every neighborhood meeting called by the County. In those meetings, neighbors have described problems caused by vacation rentals. MCVRA has presented the County with realistic and enforceable regulation terms to solve or resolve potential neighborhood issues.
1. Special Events. Many of these problems stem from special events held at vacation rental homes. Special events include conferences, seminars, wedding ceremonies, etc. that tend to have too many people, too many vehicles, and the potential for noise. MCVRA has agreed that special events shall not be permitted at our homes unless a separate event permit is obtained.
2. Too many people. Headcount should be limited by the rental agreement. Industry standards are two people per bedroom plus one. For example, a two-bedroom unit could have five people.
3. Parking problems. The number of vehicles should be limited by the rental agreement depending upon the garage space, driveway capacity, and on-street parking availability. The rental agreement and the permit for the property should state where parking is permitted. The rental agreement should also advise guests that speed limits and parking rules must be obeyed. Motor homes, campers, and trailers should be prohibited by the rental agreement.
4. Use of private roads. Neighbors have had to direct guests to their destination on private roads. MCVRA suggests that an owner or manager must meet the guest at the nearest public road upon arrival, in cases where the home is more than a quarter mile from a public road.
5. Noise disturbances: MCVRA accepts that a responsible person must be available to resolve a problem at the home within 30 minutes. Phone number(s) should be made available to immediate neighbors. The rental agreement should request that the guest respect the neighborhood and the neighbor’s rights. Loud music and noise should be prohibited and quiet time specified.
6. Fire safety: Rental agreements must specify limitations on smoking, grills, and beach fires.
7. Pets: Rental agreements should spell out pet rules. These should conform to community rules and local beach rules. Leash laws must be obeyed. Guests must clean up after their pets.
8. Garbage: The rental agreement should spell out how and where garbage and recyclable material should be placed. If smoking is permitted on the property, cigarette butts shall be properly disposed.
1. The best enforcement of rules is to avoid a problem beforehand. Careful screening of prospective guests can do this. Questions regarding a wedding or party are a red flag. Headcount should be questioned in every case. If the prospect cannot immediately state the headcount, this may represent a problem. If the prospect asks how many people can “drop by”, you have a problem. The owner/manager must do everything possible to insure that our neighbors’ needs for a quiet peaceful neighborhood are met. Rental agreements should require a security deposit and advise guests that they can be asked to leave with no refund if they cause a disturbance.
2. If a problem does arise, it is best by far if the owner/manager responds quickly and resolves the problem. Neighbors should have already been encouraged to call the owner/manager first. Threatening forfeiture of a security deposit usually works.
3. If the problem is not resolved in a timely manner, neighbors can call MCVCA’s hot line. This is an anonymous reporting number. It is manned 7 days a week. Call 1-831-250-6801. MCVCA will attempt to resolve the problem and then discuss the situation with the owner/manager. We want problems to be resolved quickly and avoided in the future. We do not want repeated nuisances.
4. Worst of all for everyone is a neighbor’s call to the police or to the County. The County has the authority to deal with violations by putting you on notice, fining you and shutting you down.
MCVRA believes strongly in responsible management to insure vacation homes fit seamlessly into neighborhoods. We promote responsible management in the selection of guests, the rental agreement, and the enforcement of rules. But sometimes a guest can cause noise, parking or safety problems. We have a hot line number for any complaint a neighbor might have. It is manned 7 days a week. Call 1-831-250-6801.