Huntington Beach has amended its short-term rental ordinance to allow rental owners to continue to list their properties on sites like Airbnb or Vrbo without a permit until Dec. 31.
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The current short-term rental ordinance was effective starting in early 2021 and would have delisted unpermitted short-term rental owners on Oct. 1. This ordinance came after months of planning and public hearings, according to a staff presentation.
The City Council voted unanimously last Tuesday in favor of a three-month extension with some members saying it was a modest accommodation. Short-term rental owners told council members that the extension was much needed and would help them avoid financial pain.
In April, the City Council formed an ad-hoc committee to specifically address short-term rental complaints and get feedback from stakeholders in the community, according to the presentation.
Despite this, some say they are struggling to receive a permit that allows them to continue to rent out to visitors of Huntington Beach while the deadline is fast approaching.
“I’ve tried everything to get the place permitted in the time you’ve given us and October 1st is not achievable,” one short-term rental owner told the council during the meeting.
For some rental owners, short-term lodgings are a large part of their financial stability. With permits being difficult for some to attain, the Oct. 1 deadline would burden them financially, they said.
The Huntington Beach Rental Alliance was formed in 2017 to work with the City Council to “permit, tax and regulate short-term rentals in Huntington Beach,” according to its website.
“I began hosting four years ago after my father died,” a member of the alliance told the council in comments phoned in during the meeting. “AirBNB and short-term hosting has been the only way for me to pay my bills. I’d like to keep this home in my family, and short-term rental is the only way I’ve been able to do that.”
Other short-term rental owners addressed neighbors’ concerns of noise and safety issues claiming their properties were constantly monitored to make sure these problems would not arise. One property owner said his property manager lives just blocks away from his rental and the lodging is monitored via cameras.
Some council members recognized the amount of work it took to create the existing ordinance and didn’t want to amend it so quickly.
“The whole purpose of this thing was to get a foundation. I’m supportive of going forward with what we’ve agreed on already,” Council member Erik Peterson said.
However, Peterson also acknowledged the concerns of many local rental owners.
“But if anyone has an application in right now, I wouldn’t delist them because they are in that process. There are some great benefits for STR (short-term rental) – if you have large families or people with disabilities, it makes it easier for them,” he said.
Other council members said there appeared to be no harm in giving owners three extra months.
“There isn’t a compelling enough reason to not extend this to the end of the year,” said Council member Mike Posey.