Letter: Don’t dismiss whole short-term rental industry because of a few bad apples
To the editor,
I wish to voice my concern regarding the new proposals for managing short terms rentals (STRs). I feel there is a lot or negative information be voiced by a very vocal minority, and I do not understand the reason for this. I live in Pacific Grove, and last year we had a similar situation that went to the ballots with the idea of limiting STRs. The vocal negatives were stating that there are out of control parties in these houses and houses could not be rented to families live here. I can say in my neighborhood we have an STR. It was abandoned and an unattractive nuisance for a year or so, in disrepair and a blight on the area. Now it is fixed up and well cared for. The guests are always quiet and courteous. I am very happy to have this next to my house. It invigorates the neighborhood and brings in much needed revenue to the city through taxes, restaurant use and shopping.
Last year I started using our second home in Paso Robles as an STR. We really enjoy coming to Paso for long weekends and have done so for many years, staying at many different STRs in that time. We are involved in the wine industry, and so we come here quite frequently. While we have enjoyed our stays in hotels in the area, they do not offer the same feel as your own home away from home. This is exactly why the whole AirBnB/VRBO experience has exploded worldwide. The house we bought needed work, and we spent a lot of money locally fixing up the home to get ready to rent. We will take the effort and spend money as needed to keep it looking its best as long as it can be used as an STR. Good visual appearance is must to attract guests. The same cannot be said for long term rentals. Treatment of problems with guests are no different than problems with long term renters. The police can be called, they can be fined, they can be banned. There is no need to dismiss a whole industry because of a few bad apples.
Now we provide the city with around $500 per month in TOT, as well as provide a revenue stream to our management company, a gardener, janitorial service, and pool professional. We can review our guests as they review us, and have had no complaints from the neighbors. Our guests and I regularly support the local downtown shops and restaurants, as well as the many wineries spending $100s per day dining/shopping/tasting/going to events. This would not happen if the house had as long term tenant.
The bottom line is STRs provide great tax revenue to the city. With over 300 rentals that’s $1.8 million per year in TOT revenue alone. New guests every week means a constant stream of new diners at local restaurants, shoppers, and would-be oenophiles. The houses are kept in great condition inside and out, and employ local companies to manage.
I urge your readers to let City Council know that any drastic changes to a great system that helps the local community and tourists alike will greatly impair the city.