Vacation rental owners provide furnished homes to guests for stays of less than 30 days. This is an important part of local visitor services. People looking for more unique and personal accommodations love vacation rentals. These travelers prefer private dwellings to hotels. Typically we serve those traveling as a family or as a group of friends who want spacious accommodations and full kitchens. Many vacation renters report that they won’t travel any other way when arranging leisure travel accommodations. Further, dietary restrictions of travellers may necessitate a private kitchen to prepare food when they travel, and vacation rentals are their only option. The vacation rental guest is not the business traveler who is usually best served by hotel accommodations.
We are not competition to hotels. During peak events, the County badly needs vacation rentals, as hotels frequently lack capacity to support all the visitors who want to attend these events. If Vacation Rentals are banned, the travelers will simply take their business to other jurisdictions (Monterey, Halfmoon Bay) which allow vacation rentals.
Monterey Herald article that was posted on 7/16/16
Charles Bates: A force for good: Short-term rentals help locals share our coast
By Charles Bates, Guest commentary
As a Monterey County homeowner, I am fortunate to live in what is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in the country. I wake up every morning near breathtaking coast, lined by expanses of white sand and tall cliffs that give way to bright blue water. It’s no wonder that so many visitors want to experience this stunning area for themselves.
Renting a home on short-term rental (STR) sites like HomeAway and VRBO allows locals to share our coast with visitors. Sharing homes as an STR has enabled many locals to meet countless individuals from a diverse array of backgrounds and introduce them to our favorite place on earth.
Many property owners in Monterey County have benefited from sharing their homes on the STR market. A recent survey found that nearly a third of Monterey County residents have rented out their homes on a short-term basis or know someone who has. Recent press coverage of the STR ecosystem details several residents’ experiences renting their homes. For one homeowner, renting her property helped her pay her mortgage and medical expenses while she battled cancer.
For travelers, STRs expand their choice of lodging options in Monterey County. This is important for those vacationing with families, on a budget, or for an extended period of time. Vacation rentals also allow travelers the opportunity to stay in areas beyond the traditional hotel districts. Providing accommodations based upon free market principles helps make Monterey County a more accessible and enjoyable destination for all who wish to experience it. According to one study, visitors rented roughly 350,000 room-nights in Monterey County short-term rentals in 2013, and some travelers would not have chosen to visit Monterey County if they had not been able to stay in a vacation rental.
But short-term rentals don’t just benefit property owners and travelers — they benefit Monterey County’s entire economy. A recent survey found that 55 percent of local residents believe the vacation rental market is important to the county economy — and they’re right. Research shows that rentals generated $131.8 million in total economic activity in Monterey County, supporting over 1,400 jobs in 2013.
Some opponents wrongly claim that they hurt our county by converting would-be affordable long-term rental properties into vacation rentals. But the reality is most STRs are either primary or secondary homes that owners keep for personal use. Most STR owners would not offer their properties for long-term rental if they could no longer rent them out as STRs. And, even if current rental owners were willing to rent their properties on the long-term rental market, it is unlikely that the coastal short-term rentals would become affordable housing.
Short-term rentals are a win-win-win for property owners, travelers and Monterey County residents as a whole, a point underscored by the voices of support they receive. The California Coastal Commission recently wrote a letter recognizing the value STRs bring to our coastal communities, and urging county officials to work with owners to enact an ordinance that would permit and regulate STRs.
On July 13, the Monterey County Resource Management Agency will discuss its intentions to develop an ordinance to permit and regulate short-term rentals. This is a great step toward ensuring that STRs will continue to benefit property owners, visitors and our local economy while also protecting neighborhoods with enforceable rules and restrictions. Local short-term rental owners and managers place a high priority on drafting fair regulations that protect neighborhood values. However, it is important that the Monterey County Resource Management Agency develops equitable and common-sense rules that balance the need to regulate and tax STRs with the rights of property owners and the need to preserve the many positive impacts short-term rentals have on our county.
THE SHARING ECONOMY
Vacation rentals are part of what’s now called the “sharing economy”. We share our homes and local hospitality with our visitors. This is not a new concept. Vacation rentals have been a part of Santa Cruz County’s visitor serving menu since the early 1900's. Some of our members have guest books that go back to the 1920's. We have shared our homes with people of all walks of life and from all over the world.
Rental income from vacation rentals is reinjected into the local economy in multiple ways. The owners hire local cleaning companies, and realtors to the manage the properties. Their income is also used to support local businesses, schools, non-profits and more. Many of the local owners are deeply involved and committed community members helping make life better for the entire community around them.
We not only share our homes but we act as a concierge, referring our guests to restaurants, wineries and local attractions. Vacation rentals also enable visitors to access the California coast, a prime objective of the California Coastal Commission.