Short term rental regulations taking shape in Placer County
A new ordinance that would place stricter regulations on owners of short-term rentals in Placer County is still in the works, with the county looking to introduce new rules in early November.
“I realize that most are not a problem,” said Supervisor Cindy Gustafson of the short-term rentals throughout the county. “Those that are a problem are affecting the quality of life in their neighborhood significantly.”
In August the county launched a complaint hotline for neighbors of short-term rentals to report disrespectful tenants. Since then 81 calls have been received with 59% of complaints concerning excessive noise or parties. Nearly all the complaints came from the eastern region of the county.
“Beside changing our communities, we’re finding huge increases in traffic,” said Megan Chillemi, a North Tahoe Regional Advisory Council member, to the Placer County Board of Supervisors during Tuesday’s meeting. “The compliance and regulation would really have to be enforced and we would need the personnel for it.”
While public comment on the topic was generally in favor of additional regulations, some suggested exempting homeowners associations that regulate short-term rentals on their own. Others brought up the issues of loose pets at short-term rentals. Kedinger-Cecil said the regulations require pets to be secured on the property at all times. The county is also looking at placing limits on occupancy to reduce noise as well as the number of vehicles in front of residences.
Placer County requires property owners to register and collect Transient Occupancy Tax within 30 days of making the unit available for short-term renters. New TOT regulations adopted last year require those registered to read and acknowledge existing county ordinances on trash, noise and parking.
To date 5,140 Transient Occupancy Tax certificates have been issued in Placer County which include motels, hotels, timeshares and bed and breakfasts. Of those, 3,778 certificates have been issued to short-term rentals, and 3,638 of them are in eastern Placer County. County staff is recommending that the new regulations only apply to short-term rentals in eastern Placer County, or those that sit above 5,000 feet elevation.
The county began working on the ordinance after residents came forward urging the county to enforce stricter regulations on property owners.
“We have done extensive research on just about every short-term rental ordinance we could find in the state,” said Karin Schwab, interim county counsel for the Board of Supervisors. In addition they’ve had numerous talks with neighboring jurisdictions about creating a successful ordinance.
“Were going to have to do a lot of adaptive management,” said Supervisor Robert Weygandt. “That’s more important than whether or not we try to anticipate every little detail.”
In 2016, the county hired Host Compliance to track short-term rentals when it became evident they were becoming more popular. The company identified more than 1,000 properties for rent but not collecting TOT. As of March 2019, Placer County had a 90% compliance rate with TOT certificate registration.
As a result of Host Compliance’s work, over $1 million in new additional TOT revenue was collected, according to a staff report. During fiscal year 2017-18, the county collected $18.6 million in TOT, 60% of which came from short-term rentals.
In fiscal year 2018-19 the county collected $21.4 million in TOT revenue, a majority of which came from eastern Placer County.
“Short-term rentals have been a staple of the county’s tourist economy for decades, particularly in the Tahoe region,” said Kally Kedinger-Cecil, associate planner for Placer County.
Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or firstname.lastname@example.org.