A comprehensive discussion took place last week when the South Pasadena City Council addressed the potential for regulation of short-term rentals in the city.
Online hosting services have made it easy for homeowners to host travelers or temporary visitors to supplement their income.
“These typically are what’s known as short term, where someone will rent out a room or the entire place for less than 30 days,” explained South Pasadena City Manager Sergio Gonzalez, explaining that the City of South Pasadena has received a few complaints of the limited practice in town. “It’s nothing that is very alarming, but the council wants to make sure we keep an eye on things while the new shared economy continues to evolve.”
What Gonzalez calls “quality of life issues,” concerns raised by some in the community stem from additional cars on city streets, an increase in noise and people coming and going from residences throughout the day.
“First, we need to ask is it a problem and do we want to even address it?” asked Gonzalez. “The second question is, if you allow it, how do you enforce it? There’s a lot of decisions that need to be made.”
After weighing the issue at length during their September 7 regularly scheduled meeting, the council decided to “keep an eye on things,” explained Gonzalez.
As part of updating the city’s general plan, Gonzalez said concerns like Airbnb and other shared economy matters will be addressed, along with new modes of transportation, including Uber, Lyft and self-driving cars.
Gonzalez stressed that the council felt “it was not quite ripe yet” to take a formal position on whether to enact an ordinance to put controls on short-term rentals in South Pasadena. City staff was directed by the council to monitor impacts related to individuals renting out a portion or their entire residence.
“One of the questions is, ‘what is the city’s motivation to address these types of rentals?” said Gonzalez. “Are there quality of life issues? Is it the impacts on the community or is it a loss of revenue? Cities like Santa Monica, San Francisco and Beverly Hills are looking at potential loss of revenue because of the tax that is placed on hotel occupancy, on tourism. There is no tax when you rent a room through Airbnb. That’s a motivation why a lot of these cities are addressing it. It’s a loss of revenue. Some cities see it as a potential revenue, whether or not to require a business license and whether or not you recover some of that tax.”