Short Term Rentals Addressed by South Pasadena City Council


South Pasadena City Council members will be asked to analyze a report regarding short-term rentals, referring to residences rented out for a period of 30 days or less.

Hosted rentals, or home sharing, is a short-term rental where the owner of the unit is present. Unhosted rentals are short-term rentals where an owner of the property is absent.

South Pasadena City Manager Sergio Gonzalez explained that online hosting services like Airbng, VRBO, HomeAway and FlipKey are making it easy for guests to find private homes to stay as opposed to often high-priced hotel rooms.

The practice has its pros and cons, as many cities are weighing in on the issue, including the South Pasadena City Council, which will address it this week.

Those fighting the issue express concern about the loss of housing stock and residential character of neighborhoods.

“Neighbors may complain about impacts from parking and noise, and public safety issues, such as feeling of insecurity fostered by the frequent turnover of transient residents,” wrote David Watkins, the director of the Planning and Building Department for the City of South Pasadena, in a city report.

On the other side, those in favor of short-term rentals say it’s a necessity to offset job loss and to supplement the income. The practice has become a widespread phenomenon in cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York.

In May, four residents talked about short-term rental units Mill Road as complaints focused on “parking, neighborhood stability and concerns about frequent transient residents,” wrote Watkins in the report. Two months ago, he said city staff received a complaint about a short-term rental on Lyndon Street with concerns made about excess trash and operating a business in a residential zone.

Mill Road and Lyndon Street are the only two complaints received in South Pasadena, said Watkins.

According to a city report, South Pasadena Municipal Code does not specifically permit or prohibit short-term rentals.

Gonzalez said the City Council will examine what other cities are doing about short-term rentals, “what kind of problems we might have in South Pasadena regarding the issue,” he said.

Ultimately, the council will decide what to do regarding short-term rentals in the city. “They will consider whether to take action now or direct staff to continue to monitor the situation,” said Gonzalez. “Many cities are struggling with this. It’s all a part of the shared economy like Uber and Lyft when it comes to transportation. While it might be good for a homeowner to benefit financially and provides people with options to hotels and travel, there are certain impacts on a neighborhood that need to be considered.”

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