Short-term rental hearing packs
Highlands fire station
Published: October 25, 2013
OFFERING A wide range of views on a
subject that has divided neighborhoods, nearly 100 people filled
up the Carmel Highlands Fire Station Community Room Oct. 23
to talk about short-term rentals.
Moderated by John Ford, a management analyst for the Monterey
County Planning Department, the discussion focused on short-term
rentals in the Carmel Highlands, Carmel Valley and
unincorporated parts of the Monterey Peninsula.
Because the regulations in Monterey County are unclear about
short-term rentals, officials have pledged to decide if they
should be regulated or prohibited, and they’re seeking feedback
from the public before making a decision.
Some residents complained about the negative impacts of
short-term rentals. “We had an absolutely horrible experience
with short-term renters,” one man said. “We hardly had any sleep
for months, and the absentee owners were openly hostile.”
Others, meanwhile, extolled the virtues of short-term rentals.
“I’ve had a short-term rental for years,” another man said.
“I’ve met wonderful people and never had problems.”
Some said short-term rentals are a nuisance to neighbors as
well as a safety hazard, while others said they provide a
much-needed service and raise revenue for the county.
A woman who opposed short-term rentals conceded some owners do
a very good job of respecting their neighbors, while a man who
supported the practice admitted some owners engaged in the
business are disrespectful to those who live near them.
Several speakers blamed the bulk of the problems associated
with short-term renters on absentee property owners — and one
speaker suggested the practice should be limited to landlords
who either live onsite or close enough to respond to problems
that might arise.
One woman who offers short-term rentals said many of the
problems associated with them can be alleviated with strict
rental agreements and large deposits.
Another woman insisted long-term renters are capable of
creating problems as well. “I have a neighbor [who rents
long-term] with four screaming kids and there’s nothing I can do
about it,” she said.
While some commented on the pros and cons of short- term
rentals, others — seemingly resigned to the idea of a compromise
— suggested that guidelines be put in place. Others questioned
how such guidelines could ever be enforced.
“I know someone who had great difficulty getting the sheriff to
come out when she had a problem with noise” created by a short
term renter, a woman said. “The sheriff is overloaded with
One man suggested the transient occupancy tax be raised to help pay for better enforcement of the industry, while a woman countered that increasing fines could accomplish the same task.
Among the suggestions people offered to better regulate
short-term rentals include enacting a three strikes rule to
encourage owners to play by the rules and prohibiting stays of
shorter than seven days.
While some want the county to prohibit or regulate short- term
rentals, one woman said those engaged in the practice should
work together to address the problems. “Collectively, we could
do a lot to make sure we use good practices,” she said.
The county collects TOT from those who are willing to pay, a
practice one speaker was critical of. Ford said some who rent to
short-term visitors have been fined as a result of complaints,
but he declined to offer specifics.
Ford said county officials haven’t made up their minds yet
about short-term rentals. He explained that this week’s meeting
was simply the third in a series of gatherings intended to give
the public a chance to sound off on the issue. “We didn’t come
here with an agenda,” Ford added.
The relatively civil tone of the meeting was noted by some, and
those who stuck around for two hours until it ended gave Ford a
round of applause for keeping the peace