That’s the question on everyone’s mind and asked a lot over the past few months.
There are no easy answers…remember, we are dealing with the City of Santa Barbara and their newly enforced requirements in regards to vacation rentals. Keep in mind, they do not want to permit any vacation rentals as they see this as a loss of valuable “housing stock” for employees and fail to realize most of these properties are second homes for 90% of these owners. The County of Santa Barbara has followed suit and new ordinance changes will reflect only vacation rentals in the AG designation for less than 30 days.
Having started this journey back in August with a property I have that is “legal to rent for less than 30 days”, I have been able to learn a lot and gather immense amounts of information in the process. Being a Real Estate Broker and Property Manager in Santa Barbara, I also know the implications all of this has on our property values. In the end, Santa Barbara does not want you to have a vacation rental, period. ***Interesting to note: they do encourage and protect a certain individual that owns and is building numerous hotels in our town…hmmm…
So, can you rent your home in Santa Barbara as a vacation rental?
Yes and no
30 days or more
Anyone can rent their home for 30 days or more no matter what the zoning is as per the city of Santa Barbara Municipal Code
Renting for 30 days or more is a big challenge for vacationers, as most of them are looking to stay in Santa Barbara for 1 week or less. So is 30 days or more attractive? No. Will it be harder to rent? Yes. My biggest success with these vacation rentals is my networking with other real estate agents in Santa Barbara and finding clients that are either in between homes or are undergoing a big remodel and need a temporary place to stay for a few months.
Will you need to be more realistic on price with vacation rentals for 30 days or more? Yes. Monthly rates for furnished rentals aren’t drastically higher than for unfurnished rentals in Santa Barbara. The weekly rate times 4 will not be the correct equation to apply for sure. A good rule of thumb I use is to take the weekly times 4 and discount it at least 30% or more. Remember, a booked property is much better than a vacant one, and not just on a monetary basis.
Less than 30 days
Only properties located in certain neighborhoods and zoned R-4, C-1, C-2, C-L, C-M, C-P, HRC, M-1 and OC are legally allowed to rent for less than 30 days in the City of Santa Barbara. However, the city now requires you to go through the process of getting a vacation rental permit. Costs are anywhere from $4000-$9000 depending on your site and property and whatever else the city decides to throw at you!
Here is the link to the application http://www.santabarbaraca.gov/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?BlobID=159090
If you have more than 1 home, dwelling unit, etc on the property well, the process is ridiculous and something we are currently challenging the City of Santa Barbara on right now. There are Federal and State laws that essentially trump what the city has arbitrarily set at “more than 1 dwelling unit”. As it stands right now, you will need to convert your entire property to a hotel if you wish to apply for a vacation rental permit for more than one unit on a lot!
What will it cost?
We have been quoted $30,000-$40,000 and 1-2 years.
How do we navigate this new vacation rental permitting process in Santa Barbara?
If you are interested in learning more about how to convert your property to a vacation rental in Santa Barbara, I am a phone call away and would be happy to help.
If you manage your property from another state or town, there are some other rules that may be going into effect that require properties that get the Vacation Rental Permit in Santa Barbara to have a local manager on file to contact 24/7 once permitted as part of the application process.
I have the best and most knowledgeable people working with numerous clients of mine to help them save money, challenge the city on what is the most onerous and costly processes and be able in the end to obtain this very valuable permit. These are people that have worked within the city and won against the City of Santa Barbara.
Let me help you through this and do NOT let the city see “what sticks” with your property.
Your dedicated vacation rental property expert,