For anyone that has followed this blog, you know the struggles and challenges we all have faced in regards to the permitting of “legally zoned” vacation rentals in the City of Santa Barbara. The city has come down hard on all vacation rentals in Santa Barbara as of June of last year with the anti-AirBnB movement and search and destroy efforts launched at all VRBO properties by our city people. What happened in the process was the City of Santa Barbara failing to have a process, procedure and the people in place to help people in the “legal” zones and “legally zoned” obtain the permit to vacation rent in Santa Barbara legally. Instead, they have admittedly chosen the path of enforcement in the illegal zones over increased assistance to those in the legal zones which is unfortunate for those that have chosen to do the right thing and do as the city asks.
With this comes a whole other issue I would like to address here…
There are very few land use planners, maybe just 1 actually, that knows anything about vacation rentals and this process since it has never before been required to get a permit to vacation rent in Santa Barbara until now. So what does this mean? This means that the hundreds of hours of research and meetings that I have scheduled, attended and problems we have faced as property managers in Santa Barbara are now what we can share with these planners to hopefully have property owners save time and money correct? No, not necessarily…
What I have now learned is that you must be EXTREMELY cautious as to who you select as your planner to see your project through. Billable hours by some are an opportunistic tool to take advantage of property owners as they themselves learn this process. This happened just this past week to someone I know and it was an unfortunate thing to see happen. What I do know is that we live in a very small town and this I believe was a HUGE mistake this planner made for future business. My advice, get a quote upfront from your planner and make sure you set the hours they are allowed to spend. “Research” can’t be whatever they deem is needed. Take a pro-active approach!
In better news…
We don’t have to separate water lines! The City of Santa Barbara sent us a nice letter (5 months later) that they in fact have never required and will not require us to separate water lines in obtaining the vacation rental permit in the city of Santa Barbara. Too bad A couldn’t talk to B… 6 months ago.
A few more properties are in the application phase now and it seems as things are moving in a slow forward direction. At least they are moving forward. Slow, well, we know how our city operates so we have to remain patient and press on.
If you have any questions, concerns or need help with managing any of your properties both long or short term in Santa Barbara, Carpinteria or Goleta, I’m happy to meet with you.
Thank you again for following my blog…I always appreciate your calls and feedback!
Real Estate Broker | Property Manager