Currently we have over 30 property owners in the R-4 areas of Santa Barbara that are working together to shed light on this horrific unattainable process and hopefully enact change for people wanting to vacation rent or short term rent their properties in Santa Barbara.
The City of Santa Barbara process to convert your property to a vacation rental is severely flawed, time consuming and extremely expensive. This is essentially a “de facto prohibition” since no one is able to obtain the permit the way it stands right now. There are also NO plans to “streamline” the process and in fact, the process has become even harder than when I started to get the permit over a year and a half ago. We still are in the process with the city for the vacation rental permit and have spent over $20,000 and have been shutdown at this point because they are requiring unreasonable and costly things be changed with no reasons.
It’s a case of “let’s see what sticks” with this new process that has never been done before. Santa Barbara is notorious for this. It is however, easier to get a permit to sell marijuana within a 1/2 mile of a school of which at some locations has no parking? But a vacation rental with a weekend tenant every so often with 4 bedrooms needs 4 parking spots? Look to the code and you will see in 3 locations, it restates R-4 only needs 2 total.
We believe that together we are able to attack this process head on with plenty of local planners, former politicians and people on the planning commission. If we do not stand up to this process the city of Santa Barbara is arbitrarily called a “commercial use” inaccurately, who will? Do you want to convert your property to a hotel as the city of Santa Barbara is asking? Did you know that no where in the municipal code does it say a vacation rental is commercial use? Even the Coastal Commission recently weighed in on our case to appeal the need for a Coastal Development Permit and said, it is a residential use. Is renting for 30 days residential but 29 is commercial? Is it residential when we are there 1 week a month and then commercial the other 3? How does it switch? Is it a hotel? Does it look like one? Does it have a front desk? Does it only offer bedrooms and no kitchens? They are applying an old municipal code for hotels to what are second homes for the majority of us. Our homes are not hotels. End of story.
Another argument: Housing Stock – We are not capable of using our Santa Barbara homes to help supply housing stock (let alone “affordable”) to the market because we do not believe any long term tenant would appreciate moving out a few months per year for us to use our property ourselves? Also, if the city thinks our $2-$5 million dollar home or Duplex should be provided to low income households, I have to ask…can they afford paying even half our mortgage? Vacation Rentals barely cover this in many scenarios due to vacancy rates, the cost of utilities, supplies provided to short term guests, and let’s not forget management fees! We are lucky to net in 1 years time what a monthly long term rental makes filled 365 days a year. The rumor about money grubbing vacation rentals debunked.
So why do we do this? We love our homes and purchased them in R-4 to be able to use them and rent them to fill in the gaps when we are not in town. We use them for family and friends to stay in when visiting our parents in retirement homes. We use them one week a month since we have offices in Santa Barbara and prefer not to stay in a hotel. It’s a win win for all. And we purchased them in the legal areas that have always been legal to rent in Santa Barbara since the code was written. We are responsible homeowners that want to do the right thing.
In over 18 months, only 1 person has been able to get the permit to vacation rent in Santa Barbara. Hundreds have applied and most have been denied or have hit road blocks or expensive changes the city is asking for which make 100% no sense. We have had attorneys and planners go through this relentlessly and there is a HUGE problem the city of Santa Barbara is not addressing. Again, this process may masquerade as a “process to convert your R-4 property” however it is a ban plain and simple.
Interested in joining our group? We would love to have you!
R4 Property Rights