Newport Beach continues to change its short-term rental rules after comments from the California Coastal Commission suggested changes to the restrictions put in place last year.
The city, like many popular tourist destinations, is trying to strike the right balance between welcoming visitors to homes and neighborhoods and reaching out to residents who say the transient nature of short-term rentals leads to a host of issues such as noise, parties and parking issues. .
The coastal city has discussed and implemented changes to its short-term rental policies over the past two years, putting in place in 2020 several restrictions such as the requirement for a minimum stay of three nights, forcing tenants to be at least 25 years old. and implementing greater accountability for landowners, including requiring a ânuisance response planâ and imposing heavy fines if tenants get parking tickets.
City council then capped the number of short-term rental permits that would be approved in Newport Beach at 1,550 and created a waiting list for the rest. A complaints hotline was launched and the number of people who could stay in a rental was limited. Steps have been taken so that the city can identify authorized property rentals and eliminate illegal operators.
The California Coastal Commission approved most of the city’s changes, but came back with a few changes such as relaxing the required nights to two instead of three.
The city’s short-term accommodation laws date back to 1992, long before popular online sites like Airbnb and VRBO caused the market to explode around the world.
Newport Beach is one of the cities in Southern California with the most short-term rentals – defined by the city as an accommodation unit occupied for less than 30 consecutive days.
Short-term rentals typically generate around $ 4 million in annual tax revenue for the city, according to previous reports.
Jaime Murillo, senior planner in the city’s community development department, gave a presentation to city council this week on the ongoing issues and the city’s actions over the past year.
The city currently has 1,581 permits issued for short-term rentals and is still working on a final batch of applications that could increase that number. But as some rentals are taken off the market, the number of active permits will drop below the new cap of 1,550, after which the city will be removed from a waiting list.
The Coast Commission estimated that requiring a three-night stay could negatively impact low to moderate-income families seeking accommodation on the coast, Murillo said, so it was suggested that the city fix the minimum at two nights.
Commissioners also feared losing homes to short-term rentals. A limit was therefore suggested as to the number of apartment units that can be licensed, with only 20% authorized. In a building with five units, for example, only one would be allowed to be converted.
There was also a discussion of the restrictions specific to Newport Island, a small community that has felt the impacts of short-term rentals. On the island, only 20 permits would be allowed, and there would be a cap on the number of people who can stay in accommodation overnight, as well as during the day.
In addition, the owners must live on the premises and manage the property.
Longtime Newport Island resident Mark Markos, who has voiced concerns about the impacts on the tight-knit community for years, said he “finally felt like there was light at the end of the tunnel, “urging the city to implement the changes” to preserve the future of this beautiful island, residents and families. “
Another longtime resident spoke of the challenges of having so many tourists – many who come in large groups to party – filter through the small island.
âOver the past few years, short-term rentals have disturbed the peace and quiet of our neighborhood,â he said. âPersonally, along with other residents, we were woken up in the middle of the night partying, screaming, beating.â
But one landlord questioned whether long-time residents should be given priority for a short-term rental permit over investors or new owners who come to convert homes, after he started renovating his property only to find that the authorized license quota had already been filled.
City Councilor Diane Dixon said she was “pleasantly surprised” at the Coast Commission’s approval of the city’s plans, and was particularly interested in the discussion of coastal housing affected by short-term rentals. .
In her district, which includes the Balboa Peninsula, the resident population has declined by 10% in recent years, she said.
âThe Coast Commission sees the impacts of short-term accommodation on the homes of permanent residents,â she said.
City council backed the 5-2 changes, with Councilors Kevin Muldoon and Noah Blom opposed, but will have to take a second final vote – scheduled for December 14 – before the changes officially come into effect on January 13.