Websites such as Airbnb.com, which allows anyone to post a short term rental online, are exploding in popularity all over the country. Whether they include the entire house or just a room, it’s created a cottage industry for those who want to make extra cash off their property. But cities across America, most specifically San Francisco, have struggled with how to regulate such rentals. Recently, the City of Petaluma has taken up the issue with plans to create an ordinance that will at least tax such rentals in the same way that hotels are taxed, but could include other restrictions as well. A small majority of those who took part in this week’s unofficial poll said the city should avoid regulating short-term rentals.
Here were some of the comments:
“Another example of growing government intrusion in our lives. Enough is enough.”
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“It feels like the city is letting large developers off the hook and trying to stick it to the little guy, us Petaluma residents. We lowered impact fees to make developers happy. Now what? Oh, there isn’t enough money, despite the rising property tax rates and new sales tax revenue. So why did we approve those projects knowing we would still have to raise taxes? Personally, I’m OK with a sales tax increase. And we should raise the Transient Occupancy Tax on hotels – it’s absurd that we haven’t yet. But please don’t expect us to pay for traffic mitigations and infrastructure we were told again and again would be covered by development impact fees. Feels like Robin Hood in reverse.”
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“Even as a landlord you can’t monitor these rentals, so why should the city?”
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“Government, butt out of my business.”
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“I assume by regulate you mean an occupancy tax? I personally am against the idea of a tax when the host already records rentals for their federal income tax. Besides, the less of a burden it is to the host, the more willing they would be to rent out their rooms, which would be great for tourism.”
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“If neighbors can communicate their needs with the people who offer short-term rentals, and their concerns are respected, then I see no need to involve the city. However, if the needs of the neighbors are not respected, then yes, the city should get involved. Many of my neighbors have short-term rentals, so I’m familiar with the challenges that can arise.”
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“No. Airbnb.com is a well-organized and regulated service providing short-term rentals at reasonable rates.”
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“Please leave us alone and focus on providing services.”
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“There aren’t enough hotels in Petaluma. If we want visitors to come to Petaluma and spend their money here we have to have some where for them to stay. Where else should they stay.”
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“These single family residential units will house vacationers and people who spend money in the city. These homes will most likely be immaculate, have charm and be kept nice so that they have a draw for people to come and vacation in and enjoy Petaluma. Pay attention to where there are problems with crime and drugs and then put down some regulations on those properties.”
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“We do not need government involvement in every aspect of our lives. Less government is better.”
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“Who makes sure these places are clean and safe? How do the owners declare their earnings so they can pay taxes like the rest of us? Who knows if they are insured if something happens to the people staying there? How do they pay hotel, bed and breakfast or inn taxes? Are they even legal places or something the owners put up to make spare money? So many questions.”
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“This brings people to Petaluma and offers them a unique place to stay. The city getting involved will only make the process more complicated and more expensive. Stay out of our bedrooms, city council, literally. This has just gotten ridiculous.”
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