May 4, 2018

Some additional thoughts on short-term rentals. Whatever problem a city is dealing with, imposing a complete and total ban should always be a last resort, an extreme measure when no other alternatives are possible. Short-term rentals are and have been a long-established, legitimate activity of responsible homeowners serving a purpose to provide them extra income. I believe there is a constitutional issue here that the city leaves itself vulnerable to litigation over if it decides to ban short-term rentals.

Banning these rentals for homesteaded properties may seem good in the abstract but there are unquestionably unintentional consequences that will prove it problematic in practice. There are less extreme approaches other cities have taken to deal with this issue and I think they are worth exploring.

Simply registering these properties, requiring a small registration fee (large fees have been shown to discourage registration), and then having property owners put up a bond that neighbors can make a claim against if an ordinance is violated, could be a less extreme option. The next step up would be requiring a permit or license with specific regulations governing the activity. The last, and most extreme measure would be a complete ban.

I think the council needs to consider the implications, intended and unintended, of any measure we adopt, preferably before its adopted.

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