Redwood City plans to regulate short-term rentals like Airbnb, VRBO

in Business/Community and

Redwood City is considering implementing regulations for short-term rentals that include services such as Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway, with city officials saying they want to allow them but also ensure they do not result in the loss of needed housing stock.

On Tuesday, Nov. 21, the Planning Commission is set to consider new regulations on short-terms rentals, defined as lodging or overnight stays lasting less than 30 days.

While the rentals provide needed income to residents and broaden lodging options beyond the hotel market, they can also have the downside of removing housing stock, with some dwellings being purchased and used exclusively for short-term rentals, the city said. Also, rotating renters in residential neighborhoods can create traffic, noise, parking and safety concerns, and some are used solely for “corporate retreats” and other commercial uses.

To address those downsides, city officials are proposing a series of regulations. They include an annual limit for unhosted rentals in the city — no more than 120 days per year where no host is present, prohibiting special events such as weddings and corporate retreats, and requiring short-term rental’s to register, obtain a business license and pay a Transient Occupancy Tax.

Here’s the list of proposals in full:

  • Primary Residence.   A person may only have one primary residence at any given time. A primary residence is a dwelling unit where a person has been physically present and that the person regards as home.
  • Annual Limit for Unhosted Rentals. A primary residence may be occupied as a short-term rental for no more than 120 days per calendar year where no host is present.
  • No Limit for Hosted Rentals. There shall be no limit on the number of days a primary residence may be occupied as a short-term rental where the host is present.
  • Local Contact Person. Hosts shall identify a local contact person to be available during the term of an unhosted stay. This person shall respond to complaints.
  • Parking. Existing on-site spaces shall be made available to short-term renters.
  • Special Events. Special events such as weddings and corporate retreats are prohibited.
  • Registration. Registration, business license, and payment of Transient Occupancy Tax are required.

The City’s Planning Commission will meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall. For more information, go here.