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Government and Politics

City of SLO determines standards for homestay rentals

Jordan Bell

The San Luis Obispo City Council adopted new standards for short-term homestay rentals Tuesday night, allowing use of this type of rental within the city.

These are rentals occupied for less than 30 days. A major distinction between homestay rentals and vacation rentals is homestay rentals require the owner to prove they live there. Vacation rentals are still prohibited in neighborhoods for which they are not zoned.

The ordinance also requires one additional parking space, two rooms and that a responsible party must only be a 15 minute drive away. 

City Councilmember John Ashbaugh said he feels they adopted a good set of standards for the City and for those who want to rent out homes. 

However, he said that there were a lot of people opposed to their consideration of the ordinance. He said some were opposed because they felt the standards were too strict, whereas some thought they were too relaxed.

"I think we struck the right balance," Ashbaugh said. "When vacation rentals start popping up in your neighborhood, pretty soon you'll find yourself impacted and we wanted to prevent that."

He said factors like the university and the desirability of the city contribute to the large number of people who rent homes in San Luis Obispo.  Ashbaugh said The city now has the lowest percentage of owner-occupied housing in the state, about 38 percent, a distinction that ties it with the City of Los Angeles.

Ashbaugh says he is doing a lot of work to promote owner-occupancy in San Luis Obispo and that the City will be considering a rental inspection program in the months ahead.

San Luis Obispo is the first city in the country to regulate homestays, making the distinction between homestay use and a vacation rental.