It is still puzzling to me how anyone can justify short-term rentals in our city and county, considering the lack of available and affordable housing for those of us struggling to keep a roof over our heads.
The reality of the vacation rental market, contrary to what last week’s article in News of the Week stated, is that it has a definite negative impact on the long-term rental market; ask anyone who rents here. I accidentally stumbled upon a vacation rental website for Summerland awhile back and was shocked to see at least 30 listings in this tiny community. What was even more upsetting was that at least 12 of those listings had been long-term rentals just two or three years ago. One only needs to search Craigslist for what is supposed to be a long-term rental to see the amount of apartments that have been converted to vacation rentals, cleverly listed at what sounds like a very low price, and “tastefully decorated,” until you realize that the price is per week, not per month. A neighbor of a friend rents out his apartment regularly to vacationers, to the ignorance of his landlord and the anguish of his neighbors.
If we want to have employees to do the work and pay the taxes and conduct business in our city, we need housing for them. We live here, participate in our community, and spend money here 24/7; tourists are hit-and-miss. The high-rent apartment buildings that are now being built will do little to fix our housing needs. Short-term rentals need to be highly regulated and illegal when they are apartments that could house working people. Rent control needed to be in place two decades ago. Bring it on!