Property Rights

Open Letter to Santa Barbara County Supervisors:

One of the most important basic rights in our democratic country is that of home ownership. With a 45-year career as a Realtor, I have always defended real estate ownership as having a “Bundle of Rights” which includes the right to possess, use, rent, and sell land. One exclusion is the right of government to expropriate the land if it is needed for the best interests of the people such as a highway, railway, etc.

It is totally unreasonable for you as county supervisors to remove or restrict the right we have as property owners to rent our land. There seems to be two specific reasons why you are considering this unnecessary action of restricting vacation rentals in our area:

(1) Potential complaints from neighbors about excessive noise/disruption.

(2) Lobbying by hotel owners in the county who are afraid of the competition.

There has been a recent study done by Mark Schniepp, a Santa Barbara economist, who found no increase in complaints due to short-term renters than longer-term renters. As vacation rental hosts, we have strict no party and no groups rules, and specific no excessive noise and quiet time rules with a $500 damage deposit to discourage unwanted behavior.

Hotel owners are already enjoying 85-100 percent occupancy levels with very high daily rates. Their profits will not be compromised.

Vacation rentals provide an added “transient occupancy tax” income for the county as well as an increase in retail spending in our community from an increase in the number of visitors. Many of us residents who paid a very high purchase price and very high taxes for the privilege of living here need the flexibility and added income in order to keep our property. In our case, my wife and I (at 70 years of age) appreciate the extra income so we can visit grandchildren.

It is above and beyond your call of duty to remove this important basic right of property ownership.


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