By Keith Hamm, Santa Barbara Independent

The City of Santa Barbara’s escalating crackdown on short-term vacation rentals has experienced plenty of expected backlash, the latest of which claims in court that the city’s position violates California’s formidable Coastal Act, a 40-year-old law designed to balance development pressures along the coast with conservation efforts and public access. The lawsuit — filed this week by Theo Kracke, owner of Paradise Retreats, which manages 27 short-term rentals within city limits — is buoyed by state law requiring relatively affordable overnight lodging along the coast. According to the suit, “[Short-term vacation rentals] serve as a lower cost alternative to renting hotel or motel rooms for families and small groups from diverse demographic sectors and incomes to enjoy coastal access.”

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The interaction between short-term rentals and the availability of affordable housing units has been a focus of housing policy discussions across the United States. The fundamental question asked in these discussions is: “If short-term rental platforms like Airbnb did not exist, would the owners of those units instead rent those units to long-term renters at affordable rates? If so, how many units are actually lost to short-term rentals?” In Portland, several studies have explored this relationship. To add its data to the discussion, Airbnb asked ECONorthwest to analyze the most current Airbnb entire home listings to provide data and interpretation of the interaction between these listings and housing affordability in the City.

The results of the analysis show that Airbnb’s activities in Portland have minimal, if any, impact on the current affordability crisis.

Click below to view and/or save the full report in PDF format.

 Housing Affordability Impacts of AirBnB in Portland PDF | 3.6 MB | Published October 19, 2016

By Alys Martinez, KEYT – KCOY – KKFX Reporter

A Santa Barbara widow is at the center of the city’s vacation rental controversy.

Dorothy Wallstein rents out her home, while living on the property, to make ends meet. It’s commonly referred to as ‘home sharing’.

“I need supplemental income because I’m a widow on disability and a fixed income. So it was a perfect solution,” Wallstein said.

The city is cracking down on what it calls illegal vacation rentals.

The problem is Wallstein lives in R4, an area where vacation rentals are allowed.

She moved into her home in May 2014 and started renting a month later.

“I went into the city before I even listed my property and asked them what I needed to do” Wallstein said. “I got the business license. I’ve paid my TOT since day one. I’ve never missed a payment.”

Recently, she received a ‘cease and desist’ letter in the mail.

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By Alex Burness, Daily Camera Staff Writer

With more than 20,000 ballots counted as of 1:23 a.m. Wednesday, 57 percent of Boulder voters supported a 7.5-percent tax on short-term rentals such as AirBnB and VRBO — one of three taxes approved this election — and denied a $10,000 pay raise for City Council members.

The passage of the tax sets into action an ordinance, passed 8-1 by the council in September, that allows Boulder homeowners to rent out their rooms to tourists as often as they’d like, and accessory units — converted garages, for example — for up to 120 days a year.

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