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Encinitas wraps up vacation rental crackdown

ENCINITAS — Encinitas officials are cracking down on vacation rental owners who have not yet registered their rental with the city and paid the appropriate taxes and permits.

City Finance Director Tim Nash said that 450 letters have been issued to owners of vacation rental properties, which are advertised on such sites as AirBnB, HometoGo and VRBO, who have not registered with the city.

The last round of initial letters — which warn rental owners to register with the city in 14 days or stop advertising on the sites — went out in early February.

The crackdown, which started last year, has yielded some results: 110 vacation rental owners have come forward to pay the $150 annual permit and the quarterly 10 percent transient occupancy tax, which hotels, motels and vacation rentals are required to pay, Nash said.

The tax yields $2 million annually, about $566,000 of which comes from vacation rentals.

“We’ve seen a number of vacation rental owners step forward and get in compliance,” Nash said. “We still have more work to do.”

City officials last year estimated that more than 680 vacation rentals were operating in the city, but have whittled the number down to just over 450, after confirming that some rentals were listed on multiple sites.

Of those 450, Nash said that 270 are now in compliance, 160 of which were registered before the start of the enforcement action.

Unlike many cities along the coast, which are grappling with how to handle vacation rentals — which have exploded in recent years — Encinitas addressed it in 2006, when it adopted its short-term rental ordinance after neighbors complained about noisy out-of-town visitors.

The ordinance requires landlords display a sign outside their home with contact information in case of problems.

The city has an employee that tracks the unregistered properties.

Scofflaw owners face code enforcement citations that range from $250 to $1,000 after the fourth and subsequent violation, though Nash said the city has not issued any citations yet.

“We are giving everyone a chance to voluntarily come in compliance first, but then we will have to discuss with code enforcement how we will proceed,” he said.

1 comment

John Eldon February 25, 2017 at 8:38 am

This is all good, but we have an even more urgent need to make it easy for afflicted neighbors to get relief from errant short-term rentals whose owners and operators do not care about the community.

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