Proposed Sacramento Airbnb Ordinance a Mixed bag

I’ve finally had the chance to look over the proposed ordinance going before the Sacramento Planning and Design Commission tonight. If you’ll recall, I previously blogged about this.

The good news is that the ordinance does not prohibit property owners or renters from renting their property on a short-term basis. The bad news is that several permit fees and taxes will now be imposed on them for the “privilege” of using their own property.

Fortunately, the requirement that the host remain on the property from 11 pm to 5 am appears to have been removed. My biggest issue going forward (at least until I see how much this is all going to cost your typical host) is the arbitrary limit to 90 days of bookings for hosts renting out a secondary residence. How did the city arrive at 90 days? And why?

While I’m happy to see the city taking the attitude of welcoming the business models of hosts using sites like Airbnb and VRBO, this ordinance still leaves much to be desired. I know I have unrealistic expectations, but I believe that all associated problems with these activities can be resolved with existing nuisance law. Further, treating people as ATMs who are simply hustling to make extra money is a tired approach to governance.

Instead of allowing the market and existing law to sort out any (mainly speculative) problems, this ordinance begrudgingly accommodates property rights and economic liberty. Only when city bureaucrats stop acting like city residents must ask permission for everything they do will we truly see economic growth take off.

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