The United States (and around the world) has seen the proliferation of home sharing through such services as AirBNB, VRBO, Homeaway, and many others. Not only is vacation rental and home sharing a great way to travel and enjoy the comforts of “a home away from home”, but also a great way for hosts to with people from around the globe the amazing things that the City of Temecula and surrounding areas has to offer.
The County of Riverside, like many other counties/cities, has regulations for transient (short-term) guests that were created many years ago. These regulations set “Good Neighbor” policies, and also places a Transient Occupancy Tax requirements on guests, who are to be taxed based on the total price of their stay. These taxes provide revenue for Riverside County to maintain and upkeep the community of Riverside. – again these regulations are meant for VRBO/AirBNB/ Vacation rental operators as well as commercial operations such as hotels, motels, commercial bed & breakfasts, etc. Currently the City of Temecula does not have any regulations for short term rental and doesn't collect any Transient Occupancy Tax
As of January 2018. AirBNB has over 690 listings in the City of Temecula alone. The majority of these listings are individuals either sharing a portion of their home or home owners who have vacation rentals. Guests come and go without incident, and get to experience life in the City of Temecula and/or surrounding areas without being stuck in a hotel room. There are also some individuals who have made a business out of home sharing, and have multiple properties listed on home sharing websites.
98% of home sharing hosts never have an issue with their guests. That doesn’t mean the likelihood of that happening is gone 100%. Just like there’s a chance at having a neighbor move in next door who causes problems in the neighborhood – so is the possibility with home sharing. The hosts/listing that have come “onto the radar” usually are due to disruptions to neighbors in the form of loud/unruly guests, parking issues, or other complaints.
In any case, here’s what has happened to some of our member hosts:
Unhappy neighbors (either due to problems with guests, or lack of support for home sharing) have complained to police, code enforcement, and other city departments, causing these departments to scrutinize the home sharing industry.
Code enforcement has cited hosts/listings for code enforcement violations, “unlawful” living spaces, or cited structures for not being up to building code (even though the structure was purchased as-is with no code enforcement issues previously).
The city treasurer has begun to track down home sharing hosts, and issue Transient Occupancy Tax and Tourism Marketing District tax bills to hosts for past years (with no proof of money charged/earned) and attached the maximum 25% late penalty. This has resulted in tax bills in the amount of $8000-$40,000+ for some hosts.
Upon reviewing municipal codes and regulations, a large gray area remains surrounding home sharing and what regulations hosts are, and are not bound to abide by.
Thus, we formed the Short Term Rental Alliance of Temecula (STRATemecula), and hope to see positive change in how the city recognizes and governs the home sharing industry.