It has been a while since I posted about the laws and regulations as that affect short-term rentals and vacation rentals in Santa Barbara. While there still exists some “gray area” as it relates to the City of Santa Barbara and their interpretation, just know, anything located in the coastal zone of Santa Barbara is currently “license-able”. If that’s even a word.
WHERE IS THE COASTAL ZONE IN SANTA BARBARA?
Well, it meanders through Santa Barbara and has no definitive line, however, as the crow flies but here is a photo for reference.
For more information on other areas located in the Coastal Zone, here is the link:
Santa Barbara Coastal Zone Info
WHAT HAS CHANGED WITH VACATION RENTAL REGULATION IN SANTA BARBARA SINCE 2019?
One important decision has paved the way for ALL homes (no matter what zoning designation) to be able to rent their homes for less than 30 days however ONLY applies to those properties in Santa Barbara that are located in the Coastal Zone.
While we have fought the City of Santa Barbara Zoning and Planning Department, hired attorneys, planners and just about any and every expert in the field, we realized early on that the California Coastal Commission was our biggest ally in the fight to save vacation rentals in Santa Barbara. Coastal Zone properties in Santa Barbara have prevailed!
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR MY HOME LOCATED IN THE COASTAL ZONE OF SANTA BARBARA?
Well, there still exists a “controversy” between the highest courts decision and how the City of Santa Barbara interprets this decision.
However, when we contacted the city, here is what they told us…
Any attorney would find this contradictory to say the least:
City: Home is in the E-3 Zone of the Non-appealable Jurisdiction of the Coastal Zone. The E-3 does not allow for short-term rental use.
Tiffany: E-3 does not restrict STRS. There is nothing in the zoning ordinance that “restricts” vacation rentals in E-3.
City: Short-term vacation rentals are unlawful in Santa Barbara, including in the coastal zone, unless they are permitted by the City and they are located within zoning districts that allow for hotels or motels. The City will not issue business licenses for unpermitted STRV’s outside of the Coastal Zone.
Tiffany: Please define: Permitted. Are you saying that no business license will be given for this property?
City: The City will enforce against all illegal short term rentals in non-coastal zone areas while enforcement against illegal short term vacation rentals in the Coastal Zone will occur in response to the City receiving nuisance complaints.
Tiffany: Are you saying this is an “illegal short term rental”?
City: Property owners that have operated short-term rentals lawfully or unlawfully are subject to and liable for the City’s transient occupancy taxes.
Tiffany: How can a city collect taxes for what they deem is “unlawful” acts or is illegal? That makes no sense.
City: Paying these taxes do not give a legal right to operate unpermitted Short term vacation rentals.
Tiffany: Yet again, this makes no sense. I will be reaching out to them today as well as the attorney handling this. What the city keeps doing is not legal…
City: (no response)
2 days later, in the mail we received the Business License for this home on the Mesa in Santa Barbara to vacation rent the home.
This is all so confusing, what do you recommend we do if we live in the Coastal Zone of Santa Barbara and wish to rent our home as a vacation rental or short term rental?
We know this game the City of Santa Barbara continually plays and until they can figure out regulations that will get approved by the California Coastal Commission, the City of Santa Barbara must allow vacation rentals in the Coastal Zone.
We are here to help you navigate vacation rentals in Santa Barbara!
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Haller Coastal Homes