Vacation rental impact | Letter

Now that the County Council has completed the Shoreline Plan, they are turning to other pressing issues, including how to regulate short-term rentals (STR), which are marketed online through companies like AirBnB and VRBO.

This is a very hot topic across the country. Included in local discussions are the impact on shared water systems and roads, the reduced availability of long-term rentals, and competition with local hotels and B&Bs, among others. However, there appears to be yet another negative, and potentially more devastating impact from these businesses: Lowered property values for neighboring homes.

An opinion piece in the December 2015 issue of Realtor Magazine says: …”practitioners selling real estate should keep this in mind: A single-family home or condo unit next door to a short-term rental — where the occupants change every few days — will take longer to sell and bring in lower offers.”

The article goes on to say: “In the future, real estate agents could be required to disclose to a seller or long-term renter the existence of a nearby STR. The California Association of REALTORS® may soon ask its Forms Committee to add a question to the Seller’s Property Questionnaire: ‘Is your home across from or next door to a short-term rental?'”

The full article can be read here.

Currently in San Juan County, a permit to operate a short-term rental automatically transfers with the property when it is sold; it never expires. This means in addition to other impacts, the potential for lowering property values extends into the future forever more.

If you have comments or concerns about short-term rentals, contact the County Council. Email: Phone: 360-378-2898.

Sheila Gaquin

Deer Harbor