New License Rules for Central Oregon Coast Vacation Rental Lodgings Examined
Published 03/19/2016 at 7:51 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff
(Lincoln City, Oregon) – The central Oregon coast towns of Lincoln City, Newport, Yachats and Depoe Bay are looking to clamp down on unruly renters at vacation rentals, and Lincoln County will soon be holding a meeting regarding new rules about licensing of rental properties. (Photo: a historic home that is a vacation rental in Lincoln City, courtesy A1 Vacation Rentals).
There is a proposal to establish a licensing system for vacation rentals throughout Lincoln County, which the Board of County Commissioners will consider at a March 30 public meeting. The meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Courthouse in Newport.
The proposal comes about after more than a year of work and study as well as community meetings. Commission Chair Bill Hall said the proposed licensing program has been driven by increasing complaints about noise, garbage, parking and other issues that VRD neighbors say are negatively impacting their neighborhoods.
Enforcing already existing rules is difficult sometimes.
“Although we have existing ordinances to address these issues, we’ve found enforcement to be a challenge,” said Hall. “Citing an offending renter isn’t very effective when that person may never return. By establishing a licensing program, we will have a tool to hold property owners more accountable. The vast majority of owners are not the problem, but it only takes a few problem operations to have a significant negative impact on a neighborhood’s quality of life.”
Gene Scrutton, owner of A1 Vacation Rentals in Lincoln City, said the problem often lies with smaller, independent vacation rental owners who are not present in town to check up on issues. They are frequently owners who live in Salem, Portland or elsewhere and don't have staff to drive by and keep an eye on the homes.
The proposed licensing program would address occupancy limits, parking, noise ordinance compliance, and impose a requirement for vacation rental homes to secure garbage service from the local hauler. It also sets up a multi-layered complaint procedure, which ultimately could lead to fines and revocation of the license for properties that generate repeated complaints that aren’t addressed.
A secondary goal of the licensing program is to make sure that all rental properties comply with the county’s transient room tax ordinance.
“We want a level playing field for every lodging property owner,” said Hall.
Scrutton said this proposal would make for more uniform rules across the county, and that Newport has already had similar rules on its books for some time.
Since most if not all booking is done online these days, Scrutton said he's had to keep a closer eye on his operations throughout town. Screening renters can be a challenge this way.
“Now that it everything is done online, you don't have a chance to see them face to face, or even talk to them on the phone,” said Scrutton. More about Oregon Coast Vacation Rentals - Where to eat - Maps and Virtual Tours
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