Stronger and clearer rules might be on the horizon for short-term rental units.
The Milpitas City Council Tuesday unanimously approved a pilot program for overseeing short-term rentals (STRs) — homes or apartments rented for less than 30 days at a time — popularized by rental sites like Airbnb.
The council originally heard and approved the item last month, with Tuesday’s meeting serving as the setting for the ordinance’s final approval.
The new regulations will place restrictions on how many renters can stay in a unit simultaneously, and will prohibit rentals if the owner is “not living and present” in the unit during the short-term rental. Owners will be required to get a permit and a business license, and will face penalties should they break the rules. If their unit is part of a homeowners association (HOA), an owner would also need approval from their HOA before converting their home into an STR. They would also be prohibited from using accessory dwelling units (ADUs), colloquially known as “granny units,” as STRs.
The changes are partially in response to residents who have complained of loud and inconsiderate guests in surrounding STRs.
“The community is just really concerned about the in-and-out of neighbors and homes turning into hotels,” said Councilmember Karina Dominguez in February, but she added that the ordinance “is very realistic” for addressing noise and overstaying concerns.
Councilmember Anthony Phan expressed initial resistance to the ordinance at last month’s meeting, claiming that a provision requiring owners to be present was “too restrictive.”
“It’s unreasonable to expect business owners to micromanage like this,” Phan said. “There’s a lot of ways to keep order and they don’t have to physically be present.”
He however eventually joined his colleagues in voting the ordinance through.
Councilmembers also showed support for an Airbnb partnership similar to the program implemented by the city of San Jose and Airbnb to house homeless college students. Tuesday’s vote, however, focused solely on the presented ordinance.