Westminster

Ban on short-term rentals is approved

A BAN on short-term rentals was approved by the Westminster City Council on Wednesday night (Shutterstock).

A divided Westminster City Council approved an ordinance Wednesday night to “affirmatively” ban all short-term rentals of residential properties for periods of 30 days or less.

The resolution was approved with three votes in favor – Mayor Tri Ta and councilmembers Chi Charlie Nguyen and Kimberly Ho – and two abstentions – councilmembers Tai Do and Sergio Contreras.

Short-term rentals have been praised and condemned and are a growing issue in many cities. Supporters say it’s a way for homeowners to earn more money, especially in the difficult coronavirus economy. Critics complain that unregulated lodging takes money away from legitimate hotels and motels, doesn’t pay taxes and create problems with noise, traffic and litter.

Among the speakers during the public hearing that preceded the vote, representatives of Airbnb and Expedia offered to help collect taxes for the city and assist in dealing with problems if the STRs were legalized.

Ta spoke in favor of the ban, saying “It’s been an ongoing issue for years,” citing complaints from neighbors. “We need to support the residents.”

Do wasn’t so sure. “It’s a little extreme,” he said, adding “We need to take a look at some things,” including perhaps using STRs as a way to raise revenue for the city.

Contreras expressed concern about enforcement. “I don’t see how you could close four-five-six-hundred STRs,” he said.

But Nguyen cited “numerous complaints” from residents and Ho settled the matter by announcing her support for the ordinance, adding “we can always amend or repeal it later.”

4 replies »

  1. I thought they were already banned? I know of 1 near my home. Although I am technically in favor of the ban, I am pleased that the Airbnb owners keep the home neater & better maintained than many other neighborhood homes. So I am torn in my decision.

    • There is some confusion on this. Kimberly Ho thought so, too, and at the start of the discussion, it was introduced as a way to increase support for code enforcement. Yet, later the council was told that there was no ban in place.

  2. Westminster needs tourists money! The biggest attraction this little city has is the Little Saigon! Vietnamese has big family. When they go on vacation, they like to stay together in a place especially if they bring their parents and young children. Westminster only has 5 small hotels, hardly enough for business travelers. They took advantage of the Vietnamese families by charging them a lot for 2 or 3 rooms and not allowing them being together. I helped the Vietnamese families by providing beautiful comfortable home for them when they come to visit their parents, friends or attending special event like weeding, funeral, class reunions or just enjoy Vietnamese culture. When they come to town from far away like Boston, Florida, Kansas… they bring lots of money that they have been saving for the vacation to spend. They spend on restaurants, shopping, entertainment, services, gasoline, foods, gifts, etc..They appreciate what we did for them and given them the Vietnamese experience from the Little Saigon. Vietnamese family from other states are very nice, polite and very respectful to our community. They are here to enjoy not to damage. We buy ugly house and turn it into a beautiful vacation house. All my neighbors love what I do. They send their family and friends from out of town to rent from me so they can come to visit! I only have one complaint in 4 years of business and I took care of it right away! I have rules and policy if they want to stay at my house or I will ask them to leave if they violate. Houses in Westminster are very expensive. We don’t just let anyone stay there. We checked them out, ask for deposit, give them our strict policy before allowing them to rent 3 nights or more. People say we don’t pay tax. All houses in California paid very high tax. Show me one house that doesn’t pay tax or utilities. When the tourists buy things they do pay tax. They spend more than people who lives here. How can Airbnb houses avoid paying taxes? Everything is booked and paid online. The figures are there at the end of every year. We pay income tax. I understand if renting out a condo or an apartment that will take up parkings and might share some noises, but not my houses. Everyone runs their business different. Westminster needs the tourist and their money to get back in shape and be prosperous. Please don’t shut the door on Vietnamese family&friends. Our businesses need them.

    • Thanks for your comments. I have been an Airbnb Superhost for over 3 years serving many Vietnamese guests. I had received no notice of this until this am 7-17 from Airbnb that my account had been deactivated. I can set my settings for 31 days or longer but this neither serves most guests nor me as a host. I started this venture to cover my Real estate taxes as I am retired and need extra income. So I will turn to another platform

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