SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Some landlords have learned they can make more money renting their place out by the night, instead of having a long-term tenant.
In several cities and counties, property owners have to register their homes to use it as a short-term rental so they can track any problems.
Problems like what Lisa Haley says she experienced when she moved into a Midtown apartment building with a neighboring short-term rental unit.
“There were strangers coming in and out at all times,” said Haley.
She says there was a constant rotation of rowdy neighbors.
“There’s like 12 people sitting on the front porch on our patio furniture smoking cigarettes and drinking cocktails,” said Haley.
Haley, raising her 10-year old daughter says she had no idea the property owner would turn a neighboring unit into an Airbnb.
“I’m not going to let her be hanging around strangers,” she said.
Haley says she is afraid of who would show up to rent the place next.
“You can be a rapist, be a child molester, could be a murderer, could be a kidnapper,” she said, “The whole thing has been a real stinking nightmare.”
Sacramento is just one of several cities and counties in California, requiring permits to keep tabs on short-term rentals.
Haley says the city confirmed her landlord never got one.
When speaking to the city, Haley recalls her conversation,
“Unfortunately, told me at this time there’s nobody at the city to enforce the rules.”
Unwilling to wait for the city to do something Haley broke her lease and moved out.
“I was I like can’t do this anymore. If I wanted to live in a hotel. I would live in a hotel,” said Haley.
As of late September, we found out that the City of Sacramento has only issued 68 permits, despite hundreds of ads on sites like Airbnb, Vrbo, and HomeAway.
Sacramento has the power to fine owners who break the rules $250 a day. We’ve learned in 20 months since the rules went into effect, the city has not fined one person.
Kurtis Ming: “Why have rules in place, if you’re not enforcing them?”
Brad Wasson, Revenue Manager City of Sacramento: “We will enforce them.”
Ming: “But you haven’t been enforcing them?”
Wasson: “We haven’t had a lot of complaints. We’ve only had 15 complaints.”
We requested the number of fines issued for every city and county in our area that requires short-term rental permits.
We found that since 2016 the majority has not issued one fine.
Wasson says it is tough to enforce because the ads do not list the address until after you book and Airbnb will not hand them over.
“It’s a new program, and we’re still trying to find its legs,” said Wasson.
We reached out to Airbnb’s Christopher Nulty who told us,
“Ultimately the role of enforcement belongs to the city.”
Airbnb says they have agreed to tell property owners in Sacramento they need to apply for a short-term rental permit.
They said they have created a window on their platform for owners to enter their permit number, to show compliance. However, Airbnb stops short of requiring the permit number.
“We believe that our role here is to provide the city with the tools that they need to enforce the rules,” said Nulty.
Though Airbnb won’t hand over host addresses to cities and counties to help with compliance, they claim it’s for privacy reasons.
Ming: “How many people out there, you think just don’t realize they should be getting these permits, versus just thumbing their nose on the city, because you haven’t cracked down on it?”
Wasson: “I think it’s most of the people don’t have it because as they’re finding out about it, they’re calling up and asking questions.”
Wasson’s goal is to get property owners in the city compliant. The city plans to start cracking down in December.
In Sacramento, part of the permit process is notifying neighbors if you plan to rent out your place as a short-term rental. Additionally, the proprietor must live within a 30-mile radius of the property.
The former landlord of Haley didn’t have a city permit until the end of July.