Council to consider prohibiting short-term rentals citywide
Photo by Dillon Kydd / Unsplash

SANTA ANA, Calif. — The Santa Ana City Council will consider adopting an urgency ordinance that would explicitly prohibit short-term rentals (STRs). This includes Airbnb’s and Vrbo’s.

Besides the noise complaints reported by nextdoor neighbors of STRs, and added issues to parking and trash, the headfront of the proposed ordinance highlights the city’s efforts to reduce housing shortages.

According to the City’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation, there is a need of 3,137 permanent housing units. Over 1,100 short-term rentals were identified in Santa Ana on various STR websites, meaning 35% of housing need would be available.

In addition to the findings, the City’s code enforcement has reported 120 cases of short-term rentals that have been cited or notified that they are in violation of the City’s municipal code (SAMC), specifically the zoning codes.

36 reports were for STRs with owners residing at the same address while 84 reports involved properties owned by an LLC, managed by separate entity, or found the owner living at another address.

“STRs are not, and have never been, a permitted use under the City’s zoning code,” said the staff report.

As of writing, there is no Transient Occupation Tax (TOT) enacted by the City of Santa Ana or County of Orange for short-term rentals at a home setting.

AB 584, a state bill, could enact a 15% TOT if passed. There is local and county TOT, but primarily targets hotels.

Those with Airbnb’s and Vrbo’s in Santa Ana mostly rent out their homes to make extra income in order to keep up with the effects of inflation.

Despite owning valuable property in highly desired areas of the county, the rentals hold merit as it gives travelers the chance to explore Santa Ana, which adds dollars to the City’s revenue fund.

This isn’t the city’s first fight to terminate STRs.

In 2015, the City proposed an emergency ordinance to bar STRs.

In 2022, the Planning and Building department, lead by Minh Thai, was met with about 60 homeowners and investors voicing opposition to the prohibition of STRs according to a comment left on Airbnb’s community center.

“The head of our group received an email from the executive director stating that the planning commission felt the cons far outweighed the pros in allowing STRs to operate in the city and therefore would be moving forward on prohibiting STRs in the city,” said Ana2038.

Between a housing crisis and forecasted revenue slumps for the City, the Council will decide how to proceed with the urgency ordinance Tuesday evening, Apr. 2.