Seaside rental owners miffed over business fee hike

Civic Affairs

Business fee for rental owners jumped from $100 to $500

SEASIDE, Ore. (KOIN) — People who own vacation rentals in Seaside will have to pay more to rent them out after city officials recently raised the business license fee by $400.

Some property owners said the $400 hike not only affects them but it also affects their guests. But the city said the extra money will be used to hire a compliance officer. The rental structure set up hasn’t changed since 1992.

During the summer, Seaside is packed with tourists who use the hundreds of vacation rentals. To rent one out, owners paid between $75 and $100 a year depending on the size of their property for a business license. The hike means someone who paid $100 a year now will have to pay $500.

The proposed city compliance officer will address rental concerns like parking and make sure the properties are up to code.

City of Seaside spokesperson Jon Rahl said the city doesn’t have anyone “particularly in charge of total enforcement of vacation rentals. From inspection to managing the process, managing the complaints.”

There are 425 rental properties in the area but Rahl said online data suggests there could be as many as 700 rentals.

“So that tells us that we have the potential for as many as 200 to 300 not in compliance. Maybe they don’t have a license, something along those lines,” he said.

Visitors in Seaside, January 16, 2020 (KOIN)

Darren Karr, who lives out of state, told KOIN 6 News he didn’t know about this increased fee until it was too late.

“I was in shock. I didn’t know there were issues or problems the city needed funding to deal with,” said Karr with the Seaside Oregon Vacation Rental Association. “I own 3 rental properties so my bill went from $300 to $1500. It’s definitely not a small amount whether you own three or one.”

Seaside officials said they’ve been talking about this hike for the last 2 years. In October 2019, the city had a few public hearings and adopted the increased fee in November.

“The planning commission, the city council felt like this would adequately help us fund this position,” said Rahl. “Fund some software to help manage it and ultimately take better charge and really protect the consumer.”

Rahl believes hiring a compliance officer will help improve the overall experience visitors have when they come to Seaside.

“You have full-year residents and there’s a vacation rental next to it,” he said. “You have noise complaints, parking complaints. I think people want to be respectful but things get carried away.”

But from Karr’s perspective, the fee hike will have a negative impact on the guest experience.

“Really the people who are going to suffer are the guests of Seaside. They are not just our guests, they are guests of the city,” Karr said.

The city hopes to have the compliance officer job posting up in April or May.

“We want to keep this a safe place and also for our long-term residents. We want to make sure this process is managed well for them; sometimes their neighbors are changing on a regular basis,” Rahl said.

Still, Karr doesn’t see a need for any changes to the system.

“I don’t I think that if there are any problems with any of the codes, which, honestly, after digging through the information that is available online and asking questions of people at the city, I don’t see a problem honestly,” Karr said.

He also said he’s asked for data from city officials and hasn’t gotten any feedback.

“I don’t know what their decisions were based upon, other than testimony from people who are not vacation owners at the commission meetings and the council meetings.”

“I just encourage those out-of-state residents to pay attention to some of these things that are going on in these communities where they own property because there are changes that make affect them,” Rahl said.

Karr said he plans on being at the next City Council meeting on February 10 to see if he and the city can come up with “any kind of joint resolution or something that we can come up with so that the owners can help if there really are problems with the enforcement. I think the owners are in a way better position to help out with that than they are giving us credit.”

People can also email the Seaside Oregon Vacation Rental Association: info@karrbeachhouse.com

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