Napa to relax ban on vacation rentals

Filed under: Articles,Business,Just For Fun,Vacation Tips |

Over the last few days I’ve been following an interesting article about Napa County changing a ban on vacation rentals. The full article by Dan Verel is here but the basic gist is that the Board of Supervisors in Napa County are seriously considering over turning the restrictions that exist on renting out vacation homes.

For me, I’ve never understood the people who want to do this. Seems crazy to me that property owners are prevented from a basic right of ownership and that is to rent out their property. Sure, I understand some of the people who are concerned about noise, trash and the comings and goings of transient vacationers but having been involved in this business for a long time the evidence just doesn’t stack up for banning vacation rentals.

Having being President of the local vacation property manager’s association (CFVRMA) not so long ago, I know only too well what our industry contributes to the local economy. For a start there’s thousands of jobs both directly and indirectly supporting the industry and then there’s the small matter of the tax dollars collected by the local government that far outweighs any other argument as far as I can see.

In Central Florida, vacation rentals are a $4.1 Billion business. In Polk county alone we contribute over half of the sales tax revenue and we surely can’t be far away from that in Osceola county where the number of rental units is similar. So that’s the monetary side…what about the environment and the “feelgood” factor.

Well, in addressing that, I have to say that most owners are absentee owners and that means they have to choose a professional property management company to look after their property. From the evidence I have seen all over Central Florida, vacation rental property is indeed far better looked after than residential property on the whole. A quick ride around the neighborhood will show that lawns are being kept in good condition, that houses are painted regularly and general maintenance is being attended to. Compare that with the average residential unit and it’s not uncommon to see long grass, awful looking homes and maintenance on the deferred list.

Sure, the chances of getting a bad neighbor are there but usually that neighbor is only there for a week or so and then they are gone. Now, what can you do about the bad neighbor who is a full time resident?

In Napa they are saying there are around 300 illegal vacation rentals currently in operation. Well, in Central Florida our number is nearer 20,000 and frankly, we contribute more to the economy than most people in high up positions like to acknowledge. Napa say that by legalizing these rentals that hotel tax revenue could increase by up to $1.45 million… go figure… I guess some folks need time to wake up and smell the coffee.

Vacation rentals are a win-win-win scenario. First of all the guests renting them win because they love staying in this type of property, second the homeowner wins because he can offset some of the running costs and over time have a decent investment and then thirdly, the local economy wins by the collection of taxes and spin offs for local business.

To me it’s crazy that bans like this are in place. All this does is cause ill feeling and ultimately it keeps property values down as you restrict the market to whom you can sell. It’s time to move out of the dark ages Napa. People who own vacation properties are not your enemy… they are the people trying to spur interest in your area and to bring people there to enjoy a great vacation.

Napa is a great place and one day I’d love to rent a home there so I can enjoy the great food and wine. In fact, I tell you what… any of you who still have any lingering doubts about vacation rentals…why not pop over to Orlando and see how we do it… it would be my pleasure to show you around.

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