Last week’s article by Tim J. Randall misquoted me as saying .. “that if not for the ability to rent on a short-term basis, I would have had to leave Laguna 15 years ago.” What I said was that I was forced to do “home-sharing” after my wife passed away unexpectedly 15 years ago. Basically, I had
housemates help with the mortgage until I could get back on my feet emotionally and financially.
I was making a point that allowing home sharing is an age-old practice that can help home owners who for personal, medical, or emergency causes need financial assistance to help them keep their homes in Laguna. Short-term rentals like Airbnb and VRBO weren’t even around 15 years ago.
There is a very distinct difference between home sharing, and short-term rentals. Home-sharing allows visitors the opportunity to stay in some truly unique local homes, while retaining the quiet and ambience of our neighborhoods. Homeowners live on-site in home sharing, and make sure that guests respect the peace and quiet of our community. Short-term rentals are where absentee landlords convert homes into mini-hotels. I would wager that 100% of the past complaints around short-term rentals came from absentee landlords, and none from home-sharing.
On my last trip to Italy, I stayed in local’s homes, and thoroughly enjoyed my home-stay experience.
It was a wonderful way to have a more intimate observation of how locals live. I know another Laguna widow that has opened her home to German speaking guests. She provides an important asset, acting as an on-site German-speaking concierge that her visitors wouldn’t otherwise have.
Home-shares don’t take away from housing stock; they help seniors and others that need financial assistance remain in their homes, and when regulated will add tax revenue to the city.
I applaud City Council on their recent decision to regulate home sharing and to ban new short term rentals in our neighborhoods. It seems like the right thing to do for everyone.
Christopher Prelitz, Laguna Beach