Officials in San Diego, Marin County, San Bernardino County, and other California municipalities have passed rules this year to restrict short-term rentals amid booming pandemic-driven tourism and a shortage of affordable housing. Yet experts say short-term rentals' popularity is not entirely to blame for higher rents for people seeking permanent housing. In high-tourism areas, some houses and apartments that were previously rented out for a year at a time have likely been converted to short-term rentals, which can limit the number of available long-term rentals and complicate locals' ability to stay in communities where they work and where their children attend school. Still, University of Southern California Professor Richard K. Green said it is not clear how many short-term rentals were actually previously leased to local residents; many listed on sites like Airbnb may have always been rentals, but lacked easy accessibility or centralization before online platforms emerged. He warned that banning home-sharing services could "actually prevent some people from being able to afford living in some places." In fact, limits on short-term rentals more often concern preserving the culture of cities, according to experts. They contend that the communities restricting short-term rentals are often the same ones that do not desire more housing. "If you believe that the available supply influences the price renters face, the surest way to address that is to build apartments," argued University of California, Los Angeles Professor Michael Manville. "The most uncertain way is to limit short-term rentals."
New York Times (07/22/22) Soumya Karlamangla