Tuesday, September 11, 2012

When Neighbors Confront Vacation Rentals Guests

          "At this time, our city has a group of vigilantes that are using their brand of justice to impose their will on others.  It crosses the line, when that justice is imposed on innocent visitors that are the lifeblood of our city."


The name, address and short term rental location has been removed from the writings below, to protect the identity of the rental owner.  

Otherwise, it is a completely accurate and heartfelt description, written entirely by the owner of a short term rental, to describe what short term rental owners have to deal with in some cities, where opposition to short term rentals could be described as approaching fanaticism.

The letter was written to a consultant that was hired by the city to help resolve conflicts and controversy in that city about vacation rentals.  The consultant did not distribute copies of the letter to the members of the group that it was addressed to.

Here is the letter.

        Consensus group members and leader, 

On January 1, 2003, my brother-in-law, his wife, my wife and I met in your city to decide on a vacation rental to purchase.  We were all in our mid 50's with an income from a family trust due in May or June.  We looked at every beach-front property for sale in your city that weekend.  

We chose a property because it was constructed for a vacation rental.  Vinyl siding, metal roofing, rough cedar interior walls, no interior or exterior paint to redo every year, and a history of family rentals.  My brother-in-law had rented this home in the early 1980's as a vacation rental.  It was built by three real estate salesmen as a vacation rental in 1976.  

The home north of us was a vacation rental and still is.  The home south of us was a vacation rental and still is.  Now, this committee is proposing that our vacation rental shouldn't be in this area.  

Our home has a 36 year history as a vacation rental.  I would venture to guess that our 36 year history is more longevity than most of the people complaining about this issue.

We don't complain about our neighbors parking in the street.  We don't complain about the garbage dumpster at the apartments across the street.  We don't complain when our neighbors are working on their vehicles at 11pm.  We don't complain about the salal and blackberries taking over landscapes.  We don't care what plants our neighbors plant.  

We should have cared when the home south of us went up an additional 2 stories and the additional shade all but killed our 40' shore pine.  We don't complain when tourists park in our lot to use the stairs to the beach.  We hire a reputable management company to manage our home.  We manage our home to be an asset to the community.

Now it is time to complain.  On August 1st, one of our guests was confronted on our property by a member of your committee.  He had taken pictures of two bags of garbage that previous renters had left outside of the garbage can.  He had filed a complaint with the city.  The city had contacted our management company and the bags were removed.  

The committee member was on the property, yelling and screaming, asking what our new guest was going to do with his garbage.  The garbage was due to be picked up the next morning. 

We don't care how this gentleman acts towards us as owners, our management company, the city, or the police department.  But, for him to come onto our property and act so inappropriately towards our guest crosses a line.  If he has a problem, he has a proper recourse outlined in the present rules.  

We talked with the City police department.  We were advised that we couldn't act against this person until we had put him on legal notice.  

While we were formulating our response, my brother-in-law had a confrontation with this gentleman's wife.  On a sunny afternoon, my brother-in-law was on our back deck listening to the radio.  He noticed this gentleman's wife standing in the street positioned so she could see the people on the deck.  After 15 minutes, he went outside and talked with her.  Nothing came of this because he intoduced himself as an owner.  

She knew this was a vacation rental and she was intentionally interfering with normal beachfront activities.  If these people come onto our property again, we will use the only remedy available to us through the local police department.  As VRD owners, we all need to act on these inappropriate and unwarranted actions.

The real problem that vacation rental owners face is the vicious attacks that a few people seem to think they are compelled to do.  They need to be held to the same standards that you and I are held to.  They have to call the police or the city.  The city or the police call the representative on the license to fix the problem.  If the problem isn't fixed file a complaint.  

If these people confront the guests, have them fined or arrested.  This needs to be addressed.  At this time, our city has a group of vigilantes that are using their brand of justice to impose their will on others.  It crosses the line, when that justice is imposed on innocent visitors that are the lifeblood of our city.

(name withheld)

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