Newport Beach residents irked by bad behavior of visitors staying in short-term lodging can now call a live answering service that will be available around the clock.
The new addition is just one of the ways the popular coastal city is trying to grapple with an influx of vacation rentals in recent years.
Discussions around short-term rentals have been happening for years, but the latest meetings have spurred a number of changes aimed at balancing the booming business with the tension caused in the beach-side neighborhoods.
On July 14, the council put a stamp on several new regulations, including limiting the number of people inside the rentals and only allowing people over 21 to book rentals to minimize the number of parties. Operators must also have a “Nuisance Response Plan” to ensure owners take responsibility for issues with their customers and say how they will deal with unruly guests.
Owners will be required to include their rental permit number in all advertisements so the city can identify legal and illegal property rentals. City staffers will work with online platforms to reduce and eliminate illegal rentals, officials have said.
The outsourced answering service, which city officials estimated will cost the city $27,000 annually, will collect complaints and there needs to be a person identified for the rental, whether it’s an owner or manager, who will be able to get to the property within 30 minutes following a complaint.
The number to call with complaints is 949-718-3443.
The call center is for non-emergency issues and will be available 24 hours a day, every day, the city’s announcement said. The type of complaints people should call about include loud parties, noise, parking, trash concerns and occupancy limit violations.
All emergency calls should still be placed to 911. The Police Department will continue to respond to excessive noise complaints, public intoxication and other immediate concerns.
If the local contact person cannot be reached, the answering service operators will contact the Police Department for disturbance, noise and parking issues, and Code Enforcement for all other matters, officials said.
For the tighter restrictions on how many people can be in a home, the new rules would go by the fire code based on the square footage of the property.
The city’s short-term lodging permit ordinance dates back to 1992, well before popular online sites such as Airbnb and VRBO led to a market explosion around the globe. There are currently an estimated 1,545 active permits, making Newport Beach one of the cities in Southern California with the most short-term rentals.
A short-term rental is defined by the city as a lodging unit occupied for less than 30 consecutive days. The 1,545 estimate does not including rogue rentals not in the city’s system.
While short-term rentals can be a source of frustration among residents, homeowners and management companies who rent out investment properties say it is a source of income.
For more information, go to the city’s short-term lodging page at newportbeachca.gov.
Source: Orange County Register