Bend vacation rentals growing in popularity

The city is fielding increasing number of permit requests as it mulls density limits and application process.

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The city of Bend is fielding an increasing number of vacation rental permit requests as it mulls density limits and a more stringent application process.

Residents are racing to get their permits approved before the city agrees on tightening regulations, the Bend Bulletin reports. At the end of last month, there had been 568 approved short-term vacation rentals.

“The fundamental thing is that the city hasn’t honored the intent of residential zoning,” said rental critic and member of volunteer task force Stephen Junkins in the story. “We have been clear to them for the past year that this has been out of control and that we need to stop the gold rush on our neighborhoods.”

From the Bulletin’s Tyler Leeds:

Some of the regulations the City Council will consider adopting aim to limit the density of rentals and require permit holders to obtain a revocable operating license. However, based on the legal advice of the city, the new rules on density will not apply to existing rentals, meaning the clusters in River West and Old Bend will likely stay put.

Junkins and the task force he is a part of are looking to thin out the rentals throughout the city. Assistant City Manager Jon Skidmore, who also heads the anti-rental group, said the City Council could cull some of the most recently approved permits.

Another tool Skidmore cited is the possibility that an operating permit could be suspended or revoked if a rental is cited for a noise violation. However, Skidmore noted the task force as a whole did not support attempting to strip existing rentals of their right to operate. Nonetheless, the task force did support having the permit tied to a property’s owner instead of the property. As a result, if a house that doubles as a short-term rental were sold, the new owner would have to apply for a permit subject to any new density caps.

READ ON: Portland-based online vacation rental site, Vacasa, is one of Oregon’s fastest growing companies last year. The company grossed $26.3 million in 2013 and double that in 2014. Co-founder and chief development officer Cliff Johnson said apprehension regarding rentals often stems from a fear of the unknown. Click here to read why Johnson thinks vacation rentals will save the world.


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