Is Vacation Rental Ban Helping or Hurting Seal Beach? - KMSP-TV

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Is Vacation Rental Ban Helping or Hurting Seal Beach?

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Powdery soft sand, a quaint Main Street, and mansions that line the beach, Seal Beach is the perfect California town.  But in December, the city banned any new short-term vacation rentals because many homeowners complained about loud parties and sanitation issues at the rentals.

Beverly Rallis lives next door to one of those vacation rentals, she says the house continues to be rented out illegally despite the ban.  Beverly says 12 to 14 people stay at the house next door at one time.  "They're excited they come to the beach they're enjoying it they invite family, they invite friends. And this is not zoned, its not a business zone," said Rallis.

Now that it's summer and the height of the vacation rental season FOX 11 wanted to know if the ban working?  Beverly says no, "Nothing's changed next door. Nothing has changed."

Others wonder if the ban sends the wrong message to tourists.

"I think it's maybe a little short sighted of beach communities to do that.  Because let's face it, you live where everybody wants to be and part of the glory of living here and the beauty of living here, is being able to share that with people," said Maryanne Dell from Cypress.

City Council woman Ellery Deaton says Seal Beach is very welcoming to tourists.  "We actually have 14 approved vacation rentals and we were voted the 4th friendliest city by Forbes Magazine, because we welcome the tourist to Seal Beach and we want them here," said Deaton.

Kye Osti owns 3 of the 14 permits that were approved before the ordinance was passed and he completely disagrees with the ban.

"I was upset by it, because I'm not one to have the attitude ‘I have mine and you don't have yours'," said Kye, he adds that he's had little to no issues or complaints about his renters.

But Barbara Barton, another homeowner, says not all rental properties are alike.  "My sliders were locked, but they cut the screen got in took my diamond watch my diamond ring cash and left," she said about a break-in that happened at her home.

Barbara fears short term renters who are there one day and gone the next, may be to blame.

But Kye says the ban may be creating more problems than it's solving.  Websites like vrbo.com have pages and pages of short-term rentals available in Seal Beach.  And all but 14 of them are now illegal.

"It bothers me, and I know that they're out there because we'll have people call us and say hey this house is not going to charge us tax can you not charge us tax," said Kye.

Council Woman Deaton says Seal Beach needs time to figure out how to enforce the new ordinance.  For now they rely on neighbors to report illegal rentals, and violators will face fines or other punishments.

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