By Andrea Papagianis
Short-term vacation rental owners in Niguel Beach Terrace were given an extension Tuesday night to comply with city ordinances on rentals of less than 30 days.
In a 4-to-1 vote, the Dana Point City Council extended a May 1 enforcement deadline, giving the neighborhood off Selva Road a chance to amend homeowners association rules to allow vacation rentals. Niguel Beach Terrace now has until Aug. 1.
After years of debating the legality and practices of short-term rentals, the ordinance was adopted last spring. City code was silent on the issue, meaning rentals, usually for days and weeks, were considered illegal. However, more than 200 vacation rentals operated within city limits.
The city now allows such rentals in residential neighborhoods but requires rentals be inspected, permitted and subject to the 10-percent bed tax that campsites and hotels are.
While the practice is now allowable, the city left the ultimate decision up to homeowners associations. Owners at Niguel Beach Terrace, who have been renting their condos out for years, say they didn’t know their HOA disallowed vacation rentals until permit applications were denied by the city in January.
Owners have worked to amend the HOA’s rules to allow rentals, but told the council they would not make the enforcement deadline. With bookings set, owners asked for the extension to avoid cancellations, reimbursements and possible city fees. The ordinance carries fines from $250 to $1,000 for violations.
The council approved the extension with Councilman Carlos Olvera casting the dissenting vote.
The extension requires that Niguel Beach Terrace rental owners apply for a temporary permit by April 30. The $150 fee and inspection will apply. Owners will have to submit a list of booked rentals and must stop booking rentals as of April 15.