Santa Barbara City Wins Vacation Rental Enforcement Lawsuit

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Source: Santa Barbara City Attorney Office

Today City Attorney Ariel Calonne announced the City’s victory in Santa Barbara Inland & Coastal Property Rights Association vs. City of Santa Barbara.  Superior Court Judge Thomas Anderle ruled that the City’s existing short term vacation rental ordinances are valid and enforceable throughout the City.  The case, which was funded by James Fenknerand brought by local attorney Joe Liebman, provided the opportunity for City lawyers to reveal evidence that California Coastal Commission staff improperly interfered in Santa Barbara’s inland zoning decisions at the behest of vacation rental business interests.

With respect to testimony offered by the Deputy Director of the Coastal Commission in support of vacation rental business interests, Judge Anderle found:  “ . .  . he does not “represent” the Coastal Commission in this litigation; if they had thought it was important, the Coastal Commission could have intervened in this litigation and this Court would then have an official position of that distinguished organization.”

City Attorney Ariel Calonne said, “We are pleased to have a local ruling that upholds the City’s power to enforce the law against illegal vacation rentals, especially now when permanent housing is in such short supply.”

Attorney Liebman declined to appeal, likely to avoid creating favorable precedent for the City.  Instead he chose to pay the City $5,991.92 in court costs.

The case was handled by Robin Lewis and Tom Shapiro of the City Attorney’s Office.

The City Attorney’s Office will continue active enforcement of the City’s vacation rental laws.

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AwareHuman Mar 19, 2021 03:42 PM
Santa Barbara City Wins Vacation Rental Enforcement Lawsuit

I hope this means MORE enforcement and especially for the illegal Airbnbs. Wesr Michelltorena is like hotel row . Also, ,,the real estate agents and their friends get first dibs on the few affordable homes, turning them into temporary rentals. Too many of them!
Reporting illegal and noncompliant houses is very challenging/impossible as well. There
needs to be more enforcement & inspections of temporary rentals as well & pronto. I hope they dedicate a phone number and an investigator so that the greedy wild west mentality will be restrained AND the city will get a lot more TOT $$$$$.

SBLetsGetAlong Mar 19, 2021 06:58 PM
Santa Barbara City Wins Vacation Rental Enforcement Lawsuit

I call BS The City has always allowed vacation rentals legal or not snd demands it’s taxes on the illegal activity it turns a blind eye to.

How can a government collect taxes on an illegal activity?

Further, the City would scour vacations rental websites and send noticed that taxes err due to vacation RD take not paying taxes.

The only time the City “enforced” the laws prohibiting vacation rentals was when there was a complaint.

Extortion , hush money, what’s the word for collecting money on illegal activities It’s like the mob, pay up or rise we’ll shut you down.
Protection money?

RHS Mar 20, 2021 10:27 AM
Santa Barbara City Wins Vacation Rental Enforcement Lawsuit

Government collects/assesses taxes on all sorts of illegal activity. Many a bootlegger or drug smuggler has been busted for not paying such taxes. I see nothing wrong with this. It is also allegedly true that some of these actors pay taxes on their own illicit activity to avoid being hit by the IRS.

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