Sacramento leaders consider restrictions for converting apartments into vacation rentals

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) -- It’s an idea that’s already taken life in cities like New York and San Francisco -- transforming long-term apartment units into short-term rentals.

It causes residential buildings to look less like a home and more like a hotel.

“We want to protect affordable housing,” said Sacramento City Councilman Steve Hansen. “And we have such a shortage, we need to protect our rental housing stock.”

Councilman Hansen said multiple investors approached him last year, expressing interest in converting existing or under construction apartment buildings into Airbnb-style rentals.

He said he wants to stop the trend from coming to Sacramento. He fears it could lead to fewer apartments on the market and the eviction of long-term tenants.

“We will not tolerate people taking residential housing and turning it into short-term rentals when it’s an apartment building. When it's something that will dramatically reduce the amount of affordable housing available to our residents,” Hansen told FOX40.

But some locals say property owners should have the freedom to rent spaces out as they choose.

“I don’t think they should restrict it. Like I said, they do it in bigger cities, it seems to be fine,” said Sacramento resident Beau Miller. “There should be some limits here and there, you know. Like I said, as long as they're respecting businesses, as long as they're respecting residents. But as long as they’re doing that, I think it will be fine.”

Others say putting rules in place is the right move and keeps the needs of Sacramentans first. The Sacramento Housing Alliance sent a statement to FOX40 about the issue on Tuesday:

Across Sacramento County we need more than 63,000 affordable and available rental units to meet the needs of our lower income renters. When apartments and apartment communities become short term rentals, it removes those homes from the rental market and exacerbates our housing crisis. The Sacramento Housing Alliance hopes any process that takes away permanent homes at a time they are desperately needed by tenants would be clearly defined so that it is applied equitably in neighborhoods regardless of their level of civic engagement.

Sacramento’s Law and Legislation Committee unanimously approved the new restrictions Tuesday. The measure now heads to the Planning and Design Committee.

A city council vote could come by end of February.

Councilman Hansen said there are no current projects in the works. The proposed restrictions are intended to get ahead of it before developers try to bring the idea to Sacramento.

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