Good Times, please correct the record of your coverage of the proposed Empty Home Tax last week (GT, 7/6). First, it’s not about “second empty vacation rentals,” as your writer stated. 3.38.040 of the proposed law on the November ballot explicitly exempts property registered under the Santa Cruz short-term rental ordinance.
Another mistake was this statement “Those hefty expenses include a budget of $65,000 to build a web portal for landlords.” Read the proposed law. It affects every homeowner in the city. Every homeowner will have to provide documentation to prove they were home enough, every year. Describing this as a law primarily affecting landlords is incorrect.
If the empty homes tax passes in November, the city will be monitoring every homeowner, every year, to make sure they are home enough. The effort to identify a handful of second homeowners will require every homeowner in the city to comply with a law that imposes civil and criminal penalties for missing documentation. It’s not a “landlord portal,” it requires every homeowner to submit personal documentation, every year, subject to random audits.
Santa Cruz Together
Aiyana Moya responds: The tax would not apply to 291 units registered under the Santa Cruz short-term rentals ordinance, for which taxes and fees are already being paid to the city, but will apply to Airbnbs that are unoccupied for 120 days per year. The web portal would require homeowners to submit an affidavit form answering yes or no to the question: “Has your property been in use for at least 120 days the previous calendar year?” No further documentation will be required.
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