Sacramento needs housing not short term vacation rentals

[To add your organization’s name to the statement below, email]

Dear Mayor and City Council-
  We ask that you change the short-term vacation rental and ADU ordinances to preclude the use of ADUs and whole homes as short-term vacation rentals. Please read our statement below.
   Thank you.
East Sacramento Preservation
Elmhurst Neighborhood Association
Meadowview Neighborhood Association
Noralto-Neighbors United
Save Sacramento Neighborhoods
Sierra Curtis Neighborhood Association
Woodlake Preservation

Short-term Vacation Rentals Reduce Needed Housing Stock

The State of California and the City of Sacramento say that we are in a “housing crisis.” Yet the City is promoting depletion of its housing stock by allowing Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and complete homes that are not primary residences to be used as short-term vacation rentals.

Short-term vacation rentals are de facto hotels. We have a shortage of affordable housing, not hotel rooms.

The City claims that ADUs will help provide more affordable housing. However, NO affordable housing results from ADUs that are used as short-term vacation rentals.

When investors, including individuals, trusts and LLCs, are allowed to buy entire homes to use as short-term rentals, they drive up the price of housing as they outbid families seeking to buy homes to live in. Hotels are also expanding1 into the whole house rental market, making these units unavailable for would-be homeowners or renters.

According to the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project2, the city of Sacramento has the highest number of Wall Street-owned units of any city in the state (2.3k). This is almost double the amount in the city of Los Angeles (1.2k) despite that Los Angeles is more than 6 times the size of Sacramento. 

The solution is to only allow short-term vacation rentals of rooms in homes which are occupied by a primary occupant who is either the homeowner or a long -term renter. The City of Los Angeles recently adopted an ordinance to this effect.3

  • Entire homes that are not primary residences should not be short-term vacation rentals.
  • An ADU should not be used as a short-term vacation rental unless a primary occupant resides in the ADU.
  • No duplex units should be used for short-term vacation rentals unless a primary occupant resides in that unit.

Density has a steep environmental cost in eliminating trees and green spaces that are crucial to our climate resiliency in a time of climate change, when Sacramento will continue to get hotter. Trees and green spaces provide shade and cooling, improve air quality, sequester carbon, and allow water to drain into our aquifers, instead of into sewers as storm runoff. Eighty percent of our tree canopy is on private property, much of it in residential front and backyards. As density increases and building are clustered together, trees are removed, and “holes” are created in our tree canopy, forming dangerous heat islands.

The City should not be increasing density to enhance developer profits or sacrifice home ownership opportunities so that investors can profit from short-term vacation rentals. A recent study4 shows that increasingly young Americans do not prefer dense city living.  Sacramento has been and should continue to be a livable moderate density city.

To promote affordable housing and to ensure quality of life for all Sacramentans, the City must change its short-term vacation rental and ADU ordinances so that they do not allow ADUs or whole homes to be used as short-term vacation rentals. Short-term vacation rentals should only be allowed in rooms of homes that are occupied with a permanent resident.

Attached is the ordinance adopted by the city of Los Angeles




3 14-1635-S2_ORD_185931_07-01-19.pdf (