By Patric Hedlund, Editor
A survey conducted by area realtors indicates that 57 percent of homes in this beautiful region are often empty. Many owners are still struggling to hold on to their mountain homes. They sometimes rent them to weekend guests to help meet the mortgage payment. This is far preferable to such properties going into foreclosure and sitting empty to further depress the real estate market.
Vacation guests provide business to our restaurants and local retail stores. Visitors often become interested in buying property here themselves. Vacation rentals are also a convenience to local residents who wish to invite groups to visit the mountain and need a place for them to stay. Vacation rentals are good for the local economy.
Recently Kern County began running an ad asking people to take a survey about vacation rentals in this area. That survey will be used to set up regulations regarding vacation rentals.
The county should not be trying to tax or to interfere with the business decisions of individual private owners about use of their private property.
Like any other neighbor, owners who sometimes allow their homes to be used as vacation rentals should be sure that all guests are considerate of the community.
Guests should be informed about securing garbage to avoid attracting bears. They should be informed about emergency preparedness and reminded of guidelines for being a good guest in the Mountain Communities.
This should be handled by civil contract and cultural expectation. It should not become a new job for the Kern County Board of Supervisors or its bureaucrats.
You can see the survey at www.surveymonkey.com/s/7G6KX52
This is part of the February 25, 2011 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
Have an opinion on this matter? We'd like to hear from you.