Over the last decade, the rise of short-term rentals has grown tremendously. Now, when traveling for work or vacation, one has options of where to stay beyond the classic hotel. Short-term rentals allow homeowners to rent out a room or the entire property for a term under 29 days (defines short term). It is also worth pointing out that opinions vary on short term rentals; some people use them and greatly prefer them to typical hotels, while others feel like they can be a negative impact in their neighborhoods and communities. This article is not meant to debate the merits, or to persuade anybody one way or the other; rather, this article is meant to discuss what they are, how they're regulated in Bend, and the changes being proposed to them currently.
Short term rentals are nothing particularly new; people have been renting out vacation cabins and homes for a long time, but with the rise of Vacation Rental By Owner, or VRBOs, and AirBnB, short term rentals have really gained popularity in Bend. The City of Bend basically classifies STRs into two categories: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 STRs are in commercial zones and the mixed-use river front area (near Old Mill boundaries), and mixed employment zoning districts, or if in a residentially zoned area, the owner occupies the home and rents out a room(s). Type 2 STRs are homes in residentially zoned areas that are not owner occupied, and visitors can rent the entire home. All these STRs are required to go through the application process and be approved by the City of Bend. Right now, in 2022 the City of Bend is looking to make some amendments to the existing STR codes, outlined below.
In April 2015 the City of Bend put in rules and an application process to help regulate the STR market, as they were really growing in popularity. Plenty of existing vacation rentals and condominiums (Mt. Bachelor Village, for example) were grandfathered into the current regulations. Currently some of the major permitting issues are being amended. The first major proposed amendment has to do with type 2 STRs extending the buffer zone from 250 feet to 500 feet. This means that no STR can be within 250 feet of another existing STR, and right now the City is looking to extend that to 500 feet. The other big amendment is one that allows STR license holders to show proof of long-term leases, and this lease will work in place of "showing proof of use" of the STR to renew a license. The last amendment is that moving forward, there would be only one STR license per property, meaning that only one unit in a duplex can have an STR license. At a Sept. 12 meeting, the City's Planning Commission plans to recommend the Bend City Council adopt these changes.
For those interested in getting an STR license, I recommend going to the City's website and reviewing the plethora of information. Search an address to see if it qualifies for an STR permit, download an application, and read the most up-to-date information and rules around operating an STR. The city website also includes the "good neighbor rules" that STRs must follow, as well as allowing people to file a complaint about any issues they may be having with neighbors' vacation rentals.