Mammoth Homes: Nightly Rentals

Did you know that most of the homes in Mammoth cannot be rented out on a nightly basis? Many people who contemplate buying a vacation home in Mammoth Lakes with the intention of renting it out on a short-term basis will not be able to do so in most of the residential subdivisions.

The Town of Mammoth Lakes has an ordinance, which strictly prohibits the “transient” rentals of single family residences (SFR). A transient rental is defined as “30 consecutive days or less in exchange for a fee or similar consideration”. The Town of Mammoth Lakes has a zoning map, which outlines the exact areas where nightly rentals are permitted — the pink shaded areas labeled “resort”. The yellow shaded areas are labeled “residential” and transient rentals are not permitted in these subdivisions.

Only “resort” designated residential subdivisions are able to rent out their homes as transient rentals. These resort designated subdivisions include: Greyhawk (Bridges Lane & Greyhawk Court), Juniper Ridge (Old Juniper Lane, Juniper Road, and Juniper Court), Lodestar Drive and Starwood. Although Starwood is zoned “resort” the CC&Rs prohibit transient rentals. If the homeowners within the “resort” designated subdivisions wanted to change this restriction in their CC&Rs, they would have to have a majority vote by the Homeowner’s Association to implement this change.

Many people ask “How will the Town find out if I decide to rent out my house on a nightly basis”? For many years, the Town never went out of its way to enforce this ordinance, but lately, they have hired staff specifically for the purpose of monitoring suspected illegal rental activity. It is unclear what the Town would impose on homeowners as fines, but a minimum of the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) of 13% would have to be paid for each night discovered.

Another common question that prospective buyers ask when they learn of this ordinance is “How can the Town dictate what I do with my property as fee simple ownership?” This is a very good question. It reverts back to the individual homeowners in Mammoth who enjoy the peace and quiet of not having transient rentals checking in and out of the house next door every few days… The residents and home owners of Mammoth Lakes want to keep the zoning the way it is and would actively challenge any movement to change this ordinance.
I always recommend to clients who are considering a purchase in Mammoth, and want to generate rental income to offset their costs, to focus on condos and townhomes. These are very user-friendly and easy ways of owning a vacation home property, which can legitimately generate income.

Another option to generate income on homes in Mammoth is to offer the property as a seasonal rental. There are so many families from Southern California with kids on the ski team who are always looking for a residential seasonal rental they can share with another family. There is a demand for this type of seasonal rental for homes that could be lucrative for the property owner to legally generate rental income.

Verena Robinson, Broker/Owner
CA BRE License #01512209
Mammoth Lakes Resort Realty
tel. (760) 924-8521

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