mammoth lakes housing shortage

Skimming through the Mammoth For Rent group the telltale signs of housing shortages is readily apparent with posts like this guy, looking to sleep on a floor:

lookingforafloortosleepon

Or this couple with jobs who is willing to be split up to live in town:

mammothrentalseparate

These are not wealthy vacationers. Rather these are the folks working the chair lifts, the kitchens, the ski schools, and all other essential functions that people living in and coming to Mammoth rely upon. And it’s not that there isn’t space available to rent. Rather, a quick hop over on AirBnB shows that there are over 300 listings for Mammoth. For Mono County in total there are over 1,000 so the number in Mammoth is very likely closer to that 1k mark.

For the town coffers, more than half of which is supplied by a Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) the revenue derived from short term rentals is staggering: June of 2016 raised more than $1,000,000 alone (a 30% increase form the previous year).

As is often the case in life, decisions that hurt normal people aren’t a vast conspiracy crafted by money grubbing officials in smoke filled rooms. More boringly it’s a steady march down a path of self interest.

For home owners in Mammoth, short term rentals are great. They allow you have a more affordable second home, being able to subsidize a mortgage. And instead of a long term rental you have a place you or your friends can drop in pretty much whenever. Even if you don’t do short term rentals you you benefit from others that do. Having homes in Mammoth be more affordable reduces home inventory and keeps property values up.

For the town, they rake in the TOT tax of 13% on short term (AirBnB, VRBO, etc) stuff but not a dime on typical long term rentals. My hopefully reasonable question:

Exactly how motivated is the Town of Mammoth Lakes to reduce short term rentals, thereby lowering home prices, lowering property taxes, and lowering the revenue of the Transient Occupancy Tax?

Everyone cares about affordable housing. Whether or not you do anything to materially impact the situation in a positive way is a whole different bag of potatoes. And really, when was the last time you saw an organization do something that wasn’t in its fiscal interests?

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