While on vacation in Bend, Oregon there are numerous lodging options – hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, RV parks, and vacation rentals. Owning a vacation rental property in Bend can be a great income generator, whether it’s strictly an investment property or you choose to rent out your vacation home while you’re not using it. If you’re considering purchasing a property to use as a vacation rental in Bend, here are some things you should know.
On April 15, 2015 Bend City Councilors voted unanimously on the adoption of the Short Term Rental Code Amendments. The land use code amendments became effective immediately and the new licensing code will be effective July 3, 2015. A Short-Term Rental is any dwelling unit or portion of a dwelling unit rented fewer than 30 days per tenant. This term includes whole-house rentals, as well as the rental of up to 2 individual rooms in a house while the owner is present. In order to use a property as a vacation rental or short-term rental, the property needs a land use approval and an operating license. There are regulations for existing short term rentals and for new short term rentals (click on the hyperlinks to view the FAQ’s).
Here are some of the key questions from the City of Bend FAQ’s about short term rentals.
EXISTING SHORT TERM RENTALS
What must I do to keep my existing Vacation Home Rental? Existing Vacation Home Rentals are now legal-conforming uses and may continue to operate as long as three conditions are met:
• Property owners must use the property as a short-term rental at least once every 12 months.
• Property owners may not expand the short-term rental use by adding a bedroom.
• Property owners must obtain and maintain an annual operating license.
Will the Vacation Home Rental land use approval run with the land if I sell my property? Yes, for Vacation Home Rental applications submitted prior to April 15, 2015 and subsequently approved, the land use approval runs with the land. Legal non-conforming uses documented by the City with a letter also may continue after a sale or transfer to a new owner.
NEW SHORT TERM RENTALS
What approvals do I need to operate a Short Term Rental? All properties need a land use approval AND an operating license :
• A land use application reviews whether the property site meets City standards; once the review is complete, a land use approval is issued. The land use approval lasts as long as you own the property and maintain an active operating license.
• Once a land use application is filed, a property owner may apply for an operating license. The operating license governs how the Short-Term Rental is managed. The license lasts for one 12-month period and must be renewed annually.
What if I sell my property? The land use approval will be issued to you as the owner and will not run with the land. When you sell or transfer your property, the land use approval will terminate and be void.
In addition to making sure you comply with the City of Bend regulations, you must also make sure that short term rentals are allowed in the neighborhood. Many subdivisions have CCR’s that prohibit rentals shorter than 30 days. There are a handful of subdivisions in Bend in which short-term rentals are grandfathered in and these include Mt. Bachelor Village (River Wild), Seventh Mountain Resort, Bend Riverside, portions of Widgi Creek, and portions of Broken Top.
These changes to the code will likely have the biggest impact on the Old Bend and River West neighborhoods, where most short term rentals are presently concentrated and generally where tourists want to stay while visiting Bend. Here’s a link to a map that shows where vacation rentals are located: Licensed Vacation Rentals in Bend. One of the stipulations for approval of a new vacation rental is that the property must be at least 250 feet away from the nearest vacation rental. You can see from the map that it will be very difficult to get approval for a new vacation rental in the high density area south of Newport Ave., north of Commerce Ave., west of the Deschutes River, and east of 14th St.