I apologize in advance if this post rambles a bit, I am wading through unfamiliar territory and trying to figure this all out. Please give me the benefit of your guidance.
My city is undergoing a general plan update process now. During a public discussion on housing, an issue came up that I'm trying to make sense of.
There is a large amount of residential rental property within the city's older historic neighborhood (though, I don't want to limit the discussion just to historic districts), renting mostly college students. These properties can house 6 or more adult renters. Residential properties are only required to have 2 parking on-site spaces.
The city's Planner has said that it is impossible to regulate this, because (in California?) municipalities cannot dictate what constitutes a "family" and that any group of people with a competent attorney can answer a complaint is such a way as to present themselves as a family, making enforcement impossible.
Additionally, I understand that people who rent of rooms within their homes are exempt from many regulations--and I have some sympathy for this argument.
The renting of property is commerce, shouldn't such property be subject to commercial requirements? Shouldn't the renting of property require a business licence? If such property is owned by a corporation--corporations only exist for commercial purposes--shouldn't it be subject to commercial requirements?
A few blocks from me is a Victorian that is operated as a bed and breakfast. the couple who owns it rents out 4 rooms in the house in which they live. The have a business license, and collect transient occupancy tax, and are required to have on-site parking for their guests.
A few blocks farther down is another Victorian where the owner lives in another town (it may even be owned by his LLC) and rents out 6 rooms by the month. This property is not required to have a business license, and is only required to have 2 parking spaces on-site. Guess where the other 4+ cars park.
A few blocks further on is another Victorian that is owned by an investment group (LLC) and has been leased to a sorority (a not-for-profit corporation) that will house 20 college students and a house mother in it. Again, because this is an R1 property, it is only required to have 2 parking spaces on-site.
What are other people doing about situations like this? Are there sensible ways to regulate rental single-family properties?