Government Impact – Zoning & Licensing are Key

Zoning and Licensing are the two twin sisters of success to your vacation home ownership experience. Local governments have a duty to regulate both and have made inroads to address the needs of the communities, residents, second home owners and vacationers alike. (No easy task)

“Due to concerns that the county’s current policies regarding the regulation of vacation rentals, also popularly known as short-term rentals, are overly broad and lacking clarity, the Washington County Commission voted to put a six-month pause on the approval of any new vacation rental applications for the unincorporated parts of the county earlier this month”

Reads a recent article from St George News where they reported a 6 month ban at the ‘County’ level on short-term or nightly vacation rentals by the County Commissioners. They are working to balance the interests of all parties and need time to “get it right” as the trend for nightly rentals continues its climb in popularity with investors and tourists alike.

If you’re in the market to buy a second home in Washington County it may pay to work with an expert in operations, management and zoning. Know the details before you buy.

If you already own a second home, and you’re thinking of ways to cash-flow it but are not sure about zoning or have questions about rates, management or marketing – reach out to us for a free no-obligation consultation. About 20-30 minutes of your time will produce a great deal of insight as you navigate the market.

The locals ‘Guide’ to owning a Vacation Rental in the Greater St George area

If your client or yourself are getting ready to buy a second home in the Greater St George area, and part of the economic strategy is to rent it out when not using it, then you may need some insight on what PUD’s or zoning laws allow, their associated ordinances and licensing requirements and general strategies to make the experience successful.

Escape Properties, a member of VMRA (the Vacation Rental Manager Association) and only National Association of Realtors designated RSPS (Resort and Second Home Property Specialist) firm has been managing and operating vacation properties since 2008 in the area with thousands of successful guest stays.  We have spent a great deal of time and effort compiling this information for your benefit.  Where possible we have contacted municipal authorities to get the most accurate and relevant information as possible.  


Feel free to reach out to us for a specific analysis of your vacation
property – no obligation.  (435) 414-1525 or email  kendall@escape2stgeorge.com.


Vacation Rental homes have been around for hundreds of years in Europe.  In the United States most vacation homes have been concentrated to sea side communities or mountain cabins.  In the last 15 years with the advent of what is termed as the ‘sharing’ economy there has been a boom in the FOR RENT by OWNER options across the country and globally.  

Communities like St George that are located near destinations like Zion National Park or the Grand Canyon or have developed a sports tourism options have seen a boom to nightly rentals and second home ownership.  

There are 20 individual cities within Washington County and all with vastly different approaches to short term rentals.  Not all areas are geographically ideal for a nightly rental business models.  As such this article will focus on what we term as the Greater St George area (90% of our population) and will cover the cities of St George, Washington, Hurricane, Santa Clara, Ivins and La Verkin.  The cities of Toquerville, Rockville and Springdale are  near enough to Zion National Park that we will address them in a follow up article.

 

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St George

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Washington

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Hurricane

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Santa Clara

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Ivins

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La Verkin

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Springdale

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Toquerville

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Pine Valley

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New Harmony

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Rockville

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Hildale

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Veyo

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Dammeron Valley

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Leeds

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Virgin

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Enterprise

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Apple Valley

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Central

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Grafton

Our team gets asked often “Where is the best place to buy” a vacation home.  The simplest core answer is – “where ever it is allowed”.  Sounds simple right.  IF the property is not permitted for nightly rentals, and you want to off-set your costs with renting it out nightly – you are wasting your time and our time thinking about it.  There isn’t enough money or motivation to deal with code enforcement violations, angry neighbors, tax implications etc. to be successful with non-zoned units.  (Unless you are interested in operating the property as a ‘temporary housing’ property.  Ask us for details on this option)

 

To help in our discussion, we need to review a few terms and types of lodging options one may encounter in Southern Utah.

Hotel/Motel
Zoned commercially or high-way commercial.  Located in town on major traffic by-ways.  Single rooms with single bathroom, mini-fridge.  Large parking lots, no group gathering areas without a fee, elevators, limited views.  We have a few nice hotels – clean, good amenities, comfortable – but we don’t much in the way of a resort hotel that you want to take a vacation to per se.  They are building one in Ivins near Tuacahn.  I think it will have its own degree of success but may or may not have any opportunity for private unit ownership.

Glamping/Yurt/RV

These are options, but will not be discussed in this review.  Glamping is ‘glorified camping’ and is usually in a YURT or Tent.  There are a few that have popped up in the area around Zion National Park and are popular with the urban camper.

Shared house
(room for rent).  Also known as the Airbnb Model.  Owner lives on site.  Offers a space in the home for rent, usually a room with access to a private bath but all other areas of the home typically are shared.  Grandma’s house falls in this category.  Usually only accommodates 1-2 persons but may vary.  (In St George, even staying at Grandma’s house is illegal IF you compensate the old lady in cash or in kind)

Guest house private space.  Like the room for rent, but more private.  Owner still on site but the unit is separate with private kitchen/kitchenette.  Accommodations for 1-4 people is common.  

Whole Space (May be condo/townhouse or single-family home) May have a community pool with other shared amenities or may be all private amenities.  Most popular are homes with private pools and these are the hardest to find.  Units typically accommodate between 1-14+ persons (some up to 100) IF you’re looking to buy, this is the type of accommodation you will want.  Focus your time on WHOLE HOUSE options.

Management Options There are two types of management styles we will discuss here.  OPEN and CLOSED.  OPEN means that the home owner can choose who manages the unit (A management company of their choosing, themselves if they live in the county).  The selection of management companies may be limited to 3-4 different approved firms.  CLOSED means that the home owner is required to use a single designated property manager.  Other restrictions may apply.