Home Buyer CreditsBy Jason Boone

Buying a rental property can be a wise investment for many, providing extra income for years to come. And the temptation to become a landlord right now is clear.

The Bend rental market dramatically favors landlords at the moment, with a historically tight rental market and vacancy rates that are hovering around 1 percent.

But it is not something that should be entered into lightly, particularly for those who want to buy property and use it as a vacation rental. The reason is that Bend City Council approved a measure earlier this year to limit the density of short-term rentals.

The measure disallows more than two rentals to be within 250 feet of each other (the move was not retroactive). In addition, the city forced rental owners to purchase operating licenses from the City. The City Council’s move was met with controversy, to be certain.

Since its implementation, it does appear that the measure has been successful in reducing the number of rentals. According to the City Council and a recent Bulletin report, the total number of short-term rentals in Bend has dropped from 700 to about 600.

Those shopping for a potential income-generating property should take note, though. Since the measure’s implementation about 120 homeowners were rejected after applying for a rental permit because their home was too close to an existing vacation rental.

No one would want to be caught in that situation. To avoid such an issue, one should be careful to understand some truths about the new rules in Bend.

  • Potential vacation rentals in some neighborhoods are hindered by the new rules more than others. Westside Bend neighborhoods such as Old Bend and River West, charming areas where the already high concentration of short-term rentals helped to initially spark the controversy, are more difficult than say much of Bend’s eastside.
  • Under the new rules, landlords must notify neighbors of their intention to make a home a short-term rental.
  • Even if a rental is approved for a license it can be revoked if there is a violation of rules regarding noise or parking.

Still, an investment in a short-term rental can pay significant dividends over the long term. The Bend tourism market is booming right now, and the hotel room inventory is playing catch up. And though operating expenses for vacation rentals are often more than a conventional long-term rental, most short-term rentals can command a higher price.

There is a lot to weigh.

In Bend, the debate between advocates of private property rights and those who want to limit the explosion of short-term rentals will likely rage on for years. But for someone who is searching for a potential rental that can generate income, knowing the details of the licensing process and the pros and cons of vacation rentals is crucial.

To learn more about the Bend market, get started with listing your Bend home, or to view area homes contact me call (541) 383-1426, or visit Bend Property Search to connect with me through my website.