By Devin Fehely

SANTA CRUZ (KPIX 5) – It could soon get harder, and more expensive, to find a vacation rental in Santa Cruz.

“Here in Santa Cruz, we are undoubtedly in a housing crisis,” said Santa Cruz planning director Lee Butler. “There’s an affordability issue. And there’s a lack of supply.”

Santa Cruz is capping so-called short-term rentals, like Airbnb, to 450 citywide.

The goal is to preserve affordable housing in the city.

According to the city, 330 rentals have been grandfathered in and there’s an opening in their program for 120 more. Property owners would just have to apply.

The city says it wants to protect renters who face evictions so that their units can be listed on Airbnb.

Tourist Lisa Pearlstein said, “It diminishes access to affordable housing. So, I agree with the city of Santa Cruz. I agree with the cap.”

Tourist Kevin Brudero said, “I think the price will go up because of that. I don’t think it’s a good idea…but I’m a traveler.”

The city had to get approval from the California Coastal Commission because the plan will affect the price and affordability of rentals in the area, and by extension, the ability of the public to visit and enjoy the coast.

Planning director Lee Butler said, “Every unit counts. And we can’t build houses fast enough to keep up with what we’re losing to the short-term rental market.”

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