Nightly Rentals Explained
Nightly rentals are allowed at many condos in town with a few exceptions. Most condo owners in Mammoth do put their condo on a nightly rental program in hopes of generating income. The gross income that can be generated from a nightly rental program varies greatly, depending on the days that the condo is available for rent vs. owner usage, the location and upgrades to the condo, the view, and the amenities available at the condo complex and proximity to transportation and nightlife. Some areas in Mammoth lend themselves to summer rentals over winter rentals and it is important to understand which area you are purchasing in. The condos on the meadow for example will rent better in the summertime and the slopeside, ski-in ski out condos will rent better during the winter months. There are quite a few options to choose from when picking a nightly rental company. The amount that the management company takes depends on the level of service offered. Most offsite management companies will have an office in town where guests can pick up keys and parking passes, meet with an associate or manager and get information about the area and even some discounts on lift tickets for Mammoth Mountain or free gym use at Snowcreek Athletic. These companies will have a 24-hour emergency phone line usually answered by the owner or manager of the company. Onsite management companies are generally more expensive, charging in the range of a 38% – 52% management fee, as they will have a 24-hour staffed front desk, room service, bell hops, and generally a more full service environment for the guest wishing for a more structured experience. The least expensive type of management is the do-it-yourself type where you hire a professional photographer and advertise the condo yourself on a website like VRBO.com (Vacation Rental By Owner) and handle the bookings, management and cleanings on your own. Many owners will try to use both a vacation management company and also a VRBO booking service to maximize rental income. (Most management companies have now tried to prevent owners from using VRBO by including in their management contracts that VRBO rentals will net the owner between 5% – 10% more than if the management company had booked the rental themselves.) From the Town of Mammoth Lakes website:
What is Transient Occupancy Tax? Transient Occupancy Tax, or TOT, is a 13% tax that is charged “for the privilege of occupancy of any transient occupancy facility” (Town of Mammoth Lakes Municipal Code § 3.12.040). The tax is required to be paid by the guest to the operator of the transient facility at the time that the rent is paid. It is the operator’s responsibility to remit the TOT to the Town.
In addition to the rent paid for each night of a transient stay (less than 31 days) other fees are also subject to TOT. Any required fee that a guest must pay in order to stay at a transient facility is taxable. This includes but is not limited to: Pet fees
For a more detailed list of taxable items please see the Taxable Items List, or if you have specific questions about what items are subject to TOT, please don’t hesitate to contact Town staff. What is illegal rental activity? Illegal rental activity is any rental activity that is not consistent with the Town’s Zoning or Transient Occupancy Tax Ordinances. This includes transient rental of units located in zones that prohibit transient rentals. It also includes transient rentals in permitted zones when a Business Tax Certificate and/or Transient Occupancy Tax Certificate is not obtained first and/or TOT is not being remitted to the Town. Check out the Town Zoning Map, the Zoning Compliance Guide, or the interactive, online TOT Property Search Tool to find out if an address, APN, or complex is zoned for transient rentals.
It is also possible to determine whether a lodging operator has a current Business Tax Certificate and TOT certificate. Use the following link to search by business or owner name, complex, or address: TOT Operators 6/2012. Please keep in mind that individuals can apply for Business Tax and TOT Certificates throughout the year and it is best to check with Town staff regarding the most current tax remitters. Report Illegal Activity You can anonymously report illegal rental activity by leaving a message on the TOT Hotline at (760) 934-8989 x275 or by filling out this online Anonymous TOT Complaint Form. Staff investigates all tips and complaints. Additional Information Town staff has compiled a list of resources to help the public comply with the Transient Occupancy Tax and Zoning Ordinances. For more specific information regarding TOT, please read our TOT Frequently Asked Questions resource, or click on one of the links below. You can also receive TOT updates via email by signing up for the Town e-News newsletter or by following the Town of Mammoth Lakes on Facebook and Twitter.