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Home&Real Estate Home or OPEN HOME GUIDE 80 Also online at Home Front SOIL BASICS ... UC Master Gardener David Peterson will talk about “Garden Soil Basicsâ€? from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 8, at Gamble Garden, 1431 Waverley St., Palo Alto. The free talk will deal with the learning how to diagnose what kind of soil you have, composting and mulch, watering needs and improving and caring for different garden soils. Information: Master Gardeners at 408-282-3105, between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., Monday through Friday or SOLAR BASICS ... The City of Palo Alto will offer a free workshop, “Solar Power 101: Solar Electric Basics,â€? from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 8, at Lucie Stern Community Center, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. The workshop will cover everything from how photovoltaic systems work to how to take advantage of the city’s rebate program and federal solar-tax credits. Participants are encouraged to check their own energy use before the workshop. Information (and registration — required because of space limitations): 650-329-2241 CONTAINER GARDENING AND MORE ... Master Gardeners will offer a couple of free workshops this week. On Saturday, June 8, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Master Gardener Chris Egan will offer “Tips for Container Gardening,â€? including soil, watering, fertilizer and container basics, at the Mountain View Library, 585 Franklin St., Mountain View. On Friday, June 14, from 1 to 2 p.m., Master Gardener Roberta Barnes will offer “Water Saving Tips in the Garden,â€? including improving efficiency of irrigation systems by making simple adjustments, at Avenidas, 450 Bryant St., Palo Alto. Information: Master Gardeners at 408-282-3105, between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., Monday through Friday or http:// N Send notices of news and events related to real estate, interior design, home improvement and gardening to Home Front, Palo Alto Weekly, P.O. Box 1610, Palo Alto, CA 94302, or email Deadline is one week before publication. Local residents who rent space to travelers may owe city taxes by Eric Van Susteren eresa Gadda and her husband had a dilemma. The long-term renter of the cottage in the back of their Downtown North house had left, and they wanted to make some money on the space while keeping it occasionally available for her mother, who sometimes visits for more than a month at a time. They decided to advertise the space on Airbnb, an online platform that allows for “hostsâ€? like Gadda to rent out unused space for travelers staying in the area. “We said, ‘We’ll put it up, and if we hate it, we’ll stop,’â€? Gadda said. They put up the ad for the one-bedroom, one-bathroom mother-in-law cottage for $120 a night in December. Now the space is booked through mid-August and Gadda is considering raising the price. “It turns out it’s really good money,â€? Gadda said. “Renting it out for part of the year makes as much as full-time renter. It turns out to be a really good balance.â€? The process works like a social-network profile. A host sets up a profile, adds pictures and a description of the space, and lays out a calendar of when it will be available. Travelers use the site to find places to stay regionally and connect with hosts. Airbnb processes the payments and takes a bit off the top — 6 to 12 percent, depend- T Katie Brigham RECYCLE WATER ... Sherri Osaka, a landscape architect and Bay-Friendly Qualified Designer, will teach a class on “Graywaterâ€? from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 8, at Common Ground, 559 College Ave., Palo Alto. The class will cover different types of systems, installation, do’s and don’ts, permitting and plant compatibility with graywater. Cost is $31. Information: 650-493-6072 or The Gaddas of Palo Alto posted an ad on for their one-bedroom, onebath cottage for $120 last December, and the space is now booked through mid-August. Katie Brigham TREE WALK ... Arborist MiMi Scoppettone will lead a tree walk at the Main Library and Art Center from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 8. Expect to encounter Jelecote pine, red horsechestnut, Chinese pistache, Italian stone pine, black mulberry, Japanese flowering crabapple, plume cryptomeria and others. Meet at the Main Library parking lot, 1213 Newell Road, Palo Alto. Information: Canopy at 650-964-6110 or www. Teresa Gadda sits in the Palo Alto cottage she rents out to travelers. ing on the cost of the rental. Since its founding in 2008, Airbnb has exploded in popularity. Its website states that there are listings available in 33,000 cities in 192 countries. But the legality of renting out space in a house is complex, and not always well-understood by the site’s users. In San Francisco, Airbnb’s hometown, there have been reports of people being evicted and heavy fines for use of the service because the city’s municipal code prohibits renting out an apartment unit for tourist or transient use. In 2010 New York state outlawed renting out certain residential spaces to customers for fewer than 30 days. Homeowners in Palo Alto who are using the service can breathe a sigh of relief, though perhaps a measured one. The city’s municipal code doesn’t proscribe hosts from renting out rooms, apartments, cottages, houses or even mobile homes for fewer than 30 days at a time. However, the code does state that if a lodging acts like a hotel, it has to pay taxes like a hotel. That means Airbnb hosts must pay the city a 12 percent “transient occupancy taxâ€? for each transaction it has with its customer. (continued on page 59) ĂœĂœĂœÂ°*>Â?ÂœÂ?ĂŒÂœ"˜Â?ˆ˜i°VÂœÂ“ĂŠUĂŠ*>Â?ÂœĂŠÂ?ĂŒÂœĂŠ7iiÂŽÂ?ÞÊUĂŠĂ•Â˜iÊÇ]ÊÓä£ÎÊU Page 57

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