A bill that could limit the availability of short-term rentals moved one step closer to becoming law, worrying some proponents of the richly-debated industry.
Assembly Bill 1731 limits the amount of days a vacation rental platform -- think Airbnb or VRBO -- could make a property available for short term rentals to 30 days out of the year. One exception is if the owner of the property lives there full time.
AB 1731 passed the Assembly in May and just passed its first senate committee Wednesday. As it inches its way along in Sacramento, supporters of STVR's in San Diego are paying attention.
"Every committee it clears, it worries us a bit more," said Jonah Mechanic, President of Share San Diego and STVR property manager.
Mechanic criticizes the bill's effectiveness, and says it does little to solve the region's affordable housing crisis like its authors claim it will.
"These homes never have been affordable housing, and no matter what they never will be affordable housing," he said.
Mechanic also worries property owners will just put their rentals 30 days on Airbnb, 30 days on VRBO, and 30 days on another STVR platform, then resort to unregulated sites.
“It is a deeply flawed, and very complicated bill and quite honestly, ineffective,” Mechanic told NBC 7 in May. “What you're doing is your taking the good rentals away from the Airbnb's and Homeaways of the world who pay taxes and follow the rules, and you're shifting them over to Craigslist.”
Brian Curry is among the long list of San Diegans cheering for AB 1731's passage. He's lived in Pacific Beach for more than 30 years and fears the STVR industry is depleting neighborhoods like his of their community feel.
"We're not just talking about the noise next door or the party next door that happens in Pacific Beach anyway, it's Pacific Beach," Curry said. "If it's a long term tenant, you can go next door you can talk to that tenant. If it's a visitor who's gone the next day, they're gone the next day."
Curry calls AB 1731 a step in the right direction.
The bill is headed the Senate's Natural Resources and Water Committee.
New STVR regulation recommendations by the San Diego Community Working Group, made up of several local town council members, is also worrying the STVR property owners
The proposal calls for limiting STVR’s to a host’s primary residence, and suggests there should be proximity limits so that rentals aren’t too close to each other.
You can see the full proposal here.
Mechanic says the recommendations don’t address STVR business owners’ interests, and argues a true working group would have seats at the table for everyone.
A working group spokesperson said the group represents residents and neighborhoods, not commercial entities.
The working group will address its proposal at a public meeting on July 13th.