San Diego

Downtown Resident Concerned About AirBnB Listings in Building

Some Downtown San Diego residents are worried their apartment buildings are becoming more like hotels because of short-term vacation rental sites like Airbnb. 

"As a long term resident, I resent my home being turned into a hotel," said Edward, who has lived in the same Downtown apartment building for almost 18 years. 

In the past year, he said, he has noticed an influx of visitors in his building. 

Edward spent 33 years in law enforcement, and has dedicated the last six months to catching multiple individuals renting apartments in his building for the sole purpose of turning them into short-term rentals. 

That's a problem, he said. 

"It gives a false impression of the occupancy rates of these apartments buildings," Edward said. "When you have an occupancy of 98 to 100 percent, then obviously the landlords are justified in rent raises."

A spokeswoman from Airbnb said in a statement that situations like these underscore the importance of City Council adopting a set of regulations specifically for short-term rentals. 

"Under proposed regulations we support, every unit would be required to gain a permit from the city that lists a local contact for problems or concerns. We continue to work with our councilmembers on solutions that allow San Diegans to continue using Airbnb to make ends meet while also supporting the enviable quality of life in our communities," the statement read.

One listing in Edward's building, by a person named TJ, is offering a rental on a short-term vacation rental site. 

Edward said situations like these point to a lack of care for the building and its residents. 

"They don't live in the buildings. They've never lived in the buildings. They don't care about the people that do live in the buildings," he said. "All they're caring about is making money."

Stephen Russell with the3 San Diego Housing Federation put the complaint in context. 

"When we talk about a balanced market at 5 percent vacancy, that's the point at which tenants and landlords have relatively equivalent bargaining power," he explained.

However, when that dips below five percent, it becomes a landlord's market.

Right now, Russell said, San Diego is operating at about two to three percent vacancy.

Many times, short-term rentals violate rental agreements. 

Airbnb is not the only home share Edward has seen postings on, but they do happen on Airbnb the most.

NBC 7 spoke with a representative from the company earlier Thursday, and they say the use of aliases, something Edward has seen frequently, are against policy.

Edward says he is working with his landlord to help track violators down. 

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