San Diego

San Diego City Council Votes to Rescind Short-Term Rental Regulations

What to Know

  • Short-term rentals include a home or portion of a home listed on a home sharing service that hosts someone for less than 30 days.
  • As of December 2017, there were more than 14,000 active listings within the city of San Diego, according to a privately funded study.
  • Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, La Jolla and Downtown have the highest number of active short-term rentals.

San Diego's City Council voted Monday to rescind controversial regulations on short-term rentals that were approved by the same council just three months ago.

The council voted 8-1 with Councilmember Lorie Zapf opposed.

City leaders are hoping to create new regulations for rentals from companies like Airbnb and VRBO that some opponents say cause headaches to neighbors and take away homes that could be used as affordable housing.

Any future ordinance has to be significantly different in order to be considered by the council. 

In Pacific Beach and Mission Bay alone, there are 3,100 short-term vacation homes available for lease.

The regulations being rescinded Monday were proposed by Mayor Kevin Faulconer and amended with proposals by Council members Barbara Bry and Zapf.

Residents would have been issued a license to operate a short-term rental for their primary residence and one additional license for a dwelling unit on the same parcel as the host's primary residence. 

The regulations would end the practice of out-of-town property owners using the short-term rental industry to profit from homes in San Diego. 

Several groups, including Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway and Share San Diego, threatened to sue the city under the Brown Act, claiming it revised its original proposal after hearing public comment. 

They also organized a petition campaign and gathered 62,000 signatures to support a referendum to challenge the regulations. 

Under the ordinance approved in July, the city would create a new team of police and code enforcement officers to work evenings and weekends to address code complaints. The city planned to create a database to track license and registration and launch a new complaint hotline or mobile app for residents to report violations to the city's rules. 

The now-rescinded regulations required operators to register with the city, secure a Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) certificate, obtain a Neighborhood Use Permit for dwellings with four or more bedrooms and comply with a Good Neighbor policy, including posting local contact information on the property being rented.

Anyone who operated a short-term rental would have been required to pay local tourism taxes and charge a nightly fee of $2.76 that would go towards affordable housing, under the proposal. 

The council has failed to adopt short-term rental regulations before.

In December 2017, more than 100 members of the public shared their opinions at a marathon 10-hour meeting.

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