San Diego

San Diego City Council Approves Short-Term Rental Regulations, Capping Number of Units

Licenses will be issued by the end of the year, with the new regulations implemented by next spring

NBC Universal, Inc.

After a years-long battle, the San Diego City Council Tuesday voted to approve a plan to cap the number of short-term vacation rentals across the city.

As part of the proposal, a lottery system will be used to determine which homeowners will be given two-year licenses to rent out their entire homes to vacationers. The regulations are expected to cut the number of short-term rentals in the city by 48%.

Tuesday's vote on the new regulations was unanimous, with Council member Monica Montgomery Steppe absent for the vote. Licenses will be issued by the end of they year, with the new regulations implemented by next spring.

The California Coastal Commission voted unanimously earlier this year on the proposal, which will allow homeowners to rent their homes for more than 20 days a year if selected via lottery. Priority will be given to hosts in good standing who haven’t received many complaints about noise or other issues.

Before the vote on Tuesday afternoon, an official with the San Diego Short Term Rental Alliance sent NBC 7 the following statement:

The San Diego Short Term Rental Alliance (SDSTRA) is pleased to see sensible aspects towards regulations being put in place. We believe this permit and the fee collection and enforcement mechanisms behind it are good things that will foster harmony between short term rentals and the communities in which we co-exist. For years responsible hosts in San Diego have advocated for the city to clamp down on irresponsible actors who would tarnish our reputation and stain the time honored, long-standing tradition of short term rentals in San Diego. However, we as the hosting community of San Diego, refuse to shoulder the blame for the city's affordable housing crisis - a crisis that has been declared by the city council since 2002, long before the proliferation of web based platforms. This city's housing crisis is solely a matter of burdensome costs, regulation, and opposition towards building more housing and increasing density.  Prohibiting 5,000 or so short term units that the city estimates from operating will not make any significant impact on the affordability of housing in our great city. It will however make it more difficult for families and friends to travel together to San Diego and we are very concerned on the impact this lottery will have on our members, our cherished guests, and the San Diego short term rental community at large and will be watching its implementation closely.

There will be no limit on the number of licenses given out to anyone who wants to rent out their whole home for less than 20 days per year or to anyone who wants to rent out just part of their home.

Council member Jen Campbell, who wrote the new rules, is pushing for 16-new employees to be included in next year’s budget. They would oversee the regulations.

Campbell released a statement after Tuesday's vote that said, in part, “With today’s vote approving San Diego’s first-ever short-term rental rules, we’ve turned the corner on one of San Diego’s thorniest challenges. San Diegans have been asking for common sense and sanity on short-term vacation rentals for years – and now their voices are finally being heard.”

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