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
- On August 1, San Diego City Council voted 6-2 in favor of regulations on who can operate a short-term rental within city limits.
- Allowed: One license for a resident's primary residence and one additional license for a dwelling unit on the same parcel.
Vacation rental advocates have started a petition drive to overturn the San Diego City Council’s recent decision to regulate rental units.
The council must find a better way to regulate vacation rentals, rather than an “outright ban,” a spokesperson for Airbnb said.
The referendum will not make this year’s November ballot. However, they will be targeting the 2020 ballot.
“The goal of this referendum is to remove the ban and to start from the beginning either by crafting a new, fair, balanced ordinance or possibly taking this to the ballot,” said Jonah Mechanic, founder of Share San Diego.
The coalition is made up of representatives of Airbnb, Home Share, and Share San Diego.
A spokesperson for HomeAway called the process "broken" and the policy "deeply flawed."
"This effective ban will not only impact thousands of local homeowners and small businesses, but the entire San Diego economy that has benefited from the $482 million in economic activity generated by local short-term rentals," said Philip Minardi, Director of Policy Communications for HomeAway.
"Neighborhoods are for neighbors not for out of town investors," said Councilmember Lorie Zapf, one of the two city leaders who proposed the regulations that were approved last week. "I will continue my efforts to ensure the needs of my constituents are protected against out of control short-term vacation rentals."
Under the plan, proposed by Mayor Kevin Faulconer and amended with proposals by Council members Barbara Bry and Zapf, residents may be 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.
This would end the practice of out-of-town property owners using the short-term rental industry to profit from homes in San Diego.
The approved regulations require 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.
“An overwhelming majority of the elected leaders on the San Diego City Council delivered a clear mandate declaring stricter guidelines for Short Term Vacation Rentals. Neighborhoods are for neighbors not for out of town investors. I will continue my efforts to ensure the needs of my constituents are protected against out of control short-term vacation rentals,” said council member Lorie Zapf.
Anyone who operates a short-term rental must pay local tourism taxes and charge a nightly fee of $2.76 that would go towards affordable housing, under the proposal.
Current short-term landlords will not be grandfathered in nor compensated for income lost due to the changes.
The formal referendum petition says its intent is aimed at “protecting private property rights and San Diegans’ ability to stay in their communities.”
Backers of the referendum will need to collect almost 36,000 valid signatures in 30 days. If it happens, the council would be required to change it’s decision or put the issue on the ballot.
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