San Diego city officials consider regulations for short-term vacation rentals

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — The City of San Diego may be moving closer to regulating Airbnb and other short term vacation rentals.

Next Wednesday, council member Barbara Bry will  hold a town hall meeting to discuss a draft ordinance that proposes new rules for short term stays of 30 days or less.

Bry’s proposal would allow a property owner to rent out a room or house if it is a  primary residence and only for a limited time;  no more than 90 days a year.

Little Italy resident Cliff Gonshery said short term rentals have changed the character of his rental building. “Well, it makes it feel like a hotel, not an apartment. It doesn’t create a community feel if you’re living here.” Gonshery said. 

He pointed to close to a  dozen lock boxes affixed to a back entrance, indicating the tenants who are renting out their units on Airbnb and other websites for short terms stays.

Gonshery said the vacation rentals also reduce the number of units on the rental market and drive up prices for people like himself who want a year-round home in San Diego.  

There are fewer units available now in neighborhoods like downtown and Little Italy, he observed, “because people who have them or are leasing them are renting them out on Airbnb.”

Council member Bry says she is not opposed to the sharing economy.

“I’m fine with homeowners renting out their own homes up to 90 days per year when they go on vacation or Comic-Con comes along. What I’m against is investors buying homes in single family neighborhoods and turning them into de facto mini-hotels,” she said.

Other council members have said they don’t want to enact more regulations.  

If short term rental properties become noisy neighborhood nuisances, council member Scott Sherman suggested, “Let’s put a fine system in place that after two or three of those incidents, the fine is so high that the financial incentive to run that type of operation just disappeared.”

In a March 15, 2017 memo, City Attorney Mara Elliot issued an opinion, that maintained short-term rentals are illegal under the current city zoning laws. According to Bry, the city is waiting for more regulatory guidance from San Diego’s city council before deciding what action it will take to enforce the city attorney’s memo.

A draft ordinance of the proposed regulations will be discussed in a public town hall meeting next Wednesday from 6-7:30 p.m. at the La Jolla Community Center.

Categories: Local San Diego News