After more than ten hours, which included listening to over 250 comments from the public, in addition to amendments flying back and forth between motions, the San Diego City Council adjourned without a decision on how the city will regulate short-term vacation rentals.
The San Diego City Council held a special meeting today to consider two proposed ordinances that address the permitting and regulation of short-term rentals. After years of avoiding a decision, proponents for both sides of the issue packed Golden Hall in Downtown San Diego to show their support.
The first proposal was submitted by councilwoman Barbara Bry. This was the more restrictive ordinance and proposes to limit permits to only one per primary residence and rental maximum of 90 days per year.
The second proposal was written by councilmen Chris Ward, Mark Kersey, Scott Sherman and David Alvarez. The proposal allows both whole home rentals, in which the owner is not on site and home-sharing, in which an owner makes a room or other space available within their primary residence. The permit does not cap the number of nights that can be rented per year but does require a three-night minimum stay. Individual homeowners would be limited to a maximum of three permits. Permit applicants would also be required to have owned the property for at least one year if they do not live in the home full time, and pay a per-night fee to fund affordable housing. There would also be new fees required for the short-term rental permits, which will fund more police and code enforcement officers.
Items council members could not agreement on included the definition of primary residence, how to enforce new regulations and how and if there should be limits on homeowners with multiple short-term rental properties.
To provide perspective on the scope of the short-term rental industry in San Diego, Host Compliance, a San Francisco-based company that provides short-term rental data and analytics to local governments reported there were approximately 11,347 short-term vacation rental units in the city. Of those, 8,855 are whole-home rentals and only 1,948 (22 percent) were rented for more than 90 days of the year. Beyond that, 5,047 (57 percent) of whole-home properties are rented out for fewer than 31 days a year.
The whole-home rentals, most of which are located within 10 specific communities across the city, make up the equivalent of less than two percent of the city’s total housing inventory, per the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest five-year housing estimates.
It is unknown at this time when the city council will revisit this issue.