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Mayor Faulconer Proposes Vacation Rental Rules

A hand holds up a sign reading "Neighborhoods are for neighbors, not vacation rentals" at a San Diego City Council meeting, Nov. 1, 2016.
Matthew Bowler
A hand holds up a sign reading "Neighborhoods are for neighbors, not vacation rentals" at a San Diego City Council meeting, Nov. 1, 2016.
Mayor Faulconer Proposes Vacation Rental Rules
Mayor Faulconer Proposes Vacation Rental Rules GUEST: Andrew Bowen, metro reporter, KPBS

>>More and more San Diego's are finding that renting parts or all of their properties to vacation renters is lucrative and accrued way that Skokie way to survive in this housing market. Years have been spent trying to figure out how to regulate these rentals. Today Mayor Faulkner is introducing his measure. KPBS measure reporter Andrew Bowen was at the news report this morning. Currently the San Diego city Attorney says that short-term vacation rentals are illegal under the citys Municipal Court Road -- code that is not being honored. >> I think what ever existing roles that might apply to short-term rentals are being self enforced right now. There are platforms that keep some sort of rules like air B&B and the RPO might be trying to police some of their hosts. To an extent, there is a lot of uncertainty around the legality right now. It has certainly led to a big explosion, not just in San Diego they are growing all over the country and the world especially the coastal communities. >>> So the mayor's plan only affects residents of the city of San Diego not people who live in the other 17 cities or County. Workers to the points. >> The mayor's proposal differentiates beef tween home sharing and home renting. Home sharing is when you're renting out a spare bedroom. Whole home rental is when the owner is not on-site in the guest are renting out the entire dwelling unit. Home sharing will be a lot easier than home rental. The whole home rental will require a license with an annual fee of more than $900. That will support enforcement networks, registry, administration of licenses, code compliance officers and police officers. >>> They will be different for coastal communities. How and why? >> Coastal communities will have a three night minimum stay. You cannot have a short we can stay of only Friday and Saturday night. That applies to downtown also. In Mission Beach, there is no limit on the number of licenses that any one person can hold. In most of the city, one person has to have a license for their primary residence where they actually live. They can only have one other one for the additional home they might own. In Mission Beach, the limit of two licenses that not apply. That is a big deal because a lot of the beach communities were the most resistant to legalization of short-term vacation rentals. I expect that will be a big sticking point for a lot of beach communities and the councilmembers who represent those communities. >>> How will all of this be enforced. Some groups say shorter vacation rentals lead to noise, trash, parking problems in the neighborhoods. >> The fees will pay that scope pay for the enforcement framework. They will hire 16 employees including people in the city's attorney's office, police and code compliance officers, they would have an enforcement team that would work on the evenings and weekends. The mayor says those of the hot times of the most complaints. There would be a three strikes rule for violations of noise, nuisance activities. The first would be a warning. Second a citation and possibly a fine. The third violation within a 12 month period could mean the person loses their license. >>> People worry that vacation rentals contribute to the housing shortage. How does the mayor's plan addressing the potential impact of housing stock . >> the argument is with more homes being rented out exclusively to short-term visitors, there are fewer houses on the market and that contributes to the supply shortage that we have in San Diego. One could argue that these restrictions by creating a framework and limit of two licenses per person could limit to an extent the proliferation of short-term rentals in San Diego. I think that the strong opponents would argue that this is not strict enough. This is also noteworthy that the mayor's framework includes a $2.76 in fee per night in any short-term rental unit in the city that would fund affordable housing. The city estimates that that would generate about $3 million a year that will go into the housing commission's budget and they would distribute that to the various programs to support affordable but -- housing. >>> The last time the government took on shorter vacation rentals, they had a 10 hour meeting and Councilman Reynolds is the only one who oppose this. Do you know what he thinks ? >> I have not had a chance to reach out to's office yet. He is a wildcard. Last December we had four councilmembers supporting a restrictive approach for supporting more permissive approach. Alvarez initially supported the permissive approach and changed his mind during the meeting and ended up not supporting either. He will be one to watch. Also we should be watching counsel members Barbara Bree and Lori's app who represent coastal communities who are generally more favorable to restrictive approaches to short-term rentals. >>> When will this be taken up again ? >> the meeting is July 16. The regulations will not go into effect until January 2020. That gives the city time to set up the registry and the framework. If they are approved. >>> That is metro reporter Andrew Bowen.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer proposed short-term rental regulations Thursday that include mandatory licensing, a "good neighbor" policy and fees to fund code compliance and affordable housing projects.

Short-term vacation rentals, offered through platforms such as Airbnb and VRBO, have vexed residents and city officials alike for several years. So far, the City Council has been unable to pass a regulatory framework for home-sharing.


Rental properties provide owners a revenue stream in high-cost cities and they give visitors an alternative to expensive coastal hotels. However, neighbors have complained in recent years that short-term rentals can alter a neighborhood's character with over-crowding and disruptive guests.

Under Faulconer's proposal, all people who rent thier properties would be required to register with the city, and those with dwellings of five or more bedrooms would need to acquire a neighborhood use permit. There would be a two-license maximum per host: one for a primary residence and another for a secondary home.

There would be no license limits in Mission Beach, however. Faulconer said short-term rentals are already part of that community's history and character.

RELATED: Effort To Pass Vacation Rental Regulations In San Diego Continues

City Councilwoman Lorie Zapf, whose district includes Mission Beach, said in a statement that she would not support the mayor's plan.


"I appreciate the mayor bringing forward a policy that addresses the issue of short term vacation rentals," Zapf said. "In its current form, it does not go far enough to give my support, however, I am looking for additional opportunities to support impacted communities, especially the beach communities who are more adversely affected by (short-term vacation rentals)."

Zapf's statement added that she was seeking to extend the two-license cap to Mission Beach, and that Faulconer was "amenable to discussing that element further."

Under the mayor's plan, hosts would be required to continue paying transient occupancy taxes, and they would pay an additional $2.76 per rental night, which would generate roughly $3 million annually to be spent solely on affordable housing projects.

Those who offer whole-home rentals when the owner isn't present would also pay a $947 annual fee.

Owners would have to provide guests with a list of rules to ensure good behavior. The policy would be enforced by 16 new staff members across the Code Enforcement Division, Treasurer's Office, City Attorney's Office and San Diego Police Department.

Signs with owner contact information would be posted outside of each rental property in case of a complaint; the contact would be required to respond to an incident within one hour.

RELATED: Council Candidates Talk Vacation Rentals, Homelessness In District 2 Race

The City Council is expected to vote on the proposal July 16. After several failed starts by city officials, Faulconer said his proposal strikes a balance for stakeholders.

"The home-sharing economy and protecting our neighborhoods' quality of life — that can co-exist," he said. "This is all about a compromise to get clear rules of the road to move this issue forward. And this is the fair plan our neighborhoods deserve."

Under the proposal, rental platforms would be required to ensure hosts are registered with the city. They would also gather TOT and affordable housing fees at the same time rent is collected.

If approved, licensing would begin October 2019, in order to provide time to hire staff and set up systems. Full compliance would be required by January 2020.

A complaint hotline or mobile application would be created to report violations, which would be addressed by compliance and police officers working nights and weekends.

Officers would issue warnings and citations from $500 to $1,000, or more for "repeated, egregious violations."

License and fees would be expected to cover the cost of new compliance personnel.

Mayor Faulconer Proposes Vacation Rental Rules
Mayor Faulconer Proposes Vacation Rental Rules
The mayor’s plan would allow homeowners to rent their home for up to 6 months and a second property year round. The city council will take up the proposal July 16.