City Council amends mayor’s short-term rental plan

SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego City Council Monday voted Monday to amend Mayor Kevin Faulconer's proposed regulations for short-term rentals through platforms like Airbnb and VRBO.

Short-term vacation rentals have vexed residents and city officials alike for several years. Before Monday, the City Council had been unable to pass a regulatory framework for home-sharing.

The regulations under consideration Monday, introduced in June by Faulconer's office, included mandatory licensing, a "good neighbor" policy and fees to fund code compliance and affordable housing projects.

The council adopted rules to create the city's first license-based system to manage short-term rentals, charge cost-recoverable fees to administer licenses and enforce code violations, establish a "good neighbor" policy, hire staff to respond to complaints about nuisance properties and implement a per-night fee that would generate funding for affordable housing projects.

In its final vote, the council amended Faulconer's proposal to only allow a host to be issued a short-term residential occupancy license for the host's primary residence and one additional license for a dwelling unit on the same parcel as the host's primary residence. Faulconer's proposal had included allowing for a maximum of two licenses to be issued to a host, including one for their primary residence and a second license for a secondary residence.

The council also removed an exception for Mission Beach, making it so the same rules exist across the city. Faulconer's proposal had included no license limits in Mission Beach given short-term rentals already being part of that community's history and character.

“I introduced my compromise proposal to help the City Council find enough common ground so they could pass comprehensive short-term rental laws, and with the additional amendments made today we’ve finally achieved that goal,” Faulconer said in a statement. “As I’ve said repeatedly, the most important thing is that we have an established set of rules that protects neighborhood quality of life through increased oversight and enforcement. True compromise means everyone gives a little in order to reach a common objective, and we can all agree that it is time for San Diego to move forward on this issue. I appreciate all of the input we have received from the public and stakeholders, and I want to thank the City Council for working collaboratively with my office to get this across the finish line."

“I wasn’t elected to serve the interests of out-of-town investors, I was elected to serve the needs of my constituents, so I am pleased to support the Mayor's proposal with the  Bry-Zapf amendments," Councilmember Lorie Zapf said in a statement. "This makes the most sense for our communities. This is not the perfect solution, but I have been working on this for the last four years and the City Council must provide some relief for the residents in my district. This final plan will fund enforcement to penalize bad actors so we can preserve the quality of life in our neighborhoods."

The regulations will go into effect next July.