City Council approves new short-term rental regulation

SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego City Council held a second and final reading for new short-term rental regulations during a special meeting Wednesday, ultimately approving the new guidelines with a 6-2 vote.

Before the meeting got started, city attorney Mara Elliott warned of a clerical error in the way the ordinance was printed.

"The agenda description for today is accurate, however, the text that follows the agenda item has some inaccuracy in it," explained Elliott.

That inaccurate text indicated Mission Beach would be excluded from the ordinance, which is not true to the final draft.

By going ahead with the second reading meeting, the city council violated the Brown Act, making it susceptible to legal repercussions down the line.

The second reading was required before the ordinance becomes law. Originally passed July 16, the new regulations limit short-term rentals to primary residences for up to 180 days a year, preventing local and out-of-town investors from renting out multiple properties other than where they live. They also mandate three-night minimum stays in coastal areas and downtown San Diego.

Additionally, regulations impose fees and licensing systems to fund enforcement activities related to short-term rentals and unrelated affordable housing initiatives.

The ordinance will go into effect July 2019.

The council voted 6-3 to approve the rules last month after a six-hour hearing that drew emotional appeals from both sides of the issue, including short-term rental industry advocates and others who believe they diminish neighborhood character and the housing stock for permanent residents.

Short-term rental providers have decried the ordinance as a de facto ban and are expected to represent their positions during the public comment period of Wednesday's council meeting.

Eventual legal challenges to the regulations have also been brought up by rental advocates.