SAN DIEGO — The deadline for whole-home rentals to apply for a license to become compliant with San Diego’s short-term rental ordinance is quickly approaching.

“We’ve always been for sensible, reasonable regulations, we want what everybody else does,” said Greg Ross, owner of Nancy’s Vacation Rentals.

He is gearing up to become compliant with San Diego’s short-term rental ordinance. Ross will now need to post their license on the front window of all the whole home rentals he manages.

“I’m a real estate broker and I really believe in the bundle of rights and personal property rights. I don’t feel that people should be able to tell you can do or not do with a property. And I do feel you have to be a respectful neighbor and a good neighbor to everybody around you,” Ross said.

Starting on May 1, all short-term rental hosts that rent out their entire home will need to pay $1,000 for a two-year license.

“So that’s one thing that could’ve done better in the ordinance, maybe a price per bedroom for the fees for the ordinance for the license and things like that. It’s very inexpensive for a six-bedroom house in La Jolla, but for a studio in Mission Beach is cost prohibited, in some circumstances,” Ross explained.

Hosts will risk a fee for being unlicensed.

“It’s definitely something you want to avoid,” said Jennifer Campbell, San Diego City Councilmember.

Campbell has spearheaded the ordinance after several attempts in past years.

“There are a lot of fines, so you have to comply. Because under the law you must pay your TOT tax, you must have a business tax license,” Campbell said.

The city has issued more than 4,500 licenses for whole-home rentals, but still has a little over 1,900 left, except for Mission Beach which has a separate cap because of its popularity. The city conducted a lottery for rental licenses there, issued the max amount and now there is a waitlist.
Four of Ross’s clients there missed the opportunity.

Licenses are required for home-sharing and only room rentals but at a much lower cost, ranging from $100 to $225. Ross hopes the expanded licensing will lessen years of noise and party complaints.

“For property managers and owners that rent their homes out, I think it will tone it down and help for those people but it goes not just short-term rentals, it’s long-term rentals, it’s full-time residents, it’s across the board when it comes to noise and nuisance,” Ross said.

The short-term rental ordinance has money set aside for enforcement, including the city hiring a consultant that will help identify unlicensed listings for all home-sharing platforms like Airbnb and VRBO.