California Coastal Commission approves San Diego cap on short-term rentals – with key provision

The California Coastal Commission approved San Diego’s cap on short-term rentals on March 9 after commissioners added a key provision requiring the city to review new regulations in seven years to assess their effects.

“For a city that hosts 35 million tourists, I really feel like you’ve done it right, trying to balance all interests and understanding that it’s going to be…a work in progress,” she said. President of the Coastal Commission, Donne Brownsey, just before. the panel approved the changes in a 12-0 vote.

Ahead of the meeting, commission staff recommended the review because the overhaul of short-term rental rules posed a “risk of significant adverse impacts on shoreline access” and so it would be prudent to reassess the changes afterwards. seven years.

Commission staff’s Alex Llerandi said the agency typically considers a five-year timeline, but given the complicated nature of the issue and the sheer volume of vacation rentals in the San Diego area, a period longer seemed appropriate.

“San Diego is the largest jurisdiction in the coastal zone; it has thousands of units and this is a great inaugural attempt to regulate it,” Llerandi said. “So we knew it would take all parties – the commission, the city, the operators, the visitors – to learn and assimilate the law, adapt the market to it, let it affect both the STR (short-term rental term) and the hospitality industry.”

The city council approved the ordinance last year and the new rules could come into effect as early as this fall. The Coastal Commission’s action will now go to council for approval.

Under the new framework, whole-home rentals will be capped at 1% of the city’s more than 540,000 homes, or about 5,400.

However, a more generous exclusion was made for Mission Beach, one of the most popular areas for vacation rentals. There, the ceiling will be set at 30%, or approximately 1,100 units.

In total, about 6,500 licenses will be available in the city, which would represent a 47% reduction from the current estimate of 12,300 vacation rentals, according to the Coastal Commission.

The new regulations only allow one permit for people renting out their entire residence for more than 20 days a year. An unlimited number of licenses will be authorized for vacation rentals of less than 20 days per year or for shared accommodations in which a host rents a room or two.

Two-year licenses will be awarded through a lottery system, with priority given to rental operators with longer terms who have no record of code violations in their units in the past two years.

The order is part of a long-running debate over short-term rentals in San Diego, trying to balance the interests of landlords who earn income by renting out their homes and local residents who complain that an excessive number short-term rentals undermines the community feel of their neighborhoods and depletes the number of year-round housing units.

Coastal Commissioners spent nearly an hour hearing from 24 residents who called during the public comment period.

Pedro Tavares of the San Diego Short Term Rental Alliance supported the commission’s proposal for a seven-year review, calling it “a real compromise.” While he has questions about the licensing lottery, “this order will provide a way forward for short-term rentals to work in San Diego in harmony with neighbors.”

Marta Knapp, who grew up in Mission Beach and rents property there, said “many families who stay with me could never afford to live at the beach. Short-term rentals allow more people access to the shore for a price within their budget. They allow cheaper housing for large families.

But Gretchen Newsom, a single mother with one son, said she was recently told the cottage she rents in Ocean Beach was about to sell and she had 60 days to find a new home. . “But the sad reality is that the housing stock in Ocean Beach has been decimated by short-term vacation rentals,” she said. “Over the years I have seen properties in our block being bought up by investors and turned into short term vacation rentals.”

According to a recent city survey, approximately 39% of short-term rentals in San Diego were in the coastal area. Of these, 94% were whole-home rentals accommodating an average of 5.8 tenants. The average rate per night was $306. ◆

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