San Diego’s City Council spent much of 2018 arguing over proposed vacation rental regulations. In July, the City Council passed two ordinances imposing strict limits on “short term residential occupancy” (STRO). Opponents of the ordinances circulated a petition that received enough signatures to put the matter before voters. The City Council repealed the ordinances in October. Arguments for and against the ordinances brought up the interests of homeowners who live among STRO properties, homeowners who use their homes as STROs for income, investors who own STRO properties but do not live in them, and lodging businesses (hotels and motels) that view STROs as competition. Even though the ordinances have been repealed, the issue is currently under debate in Los Angeles, and is likely to come up again in San Diego. California real estate investors should be aware of new developments.
Short-Term Rental, Defined
The city defines STRO as occupancy of a residential-zoned property for less than one month. The ordinances made a distinction between short-term rental of a property by an homeowner who also lives at the property, known as “home sharing,” and “whole home STRO,” in which the owner makes the entire property available for rent and does not reside there. It specifically targeted whole home STRO, declaring it to have the “most negative impacts to neighborhood communities.”
The City Council adopted two ordinances in mid-July, and formalized them on August 2. The first ordinance, O-20977, addressed enforcement STRO restrictions. The second ordinance, O-20978, established the actual restrictions.