San Diego City Council Repeals Vacation Rental Ordinance

San Diego, CALIF.- The San Diego City Council voted 8-1 this week to repeal an ordinance that placed regulations on short-term renters using platforms like Airbnb and HomeAway. District Two Councilmember Lorie Zapf was the lone, dissenting vote.

The City Council originally passed the ordinance, 6-3, in July. Those regulations were set to go into effect July 2019.

Short-term rental operators would have been limited to renting primary residences a maximum of 180 days per year and would have had to pay transient occupancy taxes (TOT) to fund the construction of affordable housing projects.

The ordinance also mandated that vacationers stay in short-term rentals for a minimum of three days in coastal areas of the county and downtown San Diego.

City Council members have said they plan to craft a new ordinance for short-term rental owners and companies, but no timetable for that has been agreed upon.

Homeowners who list their houses for rent using short-term rental platforms considered the regulations a de facto ban despite the ability to rent for up to 180 days per year. Short-term renters also argued that they properly vet each person or group of people staying in their rental properties.

District 1 City Councilwoman Barbara Bry called it “a sad day for our city,” supporting the repeal only because not doing so would tie the city up in two years of litigation until the next election, she said. Bry also chastised Airbnb, which faced accusations of funding signature gatherers who allegedly used manipulative tactics to fill out petitions.

“I’m disappointed that a corporation reportedly valued at $31 billion descended upon our city with its unlimited millions of dollars and used deceptive tactics to force us to where we are today,” Bry said. “If this goes to the ballot, this large corporation would largely spend millions of dollars.”