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Posted by on in Corporate and Business Law
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You may have heard that San Diego’s City Council recently voted to establish new regulations regarding short-term rentals. I wanted to take this opportunity to explain these regulations and how they may impact your ability to rent your San Diego properties on platforms like AirBNB, VRBO, etc. 


Originally, Mayor Faulconer had proposed that the new regulations not be effective until January 1, 2020. Ultimately, the City Council decided to move that date up. Unless the rules are overturned or rendered unenforceable, the rules will be effective on July 1, 2019. 


These regulations create a restrictive license-based system. Now, on top of the requirements that were already in place, you will be required to obtain a Short-Term Residential Occupancy License for each whole home rental. Unfortunately, the licenses will be restricted to a property owner’s primary residence. The regulations do allow for one additional license for a dwelling unit on the same parcel as the owner’s primary residence. 


These new rules apply to all short-term or transient occupancies of a whole home. According to San Diego Municipal Code, transient occupancy includes any rental period of less than one month. Rental units that are rented for terms longer than one month will not be impacted by these regulations. Also, you will still be able to rent a room in your primary residence without a license as long as you remain in the home during the rental period. 


You may have also heard that certain areas, such as Pacific Beach or other coastal neighborhoods would be exempted from these regulations. While exemptions were proposed by Mayor Faulconer, the final regulations removed all exceptions. These regulations are set to apply to all short-term rentals in San Diego. 


There is some hope for owners of properties in the downtown and coastal areas. In order for these regulations to apply to these properties, they must be approved by the California Coastal Commission (“CCC”). Traditionally, the CCC has favored vacation rentals as affordable alternatives to hotels in coastal communities. Therefore, the regulations may not be enforceable in these areas.


Not surprisingly, Airbnb and HomeAway have launched a referendum effort to overturn the regulations. These petitions ask the City Council to overturn the regulations or put the matter before the voters. It is too early to determine if the petitions will garner support.


If you have questions or would like to discuss options regarding your existing short-term rentals, please give us a call at (619) 696-0520.




The materials available at this web site are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this Web site or any of the e-mail links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between Preovolos Lewin & Hezlep, ALC and the user or browser. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.

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Carl L. Jones is a San Diego-based attorney specializing in Probate, Trust Administration, Contested Trust Matters, Estate Planning, Guardianships, Conservatorships, Business Formation, and Tax Controversies.


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Guest Wednesday, 18 September 2019