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Ordinance could slash number of vacation rentals

SAN DIEGO – City leaders will consider a measure Tuesday that could drastically reduce the number of short-term rentals in San Diego.

The ordinance would limit the number of licenses available to short-term rental owners. Opponents say it could slash the number of rentals by as much as half.

“We are exhausted by this fight,” said Pedro Tavares with the Short Term Rental Alliance of San Diego.

This isn’t the first proposed ordinance aimed at reducing Airbnbs and short-term rentals. This time, Tavares thinks the measure could be approved.

“I think city council is also exhausted of this issue,” Tavares said. “I think they are going to pass something in some way, and try to finally bring closure to this issue in San Diego.”

Supporters of the ordinance say there’s a lack of affordable housing in San Diego and limiting short-term rentals will put thousands of homes back on the market for locals.

“Our opponents will talk about this affordable housing issue and then oppose any sort of densification along corridors,” Tavares said. “They opposed the height restriction at the Midway District. So, it’s a little disingenuous in my opinion.”

City Council President Jennifer Campbell voted in favor of the Midway District development project and she supports the proposed ordinance. Critics pointed to her stance on the two issues in a recent effort to recall her.

“We’re going to have a lottery, but all the details of the lottery still have to be worked out once we pass the ordinance,” Campbell said.

She said the new rules would apply to people who rent out their entire homes. Additionally, there will be a hard cap on the number of licenses granted. The number will be 1% of the overall housing availability in San Diego.

Short-term rental supporters say at least half of current owners will be left out.

“Well, I’m sure we’ll have a waiting list with the lottery,” Campbell said. “They seem to see a 10-20% turnover in short term rentals every year. The other thing is those who break the rules, will lose their license.”