In July, City Council nixed Faulconer’s less-stringent short-term vacation rental proposal, voting 6-3 instead for tougher rules allowing primary-residence-only rentals with a six-month maximum.
The Council denied both Faulconer’s “plus one” provision allowing people to rent out their own residence, and one additional place, as well as the mayor’s proposed “carve out” exemption for Mission Beach.
Mission Beach has the highest number of short-term rentals – more than 40 percent – along the coast. Existing Mission Beach rentals will also not be grandfathered into the new ordinance.
Mission Beach vacation-rental owner Blaine Smith, founder of Save Mission Beach (savemb.org), is lobbying against the City’s new rental ordinance, claiming it is unduly harsh and would be disastrous for rental owners.
“The new ordinance will put more than 95 percent of rental owners in Mission Beach out of business, and 80 percent of operators citywide,” Smith said. “It will be hard for the industry to survive with regulations that wipe out such a huge chunk of it.”
Smith noted there was a good reason for Faulconer’s proposed “carve out” exemption for Mission Beach, which didn’t make it into the new ordinance.
“No community in San Diego will be impacted by this ban more than Mission Beach, Smith said. “Mission Beach has always welcomed visitors and has always been a vacation destination and has the highest ratio of short-term vacation rentals in the city – 44 precent. The effects would devastate our community, which has always been supported by visitors and short-term vacation rental accommodations.”
Of the new short-term rental ordinance, Smith said: “This is not a workable compromise. It’s a de facto ban.”
Jonah Mechanic, a spokesperson for Share San Diego, a local coalition of short-term rental operators, said the new ordinance will be overly impactful to the San Diego tourism industry and small-business owners who “just want to protect their property rights and don’t like big government coming in and telling them what they can, and cannot, do with their property.”
Mechanic argued the City’s new rental ordinance is flawed.
“It doesn’t define what primary residence actually means,” he said. “Primary only sounds good, but it will eliminate 95 percent of rental owners who’ve invested in places like Mission Beach.”
Mechanic contends the new ordinance was also passed without sufficient research data, such as how many hotel rooms are in the area, their occupancy and/or affordability rates. “They blindly approved a ban without even realizing what the [ordinance] means,” he said.
Mechanic also claims the City’s sixth-month qualification in its new rental ordinance is discriminatory. “If you’re a rental owner and you live in a house less than six months – you can’t rent,” he said. “But if you live in one for six months and a day – you can rent it out for the other six months. That’s absurd.”
Smith’s website says there are approximately 1,560 short-term rentals in Mission Beach, claiming 98 percent of those include the entire home.
“More than 95 percent would be illegal under the new ordinance, devastating local businesses, depleting money critical to San Diego’s budget and punishing responsible property owners,” savemb.org claims.