Short Term Rental Issue

B-Daddy B-Daddy 5 Comments

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There is a petition on change.org asking the mayor and the City Council to ban short-term rentals in the city of San Diego. I’m not going to link to the petition because I don’t want you to sign it. A total ban would be ridiculous and an invitation for people to just flaunt the law. However, there are some issues that ought to be dealt with regarding short-term rentals.  Some negative comments about short term rentals from my neighbors on Next Door.

  • The vacation rental on our street is basically a hotel. New people, often for only two or three days. Lots of parties lots of noise. Sometimes they book it for a wedding.if it was the neighbor getting married, nobody would object to them having a wedding at their house.
  • It makes me upset and ruins my quality of life by having a “hotel” on my street in my quiet residential neighborhood. It is not safe for my child and threatens my well being. Especially when I am verbally assaulted by a transient occupant who thinks it’s ok to party until 2:30 in the morning.
  • I know that some vacation rental owners do NOT pay TOT [10% tax levied only on short-term rentals], which one must remit voluntarily. Most of these owners do tend to rent for longer terms [& thus do not have to pay TOT], but 2- & 3-week rentals are common, as in the beach areas, so those who do not pay TOT on their short-term rentals are cheating the city.
  • As long as the city is receiving TOT from a vacation rental, there is no reason for them to care if it is a full time mini hotel or not. Houses in residential neighborhoods should not be turned into full time mini hotels, that is why we have hotels in the first place.

Other cities have taken some steps to regulate short-term rentals.  Portland’s approach, however, seems a little heavy handed.

Portland will start issuing permits for its first legal short-term rental operations in private homes as soon as September.
The Portland City Council on Wednesday gave its OK for Portlanders to rent out one or two bedrooms in their home over-the-counter, $180 permit after an inspection and notifying neighbors.

$180 permit? Why?  This will only encourage people to evade the system and reduce the extra tax revenue that Portland could receive.  Further, there is no need for an inspection. This market is very much self regulating, with renters providing feedback on the quality of their stay.

A better approach for San Diego would be very light touch regulation. Owners who want to do a short-term rental, should pay a very low fee, maybe $10, so that the city is aware of their activity. They should also pay the same transient occupancy tax (TOT) that hotels do. If owners don’t control their rental properties their permits could be revoked.

Exit question: If I rent out my home on airbnb.com do I get to vote on the use of the TMD tax? Would I have standing to sue that it violates Prop 26?

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  2. Airbnb is essentially the Uber and Lyft of vacation rentals. I use it all the time, and I’m a respectful guest. I don’t want to see my costs increase because people are pushing regulations over noise. Talk it out with the owner, report them to Airbnb or VRBO, find other ways to handle it besides more taxes and bigger government. These companies are subject to market forces, government isn’t. Once you invite the government in, it’s never going away.

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    Brian, These comments are not my own, but taken from a discussion thread on Next Door. Since the petition is out there, I am weighing in on the inevitable debate.

    Zack, I agree with you, but the issue is that we don’t have a level playing field. Some services like hotels and taxis are subject to regulation others, like airbnb and Uber are not. I argue for lighter but even-handed regulation.

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