By Belinda Smith
The City Council will soon be addressing the issue of Short-Term Rentals (STR) in our city, and their decision could have wide-ranging impacts. Short-term rentals bring many benefits to homeowners, residents, and travelers, as well as the economic health of cities in which they are allowed to thrive. We represent a group of City residents who support short-term rentals and believe they should be welcome in the City of San Diego.
Short-term rentals allow for flexibility in travel, increased local spending, and engagement with parts of the City otherwise bypassed by visitors relegated to traditional tourist neighborhoods. Recent studies have shown that visitors who stay in STR accommodations spend more on local businesses and are more likely to return to the market as a result of their experience. These guests distribute the economic benefits of tourism to neighborhoods that would not otherwise receive them, allowing for opportunities of growth and revitalization at a truly local level. More money spent outside of traditional tourist neighborhoods strengthens communities and businesses, a benefit to all residents.
Community members who rent on a short-term basis often rely on it to supplement their income. This supplemental income allows them to meet mortgage obligations, make repairs or upgrades to their homes, help fund retirement, or pay for regular household expenses. According to a report by the National Economic Council, the average additional income earned by homesharing hosts represents a 14% annual raise for middle class families. The financial security this provides to homeowners plays an important role in neighborhood resilience.
Tourism has been identified by the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation as one of our three pillars of economic development in the region. Cities around the world are embracing innovative new marketplaces in the vacation industry space, crafting responsible ordinances that benefit both SRT hosts and their neighborhoods. We believe San Diego, given its status as an innovation hub, should do the same.
In that effort, we propose the following:
· Support defining STRs as a limited use in the Municipal Code and treating whole home rentals the same as partial home rentals to help address the confusion that exists today
· Greater enforcement of noise and nuisance laws with real teeth and meaningful penalties to give neighbors peace of mind
· Registering all STRs with the City so information can be managed and owners contacted
· Collection and remittance of all TOT and related taxes to the City of San Diego
· Allowing hosts and guests to determine the length of a stay
· Conforming with standard occupancy limits of 2+2 (two guests per bedroom, plus two in the home)
· Support a property owner’s right to determine how often to rent, but also require responsible renting to make sure neighborhood quality of life expectations are maintained
The City of San Diego has an opportunity to set an example of how a balanced ordinance can add economic growth while supporting happy, healthy neighborhoods. Together, we can responsibly share San Diego, as homeowners, neighbors, and guests.
Co-founder, Short Term Rental Alliance of San Diego