Mission Beach
A Tier 4 STRO license is for Mission Beach, which has long been a neighborhood of short-term rentals. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The deadline for applying for a license to offer whole-home vacation rentals in San Diego under the new Short-Term Residential Occupancy ordinance is Nov. 30.

The city’s STRO law, approved by the City Council in April, limits whole-home rentals for more than 20 days per year to 1% of the housing stock except in Mission Beach.

Councilmember Jen Campbell, who led efforts to craft the ordinance, called it a compromise between property owners and corporate rental services such as VRBO and Airbnb. The new law ended years of wrangling over rental rules.

The Nov. 30 deadline applies to what the city classifies as Tier 3 and Tier 4 licenses covering whole-home rentals for over 20 days per year. Licenses for less frequent rentals and home shares in Tier 1 and Tier 2 can be sought at any time.

A short-term rental is defined as less than one month. Anything longer is a traditional rental and is not covered by the ordinance. The four STRO tiers are:

  • Tier 1 — Part-Time –Renting a home or room for 20 days or less per year with no limit on the number of licenses.
  • Tier 2 — Home Sharing — Renting a room in a home for more than 20 days per year with the owner or permanent resident on site. There is no limit on the number of licenses.
  • Tier 3 — Whole-Home Rental — Rentals for more than 20 days per year, with total licenses limited to 1% of the city’s housing stock.
  • Tier 4 — Whole Home Rental in Mission Beach — Rentals for more than 20 days per year, with total licenses limited to 30% of the neighborhood’s housing stock.

If the total number of applications received for Tier 3 and Tier 4 exceed the limits, the city will hold a lottery.

The rules become complex for duplexes, triplexes and homes with accessory dwelling units, so the city has created a YouTube video to explain as well as a second video covering basic STRO concepts.

The city reminded hosts that they must have an active Transient Occupancy Tax registration before applying for a STRO license.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.