Scott Sherman (center) with vacation-rental supporters and boxes of petition signatures. Courtesy of Sherman’s office

Short-term rentals backers got another victory Tuesday over the city of San Diego’s ordinance limiting short-term rentals.

In a tweet Tuesday, the City Clerk’s office said backers turned in enough verified signatures to force a referendum. The ordinance, approved Aug. 1, limits short-term rentals to the owners’ primary residence for up to six months each year as long as they apply for a permit and pay an annual fee of $949. Three-night minimums will be required in coastal areas and downtown.

The regulations also prevent both local and out-of-town investors from renting multiple properties other than where they live but allows San Diegans who have an additional unit on the same property as their primary residence to get a license for a second vacation rental.

“When voters have a say, short-term rentals win,” AirBnB, Share San Diego and HomeAway said in joint statement. “Over 62,000 San Diegans — nearly twice the amount needed — signed the petition to stop the de-facto ban on short-term rentals because they agree there is a better solution than the onerous law that was passed.

After the ordinance passed, the three major short-term rental platforms vowed to use the referendum process to overturn the ordinance. They had 21 days to turn in signatures from 5 percent of city voters to qualify.

The City Clerk will now refer the matter back to the San Diego City Council, which can either repeal the ordinance or leave the matter up to the voters.

In July and August, when the City Council was considering the issue, residents both for against short-term rentals have packed the council chamber to voice their concerns.

Some argued that they need the added money from short-term rentals to supplement their income. Others said valuable homes are being gobbled up by investors and pushing out families who would otherwise live there and contribute to the community.

The city has tried for years to come up with some sort of regulation that will satisfy both parties. This was the first ordinance that the majority of city council members agreed on after several failed measures in the past.

Show comments