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Lottery opens for short-term vacation rental licenses

There will be about 5,400 of these licenses issued city-wide, with about 1,100 set aside specifically for Mission Beach.

SAN DIEGO — The application process for a new city-wide ordinance limiting the number of short-term vacation rentals in San Diego is officially underway.

Owners of short-term rental properties can now apply for a special license, limited in number by a special lottery, to offer vacation stays under a month. 

While this new licensing ordinance does not go into effect until May 2023, it is already the target of legal action.

The application process to the lottery for these coveted short-term vacation rental licenses will remain open until November 30.  

Applicants are limited to only one license each and should learn by December 16 whether or not they they received one.

"This day was a very long time in coming," said council member Jennifer Campbell, who led the move for this ordinance. She said it will not only improve quality-of-life for neighborhoods with short-term rentals, but will also increase the available housing supply for San Diegans by limiting the number of whole-home short-terms rentals available.

"We feel that it will probably put at least 5,000 new living units on the market for the San Diegans who live and work here," Campbell told CBS 8 . 

Owners renting their property out for less than 20 days a year, or renting out a room in their home while still living there themselves, simply need to apply for a license but are not subject to the lottery.

However, those renting out their entire vacation rental home for more than 20 days a year will have to enter the lottery.

There will be about 5,400 of these licenses issued city-wide.

Mission Beach

In Mission Beach, though, where there's a much higher number of short-term vacation rentals, there will be about 1100 licenses available.

Application and licensing fees range from:

  • $100 for those renting out their property under 20 days a year 
  • $1000 for those renting out their entire homes for longer than 20 days

Applicants with a good track record of renting our their property will also have a slight advantage.

"Have you paid your TOT tax? Have you gotten a business license? Have you tried to behave like this is a legitimate business with regulations?" Campbell added. "And those will give you extra little points in the lottery system."

Lawsuit subject of legal action

This new ordinance is also the subject of legal action.  A lawsuit filed last week against the city claims this new ordinance, by limiting the available number of short-term rentals, would disproportionately impact Hispanic families, by limiting their access to beach and coastal rentals.

Campbell countered that she believes this suit has no merit, pointing to the Coastal Commission's approval of the ordinance.

"The commission for the state of California that takes care of land use on the coast and makes sure that everyone has fair access to the coast: they approved this," Campbell said.

The license will last for two years and can be renewed. For more details on the licensing and lottery process, click here

WATCH RELATED: San Diego City Council expected to give final approval on new short-term rental regulations (May 2022).


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