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The heart of the argument over short-term vacation rentals

A legal battle is brewing over vacation rentals in San Diego and Mission Beach is right in the center of it.

SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) - A legal battle is brewing over vacation rentals in San Diego and Mission Beach is right in the center of it.

Take a drive through Mission Beach and you'll notice the courts are laid out alphabetically. And, Isthmus Court is pretty much right in the middle.

A News 8 producer lived in an apartment on Isthmus Court during the 1980s. He and a roommate were long-term renters, paying $500 per month.

Those days are long gone. Like many properties in Mission Beach, the Isthmus Court apartment currently is being advertised as a short-term vacation rental.

Barry Shemer and his wife from Phoenix, Arizona are renting the apartment during their week-long vacation.

If vacation rentals were banned in Mission Beach, Shemer said it would affect the couple’s future tourism plans.

“Obviously, it would hurt the people who own these buildings. But I also think it would be a great disappointment to Arizonians because this is a great option for us,” said Shemer.

People who own million-dollar homes and apartment complexes in Mission Beach can make a lot more money renting to tourists, who'll pay two or three thousand dollars a week to stay near the ocean on vacation.

But you still can find long-term renters in the Mission Beach tourist zone.

People like Stephanie Mattock, a hotel worker living in a more affordable apartment, says she “hates” short-term renters.

“Honestly, they park in my parking spot. They come to Mission Beach. They litter all over the beaches. They don't belong here. They are making our rent way more expensive,” she said.

The vacation-rental debate was back in front of the San Diego City Council this week with an overflow crowd of speakers.

In the end, council members voted to put extreme restrictions in place on vacation rentals citywide, including Mission Beach.

Homeowners would only be allowed offer their primary residence to short-term renters for six months out of the year.

Investment properties would be ineligible for short-term vacation rentals under the new plan.

Any property rented for less than 30 days is considered a short-term rental.

Kevin from St. Louis – walking on the boardwalk with his family -- doubts the vacation-rental issue will be resolved anytime soon.

“If the conflict continues it's just going to result in more litigation, obviously, because there's too many people fighting over those dollars,” he said.

The new vacation-rental restrictions are set to go into effect next August. Lawsuits are expected.

California's Coastal Commission will take up the matter later this year, so stay tuned.

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