San Diego city council votes to rescind short-term rental ordinance

San Diego: San Diego city council has voted 8-1 in favour of rescinding regulations on short-term rentals in its latest council meeting.

The council voted 6-2 in favour of rules to regulate short-term vacation rentals in San Diego in August, which would have come into effect in July 2019. The regulations limited the rentals to primary residences, which would force some investors or owners of more than one home to sell their properties or rent them out long-term.

City councilwoman Lorie Zapf was the only voter to vote against the repeal.

The group Share San Diego called Monday’s vote ‘an important step towards fair and effective short-term rental regulations’.

The group said: “This rescission passed because voters want regulations that protect private property rights, encourage tourism, weed out bad actors and create an enforceable regulatory structure.”

In response, a signature drive sponsored by Airbnb obtained enough signatures to object to the city’s restrictions, putting the issue back on the city council’s table. Mayor Kevin Faulconer previously said the regulations were aiming to protect the quality of the neighbourhoods in San Diego.

Opponents of the regulations say the council violated the state’s Brown Act by making significant changes to the original proposal before voting on the measure without allowing for more public comment and participation.

In September, Airbnb research found that San Diegans earned $5.2 million over the Labour Day weekend as they hosted 15,000 travellers.

City council members said they were planning to conceive a new ordinance for short-term rental owners and companies.

A spokesperson for Mayor Kevin Faulconer said: “Today’s action may take us back to the drawing board but the good news is that we are not back at square one. We have already begun working with stakeholders to develop a new compromise based on the fact that the referendum took the previous ordinance off the table.

“Mayor Faulconer will continue to advocate for a system that protects neighbourhoods through increased oversight and enforcement and in the meantime staff will continue to enforce existing laws against noise and other quality-of-life crimes,” they added.

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