Short Term Rental Regulations in the City of San Diego

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    short term rental regulations San Diego

    In February 2021, the City Council of San Diego passed an ordinance regarding Short Term Residential Occupancy (STRO). The regulations stipulate that a license is required to run an STRO unit and limit the number of licenses a host can acquire. It also provides a licensing process to track, administer, and enforce all elements of the STRO. The following is a complete guideline for San Diego’s short term rental regulations so that anyone can be a responsible host when using platforms like Airbnb, VRBO, and other similar services. This rundown should give you a good start in understanding your local laws. 

     

    Short Term Residential Occupancy Licenses

    In the City of San Diego, a short term residential occupancy means the rental of a dwelling unit or part of a dwelling unit for less than one month. From July 1st, 2022 onwards, licenses will be necessary to operate an STRO in San Diego. All licenses are subject to the same general rules:

    • All short term residential occupation requires a license.
    • Hosts can have only one active license at a time.
    • Within the City of San Diego, a host may not operate more than one housing unit for short term residential occupancy at a time.

    A host may acquire a maximum of one license in one of the four STRO licensing tiers at a time:

    Tier One License: Part-Time

    • Rented out for an average of not more than 20 days each year.
    • During the STRO period, the owner or permanent resident does not need to reside on the premises. 

    Tier Two License: Home Sharing

    • Rentals of a room or rooms in a residence for more than 20 days per year, as long as the owner or permanent resident resides on the premises. 
    • During the STRO, the owner or permanent resident may be absent from the permanent residence for up to 90 days each calendar year.
    • When the host resides in the premises, home-sharing includes duplex properties, eligible accessory dwelling units, and granny flats. 

    Tier Three License: Whole Home (excluding Mission Beach) 

    • Rentals of more than 20 days per year where the owner or permanent resident does not reside on the premises. 
    • Outside of the Mission Beach Community Planning Area, the number of licenses issued will not exceed 1% of the total dwelling units in San Diego.
    • Guests must stay for a minimum of two consecutive nights.

    Tier Four License: Mission Beach Whole Home

    • Rentals of more than 20 days per year where the owner or permanent resident does not reside on the premises. 
    • The total number of licenses issued will not exceed 30% of the Community Planning Area of Mission Beach.
    • Guests must stay for a minimum of two consecutive nights.

     

    License Application Requirements

    All hosts must comply with the following license application requirements:

    • Only a ‘host’ is eligible to apply for a license. 
    • A host must submit a license application that includes the following information –
      • The dwelling unit’s Transient Occupancy Tax Certificate number. Or proof of a concurrent application for a Transient Occupancy Tax Certificate for the dwelling unit.  
      • Proof of payment of the Rental Unit Business Tax, if applicable. 
    • Proof that the dwelling unit is the host’s primary residence.
      • Unless the City’s approval is required to resolve an ongoing enforcement action for violations of this Article or any provision of the Municipal Code, the City shall not process an application for a dwelling unit.
      • An application for a host who has had a license revoked by the City within the last 12 months before the date of application will not be accepted.

       

      Rental Unit Business Tax 

      A Business Tax Certificate is necessary for all businesses operating in the City of San Diego. The Rental Unit Business Tax is imposed on individuals who own, operate, or manage the rental of a residential real estate located in San Diego on a yearly basis.

       

      Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT)

      Hosts must acquire a Transient Occupancy Registration Certificate if their property is situated in the City of San Diego and is rented out to guests for less than a month. Hosts can submit an application for a Transient Occupancy Registration Certificate online through the system on the City’s official website.

      The Office of the City Treasurer administers and collects Transient Occupancy Taxes. All properties rented to guests are subject to a 10.50% TOT. 

       

      Other Short Term Rental Regulations

      As a responsible host, you must comprehend and abide by other vacation rental rules and regulations that bind you. These include leases, community rules, HOA rules, or other guidelines set up by tenant associations. Feel free to reach out to your landlord, housing authority, or community council to find out more. To get more information about other short term rental regulations, you can visit San Diego’s official website or contact us.