City Tries to Hide Its Embarrassment as Applicants for Short-Term Rental Licenses Fall Way Lower than Expectations

by on November 30, 2022 · 56 comments

in Ocean Beach

The city of San Diego is trying to hide its embarrassment as applications for short-term rental licenses have fallen way short of its expectations. The city was going to conduct a “lottery” on December 16 to see which STVR hosts get licenses, thinking the city would be swamped with applications from the estimated 16,000 whole homes that were being used as short-term rentals for more than 20 days per year.

But, as of the day before today’s deadline to apply, there were “less than 5,400 applications,” according to Venus Molina, chief of staff for Councilmember Jennifer Campbell. Which could mean the city won’t have to hold a lottery.

There’s different ways to spin this development.

Either, as Molina surmises many people were not aware they needed a license, despite the city and local media’s repeated announcements. Or, maybe many hosts just didn’t think they needed one as the city didn’t have the enforcement mechanism in place yet. Actually, enforcement of the new short-term vacation-rental rules won’t begin until May 1, 2023. That’s 6 months away.

Or maybe, there just weren’t that many “good actors” — hosts that were never cited by the city for violating its STVR rules or who didn’t receive complaints. Or, perhaps hosts just became complacent over the last several years — they got away with renting out their place, and they can continue to do so. Licenses? We don’t need no stinkin’ licenses!’

Or maybe, the dampening down of the economy has hurt the home-share business.

But for those whom enforcement catches, the city can issue warnings, citations of $1000 or civil penalties of up to $10,000 for violating the rules.

Campbell, Molina and the city all expected thousands of applicants (the deadline is today at 5pm) and they were going to reward the good actors with a license, good for two years.

Perhaps Campbell and Molina can just announce that the short-term rental issue has been solved. ‘See, all that worry about the loss of housing can not now be blamed on short-term rentals.’ Their original goal was to limit the number of short-term vacation rentals in the city to 1% of the 540,000 housing units.

But now, the narrative from Campbell’s office is, ‘Hey, this is great. Now everyone who applies can get a license.’ Even if they weren’t good actors.

“Well, right now, our applications are not as high as we thought, so everybody might be able to get a license,” Molina said.

7SanDiego: “Prior to the new rules, the city auditor had estimated there were approximately 16,000 whole homes that were being used as short-term rentals for more than 20 days per year. The city planned on limiting the number of licenses for short-term vacation rentals for more than 20 days per year to 5,400.”

Molina — supposedly the architect of the whole plan to make an agreement between the city and the homeshare companies — told 7SanDiego:

“We have a housing crisis in San Diego. It’s very expensive, and we don’t have a lot of houses for rent or to buy, so we wanted to make sure that we put housing back on the market for people who want to live here. We wanted to control this particular platform because it was out of control, you know? People were just doing whatever they wanted, so we wanted to make sure there was some control.”

IN truth, Molina, we don’t have a housing crisis; we have an affordable housing crisis. Come down to Abbott Street in Ocean Beach, Venus, and check out all the former affordable housing and apartments that have been turned into short-term rentals, and then tell us you have it under control.

So, dear reader, what’s your favorite spin on this? Tell us.



{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

kh November 30, 2022 at 3:59 pm

I have made Jen and Venus aware of this repeatedly for the past 2 years, in person, in meetings, in emails, and at council, that they were giving too many licenses, that their claims of a 50% reduction were false, that this was giving Airbnb everything they wanted and more, and I provided them hard data to back it up.

She willfully ignored all this and continued to repeat her false claims. She also conveniently pushed the application window until after the election.

I really don’t know what else to say at this point.


kh November 30, 2022 at 4:03 pm

The city auditor never once claimed that 17,000 STVRs would be subject to the Tier 3/4 caps.

The Independent Budget Analyst is the only official entity that made some effort to break it down by STVR type, and they made it clear that Jen’s claims were false but that didn’t dissuade her either.


Glenn Millar November 30, 2022 at 7:32 pm

My gut tells me that the answer is, “Permits? We don’t need no stinking permits.” And if it’s not enforced, they will be right.

Will it be enforced?

Well let me see. We are seeing blatant daylight attacks on people in OB and nobody has gotten arrested. We have illegal vendors every where and there has been no enforcement yet. We see constant theft out of retail stores to the point of some establishments closing their doors and nobody is getting arrested.


Deb Porter December 1, 2022 at 9:00 am

Right on Glenn. No one is “watching the store”… and there are other violations that are not being enforced…. how do we turn the tide on this? I live in OB and I won’t even go down to the beach area. Todd Gloria seems either oblivious or doesn’t care.


Gary Wonacott December 1, 2022 at 4:03 am

Then Councilmember and now State Assembly Member told me two days before the vote in 2018 on Mayor Faulconer’s proposal of One plus Everyone that the City was concerned that there would not be enough applicants to pay for the program. He estimated about 6,000 STR license applicants. Campbell was proud to announce the hiring of 16 code enforcement officers costing ….. a lot more than this program can now afford. Larger cities around the country have found the winning formula to be primary only with a requirement that the platforms be penalized if the City determines the platform has contracted with an unlicensed STR owner/operator. But all along, the vacation rental management companies, 710 Beach Rentals, Sea Breeze and Vacasa, primary focus has been on Mission Beach. There are about 3200 housing units in Mission Beach and they want all of them.

And unless the residents of Mission Beach push back, Mission Beach will sink into the ocean a lot faster than sea level rise shows up in earnest. One way to push back is to join an effort to require the City to comply with their own requirements in the ordinance, to set the number of Tier 4 licenses at a 30 density based on the number of housing units according to the 2020 census, not the 2010 census estimate. A demand letter has been sent to the City addressing this issue. The residents need to let AirBnB know that they cannot have our community.


Zack DF December 1, 2022 at 8:29 am

Could it be the case that there are fewer STVRs than the Rag suspects?

I know this has been a recurring issue for the rag but I’m just not as convinced the STVRs are as impactful on the housing market as some claim. I say this knowing that Airbnb has declined in popularity as more people are staying in hotels due to the ridiculous fees Airbnb charges.

I hate to beat this drum again but I have studied this issue pretty extensively and the housing stock is just under-supplied. It really does largely come down to classic supply and demand, which applies to pretty much everything. Economics is pretty fundamental and yes applies to housing as well.

Anyway I’m not on here to ruffle feathers bit I’ll admit that yes I’m a Yimby type and I lean libertarian as well.



Jerry T December 1, 2022 at 10:00 am

I know that stvr has taken some housing off the market for locals, but when you have a half million houses in the city and maybe 6,000+ are stvr, is there really any significant impact on pricing?

That said, I see listings on the stvr websites where a single host has converted entire apartment buildings into stvr units. Again, not significant enough to impact an entire city’s housing prices, but it’s significant to the local residents who can no longer rent there.

We do live in a destination city on the coast and this comes with the territory. More people want to live here than we have housing for. Prices have been sky high for many years before airbnb came on the scene.


kh December 1, 2022 at 11:01 am

City wide it’s not a big percentage. The number in San Ysidro is probably pushing 0%.

But it becomes an issue when neighborhoods become 1/2 mini-hotels, unsupervised at that. This is what’s happening, and it’s going to stay that way, and probably increase by another 25%.

The planning commission recommended increasing the % but making it per neighborhood to prevent that, but was ignored.


Zack DF December 1, 2022 at 1:33 pm


Are there any neighborhoods where 50% of the housing has been converted to vacation rentals? I understand Mission Beach has the highest percentage at about a third or so but I am not familiar with any other neighborhood coming anywhere close.

Furthermore, wouldn’t there be seasonal fluctuations in the numbers? You’d expect to see more STVRs in the summer months than in the winter months and you’d think that that could have a marginal impact on overall rental prices. Finally, assuming there are thousands more unlicensed STVRs out there, how do you propose they will be enforced? Will the city rely on citizen volunteers to report them? Wouldn’t the listings be open to review by the city and others? It seems difficult to hide an STVR that is open to the public to rent as keeping it a secret would limit the number of potential customers.


Frank Gormlie December 1, 2022 at 1:57 pm

The winter months here in SD are what’s attractive to visitors from the East. And no, the city won’t be relying on “volunteers” to report them or enforce them.


Zack DF December 1, 2022 at 2:20 pm


There is no question that snowbirds come here to enjoy the relatively warm winter months. However, there are significantly more tourists here during the summer months so it follows that there would be lower demand for STVRs during the winter.

So what will the enforcement mechanism be? Will there be a way for people to report unlicensed STVRs?


Frank Gormlie December 1, 2022 at 3:09 pm

That sounds like a question for Venus Molina, Campbell’s aide and chief architect of this arrangement.


kh December 1, 2022 at 7:23 pm

There aren’t thousands more out there. The numbers coming in line up with what I’ve known all along.

As for the concentration, it depends on the area you look at. OB housing as a whole is about 5-7% vacation rentals. Some blocks don’t have any. But on others, like in northwest OB, some blocks half the homes are STVRs. When you’re surrounded by them it’s little solace to hear it’s 1% citywide. I have 4 of them immediately surrounding me for awhile.


kh December 1, 2022 at 12:17 pm

As for the numbers, 6,000 units doesn’t sound like much but that’s an entire year of housing construction here with the city bending over backwards to facilitate.

You might laugh and say so what, the bnbs are expensive beach housing, but in my neighborhood at least, the listings are mostly the small studio and 1,2 bed cottages, these used to be the most affordable homes here but unfortunately are the most profitable on Airbnb as they have the highest occupancy rates (80%+) , and are bringing in triple the long-term rent.

The mcmansions are harder to book up during weekdays because they only really appeal to larger groups.


Sue H December 1, 2022 at 7:05 pm

To put that 6k of STVRs allowed now by the city in perspective we have 0.5 M housing units in SD. But the problem is you can’t rent a place that is already occupied. We have a 1% vacancy rate in SD. This means that there are approximately 5000 housing units available for long term rentals. In other words if short term rentals vaporized tomorrow we would double our housing availability. Hard to imagine this has no effect on prices.


Jacob S January 3, 2023 at 7:45 pm

“I know that stvr has taken some housing off the market for locals, but when you have a half million houses in the city and maybe 6,000+ are stvr, is there really any significant impact on pricing?”

This is a bit disingenuous since it is not true that all homes are always on sale. To get a better sense of the impact, you have to look at the number of homes for sale and how addition to that number will affect prices.

In other words, if all homes were on sale simultaneously, prices wouldn’t be as they are right now either.


Geoff Page December 1, 2022 at 10:35 am

Zack, The Rag doesn’t “suspect” how many STVRs are out there, The Rag uses figures from the city.


kh December 1, 2022 at 11:16 am

The city’s numbers were terrible, and Save San Diego’s numbers were even worse. Rather than actually do the research we spent 2 years trying to pick who’s the best liar. To be fair, Save San Diego’s numbers were done without knowing which listings be subject to a license cap.

The city didn’t make any effort to crunch the numbers until the eve of the Coastal Commission hearing, and even that was was a very rough estimate. This was after 18 months of pretending it was going to restore housing, and after city council had already passed it.

It was totally irresponsible to negotiate with VRBO, let alone docket it at city council, without doing this research in advance.


Gary Wonacott December 2, 2022 at 10:29 am

Completely agree. Again I will say that the City strongly suspected that the numbers were going to be much smaller. In 2018. I met with now State Assembly Member Chris Ward who in the meeting stated that numbers he heard were around 6,000 applicants. He voted against the mayor’s plan because he did not see how even this number could be enforced. Molina knew; this is one reason why Mission Beach was carved out. Mission Beach far and away had the highest percentage of TOT certified STRs. The bait and switch that is enabling the City to collect unpaid TOT is another example of the City’s laser focus on increasing revenues. I don’t know how much blame should go to the other councilmembers besides Campbell. They could have stopped this.


kh December 2, 2022 at 10:51 am

Well the number depends on how they are defined and categorized, owner on site, # of bookings, etc. Anytime those criteria change, so do the numbers. For example, there are many “whole home” full-time STVRs that do not fit the Tier 3/4 definition.

Certainly the councilmembers outside D1,D2,D3 never cared about vacation rentals, and might be inclined to just go for the TOT money. But remember they also supported Bry’s primary-only proposal 6-3. I think they tend to follow the lead of the councilmember who’s district it most impacts. Which is great if you have a councilmember who doesn’t actively work against the interests of her district residents.


Chris December 1, 2022 at 10:53 am

“Anyway I’m not on here to ruffle feathers bit I’ll admit that yes I’m a Yimby type and I lean libertarian as well.”

While the overwhelming majority of “YIMBY” types (if not all) DO in fact want more housing to go up, they don’t want that housing to be used for STVR purposes. So with that in mind, they also want to see the same restrictions on STVRs as their NIMBY counterparts.

And as to classic supply and demand, you and everyone else who brings that up know that doesn’t work the same way in housing as it does other commodities. I’ve brought this up many times but there are a pretty significant # of multi family units in the city that are not attracting new residents due to high rents and/or mortgages. In my area alone (uptown) there are about 8 or 9 buildings that are less than half occupied.


Geoff Page December 1, 2022 at 10:56 am

Well said, Chris.


Chris December 1, 2022 at 11:41 am

Thanks Geoff. Personally I would be okay with high rise dense housing if it were to actually bring housing costs down, but as we see with all other cities that have it, it just doesn’t work that way. Property management companies (for reasons I’ll never understand) seem to be willing to let their units be under occupied. I would think they’re losing money that way. Maybe not.


kh December 2, 2022 at 11:04 am

I heard manhattan is just a few more highrises from becoming affordable.

The problem with the supply and demand argument at the coast, is there is near infinite demand, and there are more incentives for an investor to buy a property than a resident. Homeownership is the only thing that gives residents any housing stability here, and it’s only getting worse. Most of those new units in Midway are going to be very expensive rentals.

In the past 4 years SD homeownership has dropped from 60% to 50%


Zack DF December 1, 2022 at 1:13 pm


How do you know that I know that supply and demand doesn’t apply to housing? I am being sincere when I say I believe that it does and have seen ample research that backs that up.

Assuming that you are correct about the half-occupied multi-family units, wouldn’t that put pressure on the owners of those buildings to lower rents to encourage people to rent them? How much money can one possibly expect to make on empty units? Especially considering that the owners have mortgages to pay among other expenses.

My understanding is that the occupancy rate city wide is very low and this contributes to high rents.

Cheers everyone


Chris December 1, 2022 at 2:13 pm

Come on Zack, try harder. What I said about occupancy rates in many buildings is common knowledge.


Zack DF December 1, 2022 at 2:18 pm

I am trying to have a good-faith discussion. Is it common knowledge? I have never heard of this myself and I also live in uptown. Is there a city-wide survey demonstrating this? Don’t assume what you know to be universally understood. I try hard not to do so.


Chris December 1, 2022 at 4:33 pm

You’re saying you live in the uptown area and have never heard of this? That simply isn’t possible. Yes it is common knowledge.


kh December 1, 2022 at 7:28 pm

I’ve heard of this glut of vacancy, and witnessed it first hand in some newer downtown condos I’ve worked in that struggled to fill up… but other than anecdotes I don’t have any hard data there.

The sad fact is over the past 12 years you could turn a profit by letting housing sit empty. I hope it all comes crashing down.


Gregg g Sullivan December 2, 2022 at 1:49 pm

I’d like to see your statistics on that. I find what you’re saying hard to believe


Gregg g Sullivan December 2, 2022 at 1:56 pm

I put my comment in the wrong Place. It was in regard to Chris’s comment about 8 or 9 buildings half empty in his area.


Gary Wonacott December 1, 2022 at 10:01 am

I certainly don’t have that feeling in Mission Beach. We have been targeted by the vacation rental management companies, the platforms and the city.


Ms. Deena December 1, 2022 at 2:03 pm

I have been Mission Beach homeowner for 40 years… House has been in the rental program for over 20 years… Our family loves staying over here! Our guests are thrilled having an opportunity to spend their vacation at our family home in Mission Beach! Why City of San Diego wants to make our lives miserable? We are literally stressed out for months and loosing our sleep over this STR program not knowing, if our family will be able to continue to enjoy the property or we’ll loose this opportunity, because the City of San Diego lottery. They are going to make a decision for us!?

Obviously it isn’t a secret…Mission Beach historically has been vacation rental queen of San Diego. All small businesses are built to serve the guests. The majority are big spenders. The vacation rental guests travel to Mission Beach from all over the world and love the convenience of staying at vacation rentals instead of hotels. Why would the family of 4 or 6 want to stay at hotel? Why? Why the City of San Diego wants to limit Mission Beach STR? Do they want the guests go somewhere else? Do they want to push up the prices and create the scene where only the wealthiest can come and stay? Why City of San Diego wants to create the situation where the nicest and best maintained properties where the owners have invested tremendous amount of money to make the vacation rental nice and attractive stay for the guests while you aren’t using it for yourself and doing it with permit and paying TOT…possibly could be pushed out of the program? How the City of San Diego will profit from that? How they are going to pick and choose? It isn’t clear! Why 30% not 35% or 40%? And why they are so mad at Mission Beach? Wasn’t this program meant to open up homes for the full time rent? Why someone is so interested to have more full time renters in Mission Beach where there looks like after enforcing the City of San Diego STR rules that require STR permit..if Airbnb really is at fault…would open thousands of full time rentals? It just makes me think that someone tried to find every house in San Diego that has been posted as vacation home online regardless, whether it was actually rented out for more than 20 days a year… and, if it was the owner or the renter who posted the ad.
It is sad that, if I as an owner who pays the property taxes and STR permit fees, TOT…I am limited by the city to rent my property out, if I need an extra income to pay for it. The only way is to rent out it…full time?! So I or my family won’t be able to enjoy it? Is that the goal the City of San Diego is trying to accomplish? If you loose out on Mission Beach lottery…you are forced to sell and buy the beach house in another city?
Obviously the home owners are under stress of being eliminated from STR program. It feels weird that City of San Diego wants to punish the home owners in Mission Beach for paying taxes honestly unlike a lot of the home owners in the rest of San Diego and jumping thru all hoops to submit the required papers. Obviously the City of San Diego have to hire alot more code enforcement officers to hunt down all the rest of home owners who doesn’t feel like the City of San Diego has enough workforce to give out the citations. The trouble makers can be the owners as well as full time or monthly renters and, if the neighbor has problem with the current owner … easy way to force them not to rent out the property…would simply be complaining and calling police or City of San Diego upon the slightest noise.. We all know that police is already overwhelmed and can’t handle serious issues…Right?! Let’s say homeless people going thru the trash cans in Mission Beach at night and waking you up…
It might be the big mess with STR in San Diego, but looks like Mission Beach will take the cake and get looked on the microscope…all code enforcement officers will be directed here in MissionBeach..trying to punish the owners who doesn’t win the lottery and are forced to rent the property on their own and probably looking at another property owner down the street like his enemy and trying to see how to push them out of STR program to get back in.
What do you think?

I think the rules should be more transparent and allow the home owners to monitor their own properties and decide how much they want to share their property with STR program guests and allow the owners to enjoy their own home in Mission Beach. The owners shouldn’t have to be forced into renting their homes full time where they aren’t protected from their renters subletting their homes to others and destroying or creating excessive wear and tear to their properties and also they shouldn’t be forced to sell their homes, because they need extra income from rent to help to pay the bills.


Chris December 1, 2022 at 4:30 pm

Here’s some hard truth for you Ms. Deena. Yes MB has been a STVR hot spot for decades. My family used to spend two weeks of our summers there every year when I was growing up. But the fact is, at this point their prevalence has forced too many full time residents out of there due to increased rents and controls need to be put in place. The unfairness of full time residents being priced out outweighs your STVR business.


Gary Wonacott December 1, 2022 at 5:30 pm

This idea that somehow Mission Beach has a unique history when it comes to short term rentals is baloney. There have been a substantial number of summer rentals in OB, MB, PB, and LJ for a long time. The absolute number of vacation rentals were fairly close; it was the density of STRs that was always much greater. Keep in mind that Mission Beach at 0.594 square miles was initially part of PB. And when AirBnB started to warm up in around 2011, the rate of increase of STRs in all of these beach communities was about the same, again absolute numbers, but not density.

It is a favorite ploy of the short term rental owners to focus on good and bad actors as though loss of residents in Mission Beach is inconsequential. There are communities around the world that have seen substantial increases in numbers of STRs and a similar loss of residents. Here is a question. Do you have elderly residents near your STR? If you do, how much time do you spend with your neighbor(s) making sure that they have company, have a way to get to the doctor and even shopping at Ralph’s in PB? Do you go out and pick up crap on the beach? Are you a member of the Mission Beach Women’s Club? Which organizations have you volunteered for over the decades. Thirty percent STR density does real harm to Mission Beach. There is increasing data that confirms that 30 percent is too many. I look forward to the day this number is decreased to 10-15 percent.


Ms. Deena December 1, 2022 at 6:53 pm

Hello Mr. Wonacott,
Thanks for your input. Yes…PB, OB and LJ get away with whatever they want… The owners are in privileged position and little Mission Beach owners are at fault…across the street in PB…all is perfect and everybody is happy Right?

You must be very fortunate to afford to live in Mission Beach full time, but we no longer can afford to live full time. In my neighborhood we have a long time home owners who doesn’t live at the property and their homes stay empty all year around and some owners who rent only during the Summer and some of them live at the property offseason and also the owners who rent full time. According to the City of San Diego plan…the full time renters will get the homes that aren’t going to make the lottery…right? That’s what is the goal? Correct or not? Do you really think the rentals over 30 days, 6 months or 1 year will create the community…neighbor helping another neighbor?
Our family live in the neighborhoods where all people own their homes or rent for some longer time. Every single house is occupied. The renters change still often and some neighbors who are the owners never move and we really wish they would…and there are all different reasons why. Our frendliest people aren’t the neighbors…still…mostly they are the people like gardner, house cleaner and handyman who we ask, if we need anything. There isn’t that kind of ideal community what you are thinking that it should be. Simply, if anywhere is that cozy feeling of the neighbor coming and checking on you…please let me know where is that place…I may consider moving… So far I am aware only of communities over 55…in my area where people live in their condos mostly alone or couples and they actually help each other..

Unfortunately Mission Beach will never be as in old times when it was run down and affordability was a different story and all neighbors were going to party from one house to another and be friends. Sweet memories…
I see the big investors coming in and buying homes around me…that would be the concern. Why would you be interested to get rid of people and families like us who simply want to rent as needed and enjoy the property that we have for decades? Are you inviting to Mission Beach another investor or you maybe think that only very wealthy people should own homes and live in Mission Beach?
Anyway, have a good day neighbor!


Chris December 1, 2022 at 9:06 pm

Ms. Deena,

Your posts are confusing. Your wording sentences are hard to understand but from first post I gathered (I think) that you are a homeowner who rents out your place and are worried that with the new regulation system you might get pushed out of that and also mention how your family wont get to enjoy the property that you said you own.
In your 2nd post is even more confusing and I can barely sense out of it but you seem to acknowledge how expensive MB and how big investors are going to come in and make it even more so.


Chris December 1, 2022 at 5:47 pm

On another note Ms. Deena, you might want to keep your cat from walking all over your keyboard lol.


kh December 1, 2022 at 7:34 pm

The number of vacation rentals in MB has ballooned since Airbnb. Before that it was much more difficult to keep a place booked, and not as profitable. Everyone was their own platform. Now it’s all centralized and virtually all of them are listed on Airbnb.


kh December 1, 2022 at 11:24 am

From February:

“Campbell has peddled this as a “78% reduction in STRs” that will “return 7,000 units to long term housing”. She does this despite providing no analysis of the existing number and types of STRs. A cursory study of the existing STR situation, and a previous study commissioned by the city both show her claims to be false.

Of all the STRs in San Diego (pre-pandemic) , approximately 5,000 of them meet the Tier 3 & 4 criteria subject to a cap. This means this category of STR could increased by approximately 1,500 over what we see today…

So if you live on a block in northwest OB where a third of the homes have been converted to mini-hotels, this will continue under Campbell’s proposal. Even apartment complexes entirely converted to Airbnbs can persist under this proposal with a little paperwork (they have to register each STR license to a unique social security number.)”

And March:

“When confronted with this glaring discrepancy, Campbell’s chief of staff Venus Molina admitted, “we don’t have the data… we have to pass the ordinance to find out how many there are.”

Their claimed reductions in STVRs were also disputed by the city’s own Independent Budget Analyst.”


Frank Gormlie December 1, 2022 at 11:27 am

KH is by far the OB expert on short-term rentals and has been studying the issue for years. It’s good to read his points.


kh December 1, 2022 at 12:06 pm

Well I hope you enjoyed it, because I’m done. Waste of time. I don’t do this shit to hear myself talk or to get an “I told you so” after being disregarded for 2 years.


Zack DF December 1, 2022 at 5:34 pm

It simply isn’t possible? Really? There is no possibility whatsoever of someone who lives in uptown not hearing about a handful of half-empty apartment buildings?


Chris December 7, 2022 at 5:38 pm

Give it up man!! LMAO.


bobo December 4, 2022 at 8:05 am

I see that most of the STVR owners/operators have a VERY difficult time following rules and ordinances that have been in place for decades. What makes anyone believe they’ll apply for a license and voluntarily risk not being able to make a 1000% ROI on their investment?
This whole structure is a shit-show.
-Clamp down on the platforms with punitive fees
-Ban the conversion of multifamily housing in residential zones to STVRs
-Impose a STEEP real-estate tax at the time of purchase on institutional investors who attempt to purchase single family homes
-Push STVRs into the commerical zones and out of residential


Jacob S January 3, 2023 at 7:49 pm

Exactly. My thoughts are a $10,000 is the cost of doing business in a very lucrative STVR.


Gary Wonacott December 4, 2022 at 8:21 am

bobo is right on, but then that means that he is a rationale human being, a character trait not often found downtown. There were several of us who pushed for number one on bobo’s list at the time the ordinance was being approved, but Campbell was not interested. We effectively used the approach adopted in San Francisco that resulted in an immediate decrease in a substantial percent of the illegal STRs there. Campbell was far more interested in justifying her 16 code enforcement officers for the mayor, who was and is grossly short of this position. Having Jen Campbell as your councilmember for Mission Beach is like having Dr. Mengele as your primary doctor assisted by AirBnB and Borg. Resistance is futile.


sealintheSelkirks December 7, 2022 at 1:29 pm

I wonder just how many San Diego politicians hold stock in AirBnB and the other neighborhood destroying STVR corporations?

As for Ms. Deena, she has NO IDEA what Mission Beach used to be like. Not a clue what kind of neighborhood it was to grow up in, go to Mission Beach School, know everybody in the area since she bought into the place only forty years ago. That means she showed up AFTER I was finally pushed out of the only neighborhood I remember as a kid and young adult due to gentrification and the inevitable and incredible increase in rents by people like her who bought into it. I don’t remember my first five years in OB…

Now it’s happening to her and she doesn’t like it… MB always had the summer tourist crowd, the Zonies mostly, after the majority of the aging apartment buildings the college crowd lived in during the school year emptied out in June. But MB was mostly single family homes that were owned and lived in or rented for years by families raising kids. And a lot of the apartments were also long-term rentals. But greed is an insidious disease…

Who woulda thunk it that those homes could become the hotels of the future? And that the city politicians wouldn’t give a damn in 2022?

Oh the Irony!

This article is for you Ms. Deena:



Chris December 7, 2022 at 5:37 pm

That’s what makes Ms. Deena’s hardship very laughable. That fact that she and her family are losing sleep is a sort of give a satisfying retribution. Then there’s the fact she can’t seem to type a legible sentence.


Sue H December 7, 2022 at 6:25 pm

Even more ironic is that the city is buying hotels to house homeless.

What’s wrong with this picture.


Vern December 8, 2022 at 2:41 pm

What might be more wrong is the city ultimately selling these properties off to developer / private equity donors. Wait and see…


kh December 8, 2022 at 5:19 pm

The obvious answer is the city should create Airbnb accounts for our homeless population and book them some rooms. It would be cheaper than the current housing programs, especially with the Airbnbs that have 3 bunk beds in each room.


Gary Wonacott December 8, 2022 at 3:56 pm

There is a saying that first in get a killing while last ones in are lost in the wave. Supposedly half of all STRs have started in the last two years. May of those STR purchases were made with 10 percent down and higher monthly payments that at the time could be covered by high STR rates. But in the recession, people stop traveling and the domino effect engages. This will certainly be the death of many STRs in my opinion in the next three years.


K December 16, 2022 at 8:45 am

Very interesting to read these perspectives. I do not think STR should be in every neighborhood, but I think beachfront property should be considered differently. I lived in San Diego as a kid, but now I live a few states away and my family owns a beachfront property in mission beach that we rent. We are not corporate investors, we are a family who owns a multi-million dollar property on the beach and who rent it when we are not using it. We bought it after San Diego became our go to from the desert and we always stayed at STRs in mission beach with our kids and in-laws and have the best memories from these trips. No other place is like it.
Frankly, we could never afford to have the place if we didn’t rent it and the renters we allow into our home when we are not there contribute to the economic growth of San Diego. I would not like to leave it empty and just have it as a vacation home. Everytime I am there I feel it is a luxury to be in that building on that beach, with that view, and that everyone deserves to experience this and no one person deserves to keep that to themselves without sharing it. In my book, that is greed. And sadly, I will be the first to admit that our place is not conducive to long term living. Our place, despite its costs, is too small and the beach is just too busy, too noisy, too active all the time – and it is not my wish that it should be less busy, again every person there deserves to be there, they are having the time of their lives being there whether they are local or tourists.
I read this and see many people who wish that it could be ‘affordable’ to live on a beach that was not busy and an oasis only for them, but that is not possible for everyone, you cannot make that opportunity available to everyone and keep it ‘affordable.’
The beach is a limited commodity and if you got what you wanted, then only a few elite people (likely NOT you or me), will be able to afford and enjoy it.
Many years ago we bought our place from someone who tried to make it their primary residence, and they lasted 6 months. We stay for 2 weeks at a time, and getting woken up every few nights with happy, but noisy beach goers at night, or hearing the screaming from the Big Dipper roller coaster every 3 minutes, or even hearing the booms of Seaworld fireworks at 9pm every night, this is something that can be tolerated for short stints but not something you would pay an enormous amount (relative to living elsewhere in city regardless of what housing prices are) to live in a 1000 sq foot condo to deal with every day. If you eliminate STR, they will just become the vacant second homes of the rich. Everyone of these beachfront properties should not be owned and occupied year round by the elite, or worse owned by them and visited or occupied a few weeks or months a year and vacant the rest. Even if the price dropped and they became more ‘affordable’, it would still be second homes. They should be enjoyed by average people around the world who can afford them a week at time, like my family did for years before we purchased one. Our renters are exploring San Diego, spending money and making this city what it is. The drink and food at Belmont are dependent on tourists who are willing to pay more for food and entertainment during vacation compared to the average resident. And those profits stay in San Diego, and we and all our renters are happy to spend it.
I agree with responsible renting and regulations, taxes – fine to do all of this and have been for years, but I do not think it would be good for San Diego to eliminate STRs, and again, I think beachfront properties should be treated differently and the coastal commission should have considered this, the beach needs to be accessible to all.


bobo December 16, 2022 at 1:49 pm

to “K”:
The very fact that you own a property that you admittedly can’t afford without renting short-term (and as a result, contribute to the inflation of housing costs), then go on to say that since these properties aren’t affordable, you should be allowed to continue to rent it as an STVR smacks as absurd.
You own a housing unit as a luxury – paid an inflated price for it, then fund it as an STVR, contributing to the inflated housing costs. You don’t realize self-fulfilling prophecy you’re describing?
In the meantime, you make a BIG profit out of an “unaffordable” house while keeping that same unit out of the long-term housing that someone can use. This, in my opinion, is offensive. A housing unit, no matter where or what size, is for people to LIVE IN. It should not be an investment tool. Nor for use for a few weeks out of the year for those who can and should stay in commercial hotels. Especially while there are people who are on the streets because they can’t afford a home.
I live and own a home blocks from the beach. So do many of my neighbors. To unilaterally declare that living here isn’t sustainable for you is fair – but to assume others can’t is also absurd.
Houses are for homes.
Hotels are for vacations.
Lets align this paradigm and stop trying to justify your cash-cow by saying that no one could live there anyway!


Gary Wonacott December 16, 2022 at 1:12 pm

So, you don’t live in Mission Beach. You admit that you don’t have the perspective of a resident. In fact, you really don’t understand much of anything anymore than a day visitor who have come to the beach for years to play volleyball. As long as the volleyball nets are up and there is parking, its all good. The only two groups that have a say about the use of Mission Beach are the Mission Beach Town Council and the Mission Beach Precise Planning Board. The planning board has consistently supported very limited number of STRs and the town council was the same until it was taken over by people primarily drive by greed. These investors may just have taken down Mission Beach depending on how hard the recession hits. You are promoting visitors to Mission Beaech while the rest of us are promoting the community. I think in the long term you lose.


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