San Diego STRO Ordinance

5 Replies

Hi BP,

I'm trying to understand the new San Diego short term vacation rental ordinance that will go into effect July 1, 2019.

§510.0103 Short Term Residential Occupancy Regulated A dwelling unit may not be used for short term residential occupancy except as set forth in this Division...

The ordinance refers to regulating "Dwelling Units" but in looking up the definition I now how questions on what the differences are for other structures and if they are a way around the regulations.

Dwelling unit, means a room or suite of rooms in a building or portion thereof, used, intended or designed to be used or occupied for living purposes by one family, and containing only one kitchen.

Multiple dwelling unit means two or more dwelling units on a single lot. The term does not include companion units, junior units, or employee housing.

Companion unit means an accessory structure on a residential lot that provides independent living facilities for one or more persons, independent of the primary dwelling unit, which includes permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation.
Accessory structure means a structure attached to or detached from a primary structure located on the same premises that is customarily incidental and subordinate to the primary structure or use. The term accessory structure includes accessory buildings

What's the difference between a Companion Unit and a Dwelling Unit?  Would a Companion unit not fall under the STRO regulations?  The Multiple dwelling unit definitions seems to exclude Companion Units as Dwelling Units.



Companion units are describing mother in law quarters, accessory unit or guest house, those are allowed to still be an STR. So hypothetically you could live in your main house and still rent out your accessory house that you have on the same lot as an STR... or if you live in a duplex for example you could rent out a side.

San diego I guess tried to find a middle ground when it came to accessory units being used as an STR, but frnakly san diegos laws are pretty damn harsh towards strs in general, about as bad as NYC

The regulations specifically allow for licensing 1 extra dwelling unit on a lot (apart from the primary residence @ 50%).  Just was wondering if the companion unit designation could somehow get around the limit.

A host may be issued one Short Term Residential Occupancy License for the host’s primary residence. A host may obtain a Short Term Residential Occupancy License for the host’s primary residence and one additional Short Term Residential Occupancy License for one dwelling unit that is on the same parcel as the host’s primary residence for short term rental occupancy

I don't think the "companion unit" needs to  "get around the limit" since it is included in the provision allowing an owner to rent such a companion long as the owner lives in the primary residence on the same lot.

I guess I should have been more clear, I'm not concerned about one extra unit. I'm concerned about multiple. So it sounds like legally there would be no way to STR four stand alone cottages on a single lot. You could STR 1 unit that you occupied 50% time and 1 other unit full time. The other two would have to be long term rentals.

I was hoping they could be categorized as something other than a dwelling unit so as to not be regulated. 

Thank you for the responses. 

If you have a duplex, or a house with another unit on the same lot, you can rent that other unit as a STR. Your "main" unit can be leased as STR for 50% of the year. I have friends with STRs. Some of them 1-2 units. Some of them 10-20+. All have a few ideas of loopholes on how to get around the law.

Oddly enough, none seem worried.  And I guess that's the common feeling as I've seen zero softness in the market.  I figured you'd have some STR owners trying to not be the last one to unload but that's not happening.  The market to buy is still just as hot. 

If San Diego really actually enforces the law, then maybe these owners will sell.  But I doubt it.