What is the Future for Short-Term / Vacation Rentals?

Bob Preston


Renting homes as vacation rentals (AKA short-term rentals or STRs) has been part of the Del Mar Race Track community fabric and tradition dating back more than 50 years to the heydays of Jimmy Durante, Bing Crosby, Desi Arnaz, and Lucille Ball. Yet now it appears STRs will be illegal in the City of Del Mar thanks to a recent city council vote on April 17th banning the activity. Thanks to AirBnB, VRBO, and many other vacation rental websites, vacation renting has never been more visible or easier to book as a traveler.

When discussing this topic, it is important to understand what is considered an STR. By definition, STRs are considered any single-family home or condo rental for a period of less than 30 days. By California Law, any rental greater than 30-days, even if rented furnished, is considered a Long-Term Rental (LTR) and is not subject to limitation.

North County Property Group has an active interest in this topic as a participant in the home rental market for both LTRs and STRs so we are tracking the issue closely. At NCPG, we see both sides of the issue and only hope for clarity on the STR controversy soon! Community passion on this issue, however, varies between the coastal San Diego communities which only makes the topic more difficult to predict for the future.


After its April 17th vote, the Del Mar city council left interpretation of the ban lingering with a high degree of uncertainty. When does the ban take effect? Which city zones are outlawed? Might some seasonal rentals still be allowed? Who will enforce the ordinance? These and other questions have Del Mar residents scratching their heads about the actions while the city council is still scrambling to bring further definition to the issue.

The Development Services Department (DSD) is the current body exploring the details of what should be done within San Diego city limits. The full City Council is set to debate the issues again in late August when the DSD committed to coming back to the council with more details and recommendations. New rules for STRs went into effect in Carlsbad in February 2016, allowing them only in the “coastal zone” and La Costa Chateaus. Encinitas and Solana Beach, however, continue to be “STR friendly” but have specific regulations in place as to rental permitting, noise abatement, and quarterly payment of transient occupancy tax (TOT).


Whichever side you are on in the STR debate, one thing is for sure, the STR industry will continue to face regulation challenges in 2017 and into 2018 as it has over the past few years. It is also unlikely that there will be any new decisions anytime soon that clearly delineate between what is and what is not allowed in many of our communities. To further complicate matters, the topic of “house swapping” and “home sharing” (renting just a room or part of the house) are also becoming more and more popular and must be considered as part of the overall discussion and debate. Time will tell where things are headed and NCPG will do our best to keep you updated on all developments along the way!


Located in Del Mar, California, North County Property Group provides real estate sales & leasing,  property management, and vacation rental services in the various communities throughout the greater North County San Diego area (click here to see communities served). 

For more information about North County Property Group, visit http://www.ncpropertygroup.com, or contact the company at 445 Marine View Ave, Suite 240, Del Mar, CA 92014, USA; Tel: 858.792.5797; Fax: 619.878.6640; E-mail: info@ncpropertygroup.com to learn how we’re redefining real estate sales and leasing, property management, and vacation rentals in North County San Diego.

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