Updated: Apr 11, 2020
I became an active participant in the STR issue in Mission Beach in 2016. Jeannie and I had lived in South Mission Beach since 1974. Our first place was a summer-winter rental at the corner of Ocean Front Walk and Dover Court. We lived there for a year and a half, although we did move out in the summer months, and purchased a place on Avalon Court in 1976. There were roughly 400-500 summer-winter rentals in Mission Beach at the time and these rentals were part of the culture of the community. Virtually all of these summer-winter rentals were on the beach and bay boardwalks.
But that changed markedly beginning in the early two-thousands as we began to see the short term rentals begin to creep into the courts. And then in about 2010, with the introduction of the platforms, the number began to skyrocket. These were not just summer rentals. These were being rented out year round. As the numbers increased, the number of vacant STRs during the low season in the wintertime also began to increase.
The picture below shows a couple of key points. First, Mission Beach is more than saturated with short term rentals. Vacation rental management companies, like 710 Beach Rentals, would love it if 100 percent of Mission Beach were short term rentals. Second, note the large range in occupancy from the peak of summer to the lowest time in the winter months, from 87 percent down to 45 percent. The bottom line is that we have a lot of empty dwellings in the winter months when we have a critical housing storage. And in the summer time, we must be the poster child for over-tourism gentrification. The number of long term renters who have been evicted so that the units could be converted to short term rentals is criminal.
As I said, I have been involved since 2016, but there are some in La Jolla and pacific Beach who have been fighting short term rentals in residential neighborhoods since 2007. Many of these residents are members of Save San Diego Neighborhoods. Fighting short term rentals, and really it means fighting the platforms and the vacation rental management companies, Sea Breeze and 710, as well takes a lot of endurance and is a lot like running a marathon.
I know what this is like since I ran one marathon under some challenging conditions for someone who trained in warm sunny conditions of San Diego. If I ever feel like it is time to give up on the STR fight, I think back at this marathon. If I could get through that effort, then I feel confident that we can outlast them.
While the COVID-19 coronavirus is something we would never intentionally wish for at anytime, it is here and if there is a silver lining in the COVID cloud, it is that it is having a devastating impact on STRs worldwide. Short term rentals have been characterized in many ways, one being that it is an insidious virus. It is almost ironic, one virus killing off another.