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San Diego rescinds tough Airbnb regulations, reopening debate on how to rein in short-term rentals

Faced with a referendum seeking to repeal San Diego’s new restrictions on short-term rentals, the City Council did just that on Monday, but left open the question of how it will regulate home sharing in the future.

The council Monday afternoon had only two choices before it — repeal the regulations it initially approved in July and reaffirmed in August or put the question before the electorate in a future election. The effect of the council action is to once again leave San Diego in limbo on the long debated question of who can rent out homes for periods of less than 30 days, an increasingly common practice popularized by online platforms like Airbnb and HomeAway. 

The council vote to rescind the short-term rental legislation was 8-1, with Councilwoman Lorie Zapf dissenting. Zapf had supported taking the matter to the voters.

“I was not elected to represent the interests of out-of-town investors and I will not let corporate interests with a lot of money bully me into rescinding this ordinance,” said Zapf, who represents the beach communities that have been most affected by the proliferation of vacation rentals. “I just feel we worked too hard on this issue. There is no guarantee a compromise will be reached any time soon or ever.”