Short-Term Residential Rentals


On December 5, 2016, the City Council adopted a new, Urgency Ordinance Imposing a Temporary Moratorium on the use of Residential Property within the City of Del Mar for Short-Term Rental Housing and Excluding Current Such Uses, no. 925. The Urgency Ordinance was subsequently extended by the City Council on December 19, 2016 for a maximum of one year and 45 days from the expiration date of January 19, 2017.

In response to resident concerns that a growing number of short-term rentals being operated in the City may be having a negative impact on community welfare, the City Council established the moratorium (Ordinance 913) on April 4, 2016 and subsequently extended it on May 16, 2016 and October 17, 2016. The concerns raised include: increased noise and trash, loss of on-street parking, loss of housing opportunities, and changes in neighborhood character when a structure is used by visitors in "vacation mode."

The Urgency Ordinances were approved to allow time for staff research, public workshops, and the development of potential Municipal Code amendments to address the topic of short-term rentals on a long-term basis.

The Urgency Ordinance exempts short-term rentals that were in existence prior to the Monday, April 4, 2016 ordinance adoption date. Owners and property managers of short-term rentals should not submit any information to the City at this time; rather, they should have evidence of short-term rental readily operation available, should there be a concern as to whether a property is being used as a short-term rental in violation of the moratorium. The types of information that may be used to document an “existing” short-term rental are included in Urgency Ordinance No. 925, under Section 2 – Applicability (Subsection B). 

Key Points of the Ordinance

  • The ordinance imposes a temporary ban on any new use of residential property for a short-term rental (any property that is rented out for a period of less than 30 days) - after April 14, 2016.
  • The ordinance does not limit or stop current short-term rental uses, provided that the operators of such businesses can provide evidence satisfactory to the Planning Director that the property was used as a short-term rental before adoption of the ordinance.
  • The urgency ordinance will provide time for the City staff for performing research, gain public input and, based on the information gathered, draft new zoning regulations concerning short-term rentals. 

Important Dates

On January 17,2017, the City Council considered a request for a referral to the Planning Commission for an Interpretation pursuant to DMMC 30.01.020 to determine whether Short Term Rentals are an allowed use under the Municipal Code with the City of Del Mar’s Residential Zones.  The City Council
voted 4-1 (Sinnott opposed) in support of staff’s recommendation to refer the subject matter to the Planning Commission to make an interpretation in accordance with DMMC 30.01.020, Interpretation of Provisions.

On Tuesday, February 14, 2017, the Planning Commission heard the Interpretation of the Short Term Rental Use and was asked to make a determination as to whether or not Short Term Rental Use is an allowed use in residential zones under the existing DMMC. Two motions were made, one of which passed. The first motion was that the Commission finds that Short Term Rentals (STRs) are an allowable use.  Following much discussion, there was a call for the question and a vote was taken.  This motion failed 2 - 3.
Discussion ensued as to how the DMMC can be interpreted.  There was concern that since STRs were not listed in the code, Commissioners had nothing to interpret and therefore cannot say if STRs were permitted or not permitted.  Commissioners expressed that they were asked to interpret something that is not there to interpret and they should instead be interpreting code that addresses STRs (referenced ordinances of other cities).
A new motion was made by several commissioners.   “It (STR’s) is not in the code; therefore we cannot come to a conclusion.”   This motion passed 3 – 2 and the meeting was adjourned by the Chair.  

The City of Del Mar received appeals of the Planning Commission’s recent decision regarding Interpretation, I17-001.  The Initial Consideration of the appeal will be scheduled for City Council on 
March 20, 2017.

On March 20, 2017, the City Council initially considered an appeal of the Del Mar Planning Commission’s determination regarding Short Term Rentals (I17-001), and set the matter for a public hearing on April 17, 2017. The meeting will be held in the City Council Chambers located at 2010 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Suite 100, Del Mar, CA 92014, and will begin at 6 p.m. The agenda packet for the April 17, 2017, Council meeting will be posted and available for public review on Tuesday, April 11, 2017.

In accordance with Del Mar Municipal Code Section 1.12.060, the City Council shall consider the appeal documentation, staff report, and any other written or oral comments from members of the public. Please note that Mayor Sinnott requested that all red dot communications submitted to the City Council for the initial consideration be carried forward as part of the record for the public hearing, so this documentation does not need to be resubmitted.

On April 17,2017, the City Council made a motion that stated that under the existing Municipal Code Short-Term Rentals are not a permitted use in the residential zones except in the residential commercial zone.
This Motion passed with a 4-1 vote, with Mayor Sinnott opposed.

Community Workshops

Workshops or other public meetings may be utilized to facilitate discussion about short-term residential rentals. To be notified about upcoming meetings, interested parties may register here.

Violations of Temporary Moratorium

To report a complaint about a short-term rental that is potentially in violation of the ordinance, please complete the Code Enforcement Complaint Form. Once a violation complaint is received, staff will perform an investigation and report back to the complainant on the status of the investigation.

Hotline 858 755 9342     submit complaint