Short Term Rentals
WHAT ARE SHORT TERM RENTALS (STRs)?
STRs are visitor accommodations (commercial activity) in a dwelling unit where the unit as a whole is rented for less than 30 consecutive days.
EXISTING REGULATIONS FOR SHORT TERM RENTALS (STRs)
Currently, short term rental operations are only permitted in the Residential-Commercial (RC) zone and the Visitor Commercial (VC) zone and where otherwise provided for by development entitlement (i.e. Wave Crest Time Shares, Hotel Specific Plan, and the 941 Camino Del Mar Specific Plan). STRs are not permitted in residential zones. New regulations are in process. View the frequently asked questions (PDF) handout.
HAS THE CITY’S ALLOWANCE FOR STRs RECENTLY CHANGED?
No. The status of the City’s existing zoning regulations applicable to STRs has not changed. STRs in place prior to April 2016 will continue to be eligible for the City’s temporary delay of enforcement (forbearance period). New STRs currently are not permitted in residential zones pursuant to the Del Mar Municipal Code (DMMC) and certified Local Coastal Program. This means that any STR operations that begin on or after April 4, 2016, are not eligible for the forbearance period and will be subject to immediate enforcement in accordance with the DMMC as complaints are filed with City Code Enforcement.
STR REGULATIONS - IN PROCESS (awaiting resolution of various legal challenges)
On Monday, November 6, 2017, the City Council adopted an Ordinance to establish new regulations for short term rentals (rentals less than 30 consecutive days). View the adopted ordinance (PDF).
Visit the City’s agenda center to view the staff reports and correspondence for the October 16 Ordinance introduction hearing and November 6 second reading/adoption of the Ordinance.
Under the adopted Ordinance, STRs will be allowed in the Residential-Commercial (RC) zone, Visitor-Commercial (VC), and other commercial zones without limit. In residential zones, the use of a dwelling unit as an STR will be allowed as an accessory use subject to a requirement to register with the City and limitations including a maximum of 28 days per calendar year (per unit) and a minimum stay of seven (7) consecutive days. Similar short term commercial activity in a dwelling unit (i.e. home sharing and commercial home exchange) will be regulated the same way.
On June 7, 2018 the California Coastal Commission conditionally certified the City’s Short Term Rental Ordinance/Local Coastal Program Amendment with modifications. (The conditional approval expired on December 13, 2019).
On July 16, 2018, the City Council voted 3-2 to seek a writ of mandate asking the Court to clarify the Coastal Commission’s authority over local land use and zoning matters. The rationale stated was that the issue of control over land use in Del Mar’s residential neighborhoods needs to be resolved as soon as possible in order to achieve what is best for Del Mar.
For reference the Coastal Commission staff report - Item Th14d (PDF) is available for review as well as the City’s submitted correspondence to the Coastal Commission.
WHAT IS A FORBEARANCE PERIOD?
A forbearance period is a temporary delay in enforcement action for qualifying STR operations that pre-dated the City’s 2016 moratorium.
FORBEARANCE PERIOD- Applies to short term rental operations prior to April 4, 2016
While the adopted STR Ordinance and the associated legal challenges in process remain unresolved, the “forbearance period” provides a transitional period to temporarily delay enforcement action against existing, non-conforming STRs that were established prior to April 4, 2016, to allow affected owners time to come into compliance with the STR regulations in effect when the forbearance period ends.
New STRs in residential zones are not permitted under the existing code, are not eligible for the forbearance period, and will be subject to immediate enforcement.
Please view Resolution 2018-61 adopted September 4, 2018 (PDF), for additional information related to the forbearance period currently in effect. On February 3, 2020, the Council will consider whether to extend the forbearance period for one year due to the unresolved status of the City’s Ordinance and the associated legal challenges in process.
Violations of Existing Code
To report a complaint about a short-term rental that is potentially in violation, 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.