By John P. Anderson
As the Airbnb debate continues in San Diego, I found it interesting to receive a warning letter from my previous apartment manager, Torrey Pines Property Management this week informing tenants that using sites like Airbnb is not allowed in the buildings they manage.
I contacted Torrey Pines and was informed that this is a proactive measure to avoid issues in future, not in response to issues that have occurred. Good for them for taking a proactive, informative approach to the issue.
I wanted to share this since there are likely many San Diegans that would like to utilize sites like Airbnb to rent a spare room, or their apartment while they are out of town. If you rent a property, or live in a building or community with an HOA it is important to check the terms or covenants, conditions, and restrictions before trying to host a guest on these platforms. Note that this may also be the case even if you’re not receiving money by using a site like HomeExchange or Couchsurfing.
In addition to issues with your landlord, renting a room in your apartment or home is currently illegal in the City of San Diego and you may be liable for tens of thousands of dollars in fines as a woman in Burlingame has found out.
To date, this is the only penalty of this sort in San Diego but the Code Enforcement Division will be responding to complaints about this sort of use in the future and I assume pursuing violators with the same vigor as the Burlingame case. Per conversations with Code Enforcement any enforcement will be complaint-driven – they won’t be using the publicly accessible information on sites like Airbnb and VRBO to identify potential violations.
If your lease doesn’t allow you to host on Airbnb but you think it would be beneficial try talking to your landlord. Some landlords are willing to allow the use if you agree to take liability for any issues caused or may be willing to allow it for an increase in your rent payments. I know a couple of people personally using this approach, and in San Francisco it worked out for a couple as well.
Kelsey and Mike Sheofsky achieved that balance. The couple travel frequently for Shelter Co., their luxury-camping business. They had dabbled with the idea of listing their Mission District house on Airbnb. Then their landlord approached them.
“She said, ‘What do you think about Airbnb-ing your place when you’re gone?’ ” Kelsey Sheofsky said. “I thought, ‘Perfect, we’re ready to go.’ Now we do it, and we give her a 20 percent cut of any money we make after cleaning expenses. Some months we give her an extra 600 bucks.”
Your landlord may or may not be open to Airbnb – make sure you are informed and if you have a question make sure to ask.
Below is the letter from Torrey Pines in full.
The increasingly popular site airbnb.com where individuals can post short-term, vacation rentals is a growing concern for Landlords in San Diego due to the noise, strain on resources, and lack of regard for the property that comes from using any residence as a “Hotel” or “Bed and Breakfast”.
We would like to take this opportunity to remind our valued Residents that posting your apartment on this, or a similar site is considered a breach of contract and could result in legal action including eviction from the premises.
We take this matter very seriously and will be moving forward with legal action should your unit be located on a listing site for the purpose of subletting without our expressed written consent. Please contact your Property Manager if you have any questions or wish to report suspect or known violations.