Ten years ago, most of the housing on the boardwalk in Mission Beach was old apartment complexes filled with college students. When the locals took a bike ride on the boardwalk we would stop along the way and talk with our neighbors.
Just before the housing meltdown in 2008, many of those complexes were torn down and replaced by what was intended to be millionaires’ townhouses. When it became apparent that millionaires were too smart to pay $2.1 million for a two-bedroom-one-bath townhouse with one parking space, all of those new houses became vacation rentals.
The entire atmosphere of Mission Beach changed from being a community (with some summer rentals) to a place where you never see the same person twice. And all of those beautiful college-age girls who used to live in M.B. are gone forever.
Pacific Beach was spared this tragedy because it was harder to do a summer rental. In Mission Beach there are several large companies handling the rentals, whereas in Pacific Beach it was more difficult to advertise a rental. Craigslist was about the only way to let the world know about that week you would be out of town and maybe pick up a few extra bucks by doing a short-term rental.
Airbnb has changed all of that. The amount of money a landlord can make from doing short-term vacation rentals is so much more than what they can make doing a six- or twelve-month lease.
Ocean Spray is a small, 13-unit condominium complex in North Pacific Beach. It has two buildings and a swimming pool between them. When visitors walk into the complex, the first words that come to mind are “Melrose Place.” At one time most of the units were owner-occupied, but over the past several years only two owners live there full-time.
The homeowners’ association states in the rules and regulations that Ocean Spray is for long-term residents only. Theoretically, the minimum lease is for 30 days.
Last month, two strangers showed up in one of the empty units. They stayed for two days. Then another couple of strangers showed up for two days. That is when we checked Airbnb and, sure enough, that unit was renting out on a daily basis for $133 a night.
The Ocean Spray homeowners’ association immediately took action and reminded the owner that short-term rentals under one month (which should be six months) are not allowed under our rules and regulations.