How Airbnb is ruining Pacific Beach

Two strangers showed up at Ocean Spray last month
  • Two strangers showed up at Ocean Spray last month

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.

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I'm sure lots of people would say MB was "ruined" by apartments stuffed full of drunk college kids. "What happened to the families, oh it's so terrible, we used to be able to play cribbage with the Joneses on our patio and it was so wonderful until those awful apartments came in!"

The idea that it's better to have "long term renters" who are partying all night and puking in the alleys is better than nasty "short term" vacationers who are paying a premium is ludicrous. If you want to decide how the property is being used, buy it!

In a few years, there'll be some new phenomenon to bemoan, and people will be longing for the good ol' days when AirBNB was all they had to complain about.

I agree with all of you...and that includes Jnojr. Uhmmm I'm not sure what happened to the rest of the story....but it sure looks as though someone got busy and sent it in like this. Shame, really. Anyways.....who cares? M.B. is still a decent area....the rentals bring income into S.D. so why gripe and complain? Quit finding things to complain about...and live & let live.

This is the most incomplete piece of journalism I've ever come across.

What really drives families and other "locals" out of MB and PB is parking and traffic. It takes a lot of patience and planning to live there if you have a job in another part of the county. In that respect, AirBNB actually can help the parking dilemma because the people that rent out units by the day or week and probably not always booked, so there is a free parking space during those uninhabited periods.

From the author: The last few sentences were left off the story: .... Imagine if all of the owners decided to change to vacation rentals. That would be the end of the community at Ocean Spray. In fact, all of Pacific Beach is at risk. The amount of money is enough to sway any financially astute landlord. That is why we need new regulations in P.B. concerning short term vacation rentals, if we ever hope to keep Pacific Beach what it is – a great place to live, not just visit.

But isn't this the capitalism that everyone so admires? As long as money can be made the consequences to people and neighborhoods mean nothing.

For the past 20yrs or so, I have lived in a house that I own in OB. I have gone OUT of my way to be a kind, considerate neighbor. Even calling people and banging on doors, to warn them about moving their cars for street sweeping, so they didn't get a ticket. For 15yrs, I paid for a "dusk-to-dawn" light through SDG&E, which was mounted on the telephone pole, in front of my house, prior to the utilities being put underground, that benefited everyone.Thanks to ME, a street light is now there. I pick up bag loads FULL of the most disgusting trash imaginable daily, as I walk my dogs around the block. In return, I have had one of the trees in my backyard killed, another poisoned and is dying, by a neighbor who didn't want to sweep up leaves--but of course it's okay for ME to pick up leaves from the tree on his property. I now have absolutely NO privacy and my backyard is more or less useless, since I am surrounded by 2-story houses with balconies. All of my solar lights and various other lawn decorations, that I had in my front yard were stolen, over the past 2yrs, again by another trashy neighbor. Who then proceeded to steal expensive wheel hubs off of my car ($75 each), once I put up an $800 fence, to keep him out. And my car has also been vandalized numerous times, as has my retaining wall, by disrespectful drunks. So, I am supposed to be concerned with the "consequences," to these people, IF and WHEN I decide to turn my house into a vacay rental, make a profit from my investment and go live elsewhere? I don't think so.

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