Residents say short-term rentals ruining Pacific Beach neighborhoods
Published - 03/26/15 - 12:00 PM | 8048 views | 3 3 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Residents are weighing in on recently passed restrictions advocated by the Pacific Beach Planning Group (PBPG), and the general consensus is that problems with short-term vacation rentals (STVRs) are real and that much more needs to be done to address them.

Recently at a special community hearing following a series of committee meetings on the subject, PBPG voted in favor of requiring permits with conditions for all STVRs, creating a minimum 30-day rental duration in single-family zones and providing enhanced enforcement of noise complaints.

“Every week for the last eight years I have been subjected to a variety of short-stay renters, anywhere from one night to five nights, who party, have loud music, leave their lights on facing my house all night long, have fights, screaming babies, barking unattended dogs, loud fraternity-type parties with large amounts of alcohol, etc.,” said Eva Skinner, who lives in a single-family zoned area on Oliver Avenue.

“I have asked my neighbor if he can ask the renters to be quiet … After one complaint my neighbor said, ‘Well, the house is on the market and I hope when it sells you have a new buyer who is worse for you and hopefully your situation will be more painful.’”

Melanie Menders, who said she lives within one block of nine STVRs in an RS-zoned neighborhood in PB, said she’s had a “uniformly negative” experience with them.

“We bought a home in this residential area with the expectation of a quiet and stable neighborhood where we could raise our son, know our neighbors and get up early and go to work each day (we are not on vacation) … Our neighborhood met our expectations until properties by us started turning into vacation rentals.

“I’m tired of these properties being rented for $3,000-$5,000 per week to large numbers of unrelated adults,” added Menders. “They party as hard as they can: Loud music, lots of alcohol, beer pong, yelling and fighting inside the house and in the front and backyards at all hours throughout the week.

“The cops are too busy to respond, and the owners/property managers, if you can figure out who they are and how to contact them, are often unresponsive. Vacation rentals are incompatible with RS zones.”

According to research from Pacific Beach resident Marcie Beckett, there has been a 646 percent increase from 2007 to 2015 of vacation rental houses in single-family zones in PB.

She writes that in a comparison of 2007 to 2015 searches of for vacation rentals in Pacific Beach, the number of vacation rental by owner (VRBO) vacation rentals in PB went from 63 in June 2007 to 325 in February 2015; and the number of VRBO vacation rental houses in PB went from 15 in June 2007 to 112 in February 2015.

“The rapid proliferation observed in vacation rentals is probably also occurring in overall vacation rentals in Pacific Beach,” Beckett added.

“We have had many negative experiences due to the vacation rental next door to our house,” said Kathy Miller Gray, a chiropractor with an office on Lamont Street.

“We have experienced constant noise through the day and night, loud music, profane language, excessive trash and cigarette and pot smoke blowing into our yard. We have to keep our three children out of our backyard in many instances to avoid the rude vacation renters.”

Miller Gray said one vacation renter went so far as to urinate in the front yard in the middle of the day, and when her neighbor confronted him, he said “F__ you, you old hag.”

“Clearly vacation rentals do not belong in single-family zones,” Miller Gray said.

Phil Sokol, who has lived on Reed Avenue for 17 years, said a nearby neighbor left town last spring and turned his home into a vacation rental with “disastrous results.”

“All throughout the spring, summer and much of the fall, a rotating group of up to 10 (or more) people were at the house every week, sometimes for the full week, but often for only a few days,” Sokol said. Pool parties would turn into afternoon/evening barbecues and would then go on late into the night or more accurately into the morning. “Over the course of just this one season, I personally had to call the police on eight separate occasions — and I was gone most of July.”

Sokol added the property’s "managers" did not provide any assistance. “Calls, texts, and messages would go unanswered or would only elicit a half-hearted ‘sorry’ (via text message) the following day,” he said.

“There was no supervision or accountability at all,” continued Sokol. “The police were no help. In fact, I had several 2 a.m. discussions with dispatchers about the lack of resources available to deal with this problem. Noise complaints have a low priority, and even with multiple calls, it would sometimes be hours before the police would respond, if they responded at all.”

Police have said repeatedly they presently are seriously understaffed and that they respond to calls of noise and similar complaints at neighborhood homes as quickly as possible but that those calls are low priority, which means it takes extra time to respond to them, especially during busy summertimes.

“If we want to save our neighborhoods and our quality of life, we have to sacrifice our time to attend public meetings and speak out on the issue,” posted Marcella Teran on

Committee meeting on vacation rentals

At 9 a.m. on April 22 the issue of short-term vacation rentals will go before the Smart Growth and Land Use Committee of the City Council. It will be held in the committee room on the 12th floor at 202 C St. around the corner from City Council Chambers.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
March 27, 2015
Eva Skinner, it sounds like you have a very uncooperative and unfriendly neighbor. The owner is the problem, not the fact that there are short term rentals. Good owners/neighbors engage in good vetting and neighbor practices to do their best that short term, or long term guests for that matter, don't impose on fellow members of the community.

I represent an organization in Los Angeles trying to grasp with the same issues that are being dealt with not only in Pacific Beach. We have a lot of push back in beach communities like Venice. Like in Pacific Beach, many of the issues are from bars, those who migrate to the area and issues that have arisen long before online portals. Mind you not before short term rentals, which have been around as long as every one of those homes by the beach.

The answer is isn't eliminating short term rentals, but reasonably seeing their being fully incorporated into the economy so that all gain the most benefit. Short term rentals can generate considerable TOT revenue for communities. It generates sales tax revenue with increased tourism and other travel. It increases employment. Limiting the number of days of short term rentals only limits potential benefits. It doesn't help anyone ultimately and can severely hurt some. Keep in mind, some are resorting to this to keep their home; whether they are renting a room within it or the place itself. Others have built this as their livelihood in a far more challenging time to be an entrepreneur.

Robert St.Genis

Director of Operations, LASTRA

March 27, 2015
IMO, the root cause of the chronic disorder in Pacific Beach is the high concentration of bars. This is the larger problem, of which short term rentals are only a tiny part.

Long term rentals on my street have been the source of many visits by the police to corral drunken, braying and vomiting men and women.

The short term rentals on my street are very quiet and cause no problems.

The web site details the DUI arrests by date, time and month. Note these facts do not support the argument against short term rentals. These facts reinforce the fact that people come to the beach bars are not residents nor short term renters.

Unscrupulous property managers willingly rent to anybody with money. This includes a dozen spring-break types looking to trash a house for a week. Rowdy types are intentionally allowed into these rental homes by a lack of screening. All they need provide is the money.

My property is routinely damaged by drunks and bums who urinate on my house and fence. This occurs at 9am on their way to the beach, as well as on the way home from the bars. Homeless bums sleep in my alley constantly, forage through the trash, and make a huge mess. One got into my garage, and set my garage on fire with a candle. In his drunken stupor, he destroyed my overhead garage door trying to get out of the burning garage because the fire blocked the doorway.

The sidewalk in front of Ralphs's grocery store looks and smells like 50 years of urine at Coney Island. The streets are trashed, and full of gum. Litter is everywhere. Bums litter the lawn of the public library. They haunt the restaraunts, wash in the lavatories, and pan handle patrons for spare change. Our community looks like a slum.

The police do nothing because they are "overworked and understaffed". Why the police tolerate this is beyond my comprehension.

A small group of short term renters garners all the negative attention. There are plenty of Senior groups, and responsible families that quietly visit PB without causing distress.

Passing a restrictive ordinance on what I can do with our family home will wind up in court as a violation of my property rights.

A 30 day minimum is total folly, and only serves to prevent a home owner from the use of his property.

As usual, I suspect an underlying motivator behind restricting short term rentals. These would be the commercial hotels and other rental interests that want to eliminate competition for their rental spaces. Follow the money.

In summary, the bars are the root cause of the problem in PB. The bars attract the riff-raff that drives drunk, urinates and vomits in public, and starts fights. Short term rentals are entirely under the control of their respective property managers.

Joe Smo
May 04, 2017
Not True. Short term rentals are a BIG problem in many communities in CA. A little research on what Santa Monica, Del Mar and SF have done to curtail the neighborhood and property value destroying greedy investment realtor/mangers/"owners", tertells it all.
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