Vacation Rentals (STRO's) What You Need To Know for 2023 in San Diego

Real Estate Agent with Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 CA BRE# 01261476
Thank You Brenda Mayette for inspiring this post with your questions!
STRO's = Short-term Residential Occupancy Dwellings
This affects residential properties in the City of San Diego, not the County, so areas like Carlsbad, Chula Vista, Santee, that do not fall within the City of San Diego jurisdiction are so far exempt. In other words if you write San Diego on a letter to mail it, that property is subject to it.
For "Vacation Rentals" in the City San Diego (STRO's) located in the City of San Diego and rented out to Transient Guests for less than one month, beginning October 3, 2022 - must apply for and obtain a Transient Occupancy Registration Certificate.
They start enforcing this law in May 2023 though and no one knows how they will go about enforcing it in 2023 since it's so new and the industry so massive.
Also, if people are operating STRO's under the radar, they are at risk but probably harder to catch. I'm sure many who either apply and are denied or do not apply at all will take their chances. Others will apply and get licenses so in February 2023 it's business as usual and you should be fine.
We're taking bookings at our STRO confidently through May 2023 and then pausing bookings beyond until we sort out our STRO dwelling.
The official date of implementation is May 1, 2023.
A summary of what owners are applying for between Oct - Dec 2022
  • Tier 1 Licenses are required for owners that share their dwelling partially or simply only rent it completely out 20 days or less per year  and there are no license availability limits. You may live on or offsite.
  • Tier 2 for permanent resident hosts that live on site at least 275 days per year and only rent out rooms. You may live  offsite no more than 90 days per year and there are no license availability limits. The 90 days per year you live off site, hosts can rent the entire house. Duplexes and pre-2017 permitted ADU's qualify if an owner lives in one dwelling and STRO's the second unit.
    Triplexes and larger ones require additional owner-occupied hosts.
  • Tier 3 Licenses (the golden goose) Licenses are required for owners that live off site more than 20 days per year. Limited licenses to 1% of the total dwellings in The City of San Diego except Mission Beach which has its own limits separately.

Additional Resources:



Photo 1 by Frans van Heerden:
Photo 2 by Hoàng Chương:


Posted by

Thomas J. Nelson
REALTOR®, CRS, RCS-D, CDPE, e-Pro, Certified Military Home Specialist, Luxury Home Specialist, Author, Keynote Speaker and  Podcast Host 

Serving Coastal San Diego from Carlsbad to Coronado, Downtown, Balboa Park Area,
La Jolla/UCSD & Mission Bay Park Areas
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Disclaimer:  Nothing in this blog article is to be construed as legal advice, tax advice, medical advice or financial advice.  For legal advice see an attorney.   For tax advice, health or financial advice see a tax attorney, certified public accountant, or other qualified professional.

Comments (8)

Brenda Mayette
Miranda Real Estate Group, Inc. - Glenville, NY
Getting results w/ knowledge & know-how!

Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets is clearly THE resource for San Diego area real estate!  Thank you so much for the information/education today re: upcoming changes to the rental market out there.  Greatly appreciated! 

Nov 01, 2022 11:19 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

Brenda Mayette it was my pleasure to assist and shed some light on this often misunderstood new law in San Diego. This type of governing is happening in many cities throughout the country...local government wants their pierce of the pie and in our case in San Diego...they see to want it without considering the long term consequences to our housing market. They'll end up with less rentals, not more as many landlords like me seek other investment opportunities with less government involvement.

Nov 01, 2022 11:24 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Thomas - "local" makes a difference in real estate.  From education of the definition of the term to execution of the meaning once it is known.    

Nov 01, 2022 12:53 PM
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co Notary Services retired RE Broker

What a rats nest of legality Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets . I can not imagine what law enforcement agency would take this on willingly.

Nov 01, 2022 01:00 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Interesting. So if you are renting anything (a room in your house, rent rooms in a building you live in or rent a building you own but don't live in), you'll have to apply for a permit. I suspect this is a way to manage the number of rentals and a way to raise tax $$..  It sounds like someone will have a lot of work to do to process permit requests.

Nov 02, 2022 05:15 AM
Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

I remember you telling us about this at lunch.  I am glad that you blogged about it since everyone in the area needs to know what is going on!

Nov 02, 2022 05:44 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

Yes Kat Palmiotti they want their fees and taxes, they want to limit short-term rentals and they think they're adding supply to the inventory of rentals, when in fact it'll have the opposite affect and create less rentals and more sales.

Nov 02, 2022 10:11 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

Thank you Brian England -yes indeed a lot of misinformation to clear up out there LOL.

Nov 02, 2022 10:12 AM