Month: November 2023

Recent Regulations for Short-Term Rentals in Chula Vista

Short-term rentals, supported by online platforms such as Airbnb, have long been controversial. Travelers love them because they are often more affordable than hotels and give a sense of staying in a unique “home away from home.” However, they are not without their problems, and locals tend to look down on them. As their popularity has exploded, city governments have sought ways to rein them.

To this effect, the city of Chula Vista introduced a new set of regulations for short-term rentals that went into effect in 2022.


City officials recognized that STRs bring some significant benefits to the community. They allow residents to earn supplemental income, generate tax revenue, and bring visitors to Chula Vista that might otherwise stay in other parts of the San Diego metropolitan area. Despite this, they identified several areas of concern.

1. STRs can change the character of neighborhoods

STRs essentially turn houses and apartments into hotels, which can negatively affect neighbors. STR guests come and go at all hours, make more noise, generate more trash, and occasionally throw big parties on the property. Beyond this, significant portions of neighborhoods can be taken up with STRs to the point where permanent residents are in the minority.

2. Housing shortages

There is a severe shortage of housing in California cities. Renting out homes to short-term guests takes them off the market for residents. This squeezes the housing supply even more, driving up rental prices for everyone.

3. STR operators were not paying taxes

Existing law already required STR operators to register with the city and to collect and pay a Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) based on their revenue. Reviewing the situation, the city determined that, of approximately 350 STR operating within Chula Vista in 2021, only 125 were registered and paying taxes to the city.

The New Rules

In response to these concerns, Chula Vista passed an ordinance to limit the proliferation of short-term rentals and bolster enforcement of existing provisions. Here are some of the most important new regulations.

  • All STRs require a permit from the city
    On top of needing a business license, STR operators must receive a permit for each property. These permits must be renewed annually.
  • The permit applicant must reside within Chula Vista
    STR operators must have their primary residence within the city limits. “Primary residence” means they live there at least 275 days a year.
  • No more than two permits per operator
    Each person may get a permit to rent out their primary residence and one non-primary residence.
  • Rules on operation
    The law has various regulations on how STRs must be operated. This includes a mandatory quiet time from 10:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m., prominently displaying the operator’s business license, and promptly hauling away garbage.
  • Special permits for large events
    Before allowing the STR to be used for a large event, the operator must get a Short-Term Rental Event Permit. A maximum of 12 such permits will be granted annually for each STR.
  • Hosting platforms must collect taxes
    Platforms like Airbnb must automatically collect the Transient Occupancy Tax and remit it to the city.
  • De-listing noncompliant STRs
    Upon notice from the city that the property does not have a permit, hosting platforms must take down listings.

Get Help with Your Short-Term Rental

The Chula Vista Short-Term Rentals Ordinance is a comprehensive law that sets out many new requirements for STR operators. To successfully obtain a permit and avoid costly fines, you will need to understand all of these rules and navigate a complicated bureaucracy. 

Our attorneys have years of experience in the fields of business and real estate, and can help you keep your short-term rental business on the right side of the law. To schedule a consultation, contact our office today.

Understanding HOA Disputes in California: Common Issues and Solutions

It’s curious how something so innocuous-sounding as a homeowner association can be so provocative. Yet, mentioning an HOA is enough to throw some people into a frenzy. For them, the HOA is antithetical to the idea that people should be able to use their property however they see fit. Of course, HOA advocates would quickly point out that they are communal organizations that exist for the benefit of all the members, primarily by maintaining common areas and enforcing community standards that affect everyone’s property values.

With these contrasting positions, it’s easy to see how disputes can arise. Here are some of the most common issues that occur with HOAs and ways to resolve them.

Common Types of Disputes

1. Rejection of Architectural Plans

Depending on the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CCRs) of your HOA, new construction or renovations to the exterior of your home may be subject to the approval of the HOA. Having your carefully considered architecture plans rejected can be pretty frustrating, and it may seem as though the board is being inconsistent or over-controlling.

2. Imposition of Fines

HOA bylaws often allow the board to impose fines on members who fail to abide by the CCRs. On the one hand, the HOA does need to have teeth to enforce the community standards. On the other hand, some boards can get carried away with this, primarily when enforcement is managed by a private company that may have a financial incentive for collecting fines.

3. Failure of the Board to Perform Its Duties

HOA boards have several important duties. They may be responsible for maintaining public areas such as parks and playgrounds and paying property taxes for those lands. If the roads are privately owned, the HOA is likely responsible for their upkeep. Failure to do these things can create problems and even lead to legal action.

4. Misuse of HOA Funds

A homeowner association has a fiduciary duty to its members, and board members must, therefore, use the HOA’s money in a fiscally responsible way. Embezzling money would violate this duty, but things like granting HOA contracts to a board member’s family business or just being wasteful could also be violations.

Resolving Problems with the HOA

The best place to start when resolving an HOA issue is to do so informally; that is, just talk to the board members and/or homeowner without escalating the situation. After all, these people are your neighbors, so it’s better to get along with them as much as possible. Bring up your concerns and try to find common ground.

If that doesn’t work, the next step may be mediation or alternative dispute resolution. Mediation can be quite effective and is usually much quicker and cheaper than going to court. If you are a homeowner in dispute with the HOA, it’s probably best to consult with an attorney; the HOA likely already has a lawyer on retainer that will be present for the proceedings. 

If mediation does not resolve the problem, the only remaining recourse is to go to court. To go this route, you will want an attorney, and you should be prepared for a process that can take months or even years to finish.

Talk to an HOA Attorney

HOA disputes can be complex to resolve and often quite emotional as well. Meeting with an experienced HOA attorney will help you better understand your situation and protect your rights as a homeowner.

Our residential real estate attorneys have a deep understanding of this area of law and know how to bring HOA disputes to a fair resolution. Contact our office to schedule a consultation.