Family sues mayor over short-term rentals

SAN DIEGO - A Crown Point family says their neighborhood is being overrun by short term vacation rentals - and they've had enough. 

Now, they're taking an unusual step to put them to a stop - suing San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith. 

Bill Vail says he misses the old days.

"People used to go around and sell their girl scout cookies, and we'd help each other," he said. "We'd borrow tools from each other. It's a neighborhood."

But now, many of his neighbors keep changing - sometimes daily - because a growing number of homes on his Crown Point block are strictly short term vacation rentals.

"You never know what you're going to get," Vail said. "You might get a nice, quiet family for several days. But then you might get a bachelor party."

But Vail says it doesn't matter who is in the rentals, because he says they're illegal. It's a conclusion he made after combing through the city's municipal code. But he says city officials aren't being responsive, so this month he filed a lawsuit against Faulconer and Goldsmith. He wants money, and a ban. 

The Mayor's office referred 10News to the city attorney. A spokesman for the City Attorney noted that the City Council directed its staff to come up with new rules to regulate the rentals earlier this month. He said Goldsmith understands Vail's frustration, but also that the lawsuit is frivolous. 

But not all homeowners want the short-term rentals to go away.

"It gives us the flexibility to use the property in ways that otherwise we wouldn't be able to use," said Jeff MacGurn, who rents out his second home on Airbnb.

One neighbor in Crown Point who also rents out his home called the whole issue overblown. But Vail says residential neighborhoods should be just that - for residents.

"It's where people live, so it's just so much more than just a noise thing," he said. 

And he hopes to be heard loud and clear in a courtroom.


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