Clearing up Prop. J myths

By Peter Sertic

Resident, Del Mar

It is with a great deal of interest that I have noticed the proliferation of “NO on Prop. J” signs in the Beach Colony area. Most noteworthy is that many these signs are on property that also have signs advertising short-term rentals. This should not be surprising since these are properties which are in the business of generating income from short-term rentals.

I think that it should be clearly recognized that short-term renters are, in fact, a business and therefore should be treated like a business. Why should anyone renting a duplex on Coast Boulevard be treated differently than someone renting a suite at L’Aurberge? They receive the same amenities for the city and should have the same responsibilities of paying a tax on their rental.

I think that one should look at some of the myths perpetrated by supporters of " No on Prop J.”

  • “Temporary visitors replace existing owners, therefore are adding to the user count on those facilities"(referring to beaches and parks) — Dennis Mulligan, DM Times
  • “Residents who rent their homes ... do so because they need the income to help pay their mortgage or property taxes.” — Lucille Lindsey, DM Times

Knowing the rentals in my beach colony neighborhood and a sampling of properties on VRBO show that a majority of the units for rent are not owner-occupied, but are units that sit empty except when occupied by renters? The above arguments are not pertinent because they argue for a type of rental property (owner occupied) that while it exists is certainly not the majority in this area.

  • “We as a community will regret that we changed the codes to allow homes to become hotels in all our neighborhoods.” — Herschel Price, DM Times

Rentals in our neighborhoods already exist. Prop. J does nothing to change that, it only asks that the renters pay their fair share.

  • “Hotel revenues are down and therefore hotel tax receipts to our city have diminished considerably.” Herschel Price, DM Times

This seems to be a perfect argument for taxing the short-term renters who had the option of staying a hotel.
Let’s keep in mind that we all live in Del Mar because we find it a unique and pleasant place to live and we pay a premium to live here. Short-term renters are no different and they too will pay a premium to live here.

I urge the voters of Del Mar to approve Proposition J and let all the visitors to our community pay their fair share.