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Dennis Lofgren


Subject: I Support Short Term Rentals Just don’t use “Vacasa”

Dear Council,

My name’s Dennis Lofgren. I’m Director of Business Development for Southern California for Vacasa. Vacasa is the fastest growing privately owned vacation rental company in the United States, and the finest. We started in 2010 with a couple of homes in the Northwest and, as of this month, provide services for over 2000 homes in the US and also, now in San Diego.

I love hotels. I stay in them whenever I travel alone and for a short stay. The average hotel stay is 1.9 nights.  But whenever we travel as a family, we stay in a home that’s a short term rental. The average stay for a short term rental is 5.8 nights. Far and away it’s a better family experience and a better way to create lasting family memories.

Short-term rentals are vital to San Diego travel and tourism. They give visitors the ability to immerse themselves in unique accommodations in our vibrant and diverse neighborhoods.  As I said, those who stay in short-term rentals tend to stay longer and spend more money.

Families don’t want to stay in hotel rooms where parents can’t keep an eye on their kids. Families want a home experience where everybody lives together. Visiting San Diego is not like going to Vegas where you want to stay in a hotel. With our world famous zoo, Legoland, Sea World, beautiful beaches and perfect weather, San Diego is the ultimate family destination.

And most families who travel to Southern California want to split their precious getaway time between San Diego and Los Angeles with its own landmark destinations. Those families want short term rental  stays of 2-4 days in the San Diego region and then 2-4 days in the LA region.

As a family friendly destination San Diego needs to make short term rentals available for short terms. Those who advocate seven day minimums or longer will inevitably kill the tourism goose that lays the golden egg. With today’s social media and connected culture, people have limitless choices and, I kid you not, they will choose what works for them; and what they want are short term stays in neighborhood homes.

It’s also significant to recognize that people from all over the US, and all over the world, choose California to buy a second home. Because San Diego has the best weather in America, many invest here. This is not their primary home, this is a secondary home they frequent when they want to. And, as Vacasa knows, when they aren’t using it, they want to rent it. It profits them and it profits our city. It’s a win – win for all involved: our homeowners, our tourists, and our town.

San Diego has so much to offer travelers, more than most any destination in the world. This Council has the opportunity to provide leadership and clarity in its support of this new innovative, shared economy.  This includes the platform of short-term vacation rentals.

The Council’s proposed regulations ought to require short-term rental operators to register with the city, apply for a permit, and pay any applicable taxes. The proposal should also ensure local residents have a formalized avenue for any potential issues arising from rentals in the community.  It ought not to be restrictive in its laws. Austin, Texas is an excellent example of how to manage short term rentals, maximize tourism, and bring in beneficial taxes.

San Diego has so much to offer. In representing our city, this Council has the unique opportunity to recognize the value and benefits of short-term rentals – not only for our citizen providers, but for tourists and the enormous positive impact these visitors have on our local economy. In our new shared and connected world, short term rentals are the future of tourism.

Thank you.

Dennis Lofgren

Lois Shafer


Dear Mr. Ly:

Thank you for your quick response.  I do wish that I could attend and I would love to speak, but we are out of town until the 4th of June.  Did not realize soon enough that there would be a meeting in time to change our schedule.  I do feel that this issue is so important as it will definitely impact San Diego’s image as a vacation spot.  It’s rather like the state of Washington a few years ago when it was purported that a sign was up at their border that said:  “Welcome to Washington!  Now, go home!”  Humorous, but with a punch.

San Diego is a jewel.  There are always those who will not obey rules and cause problems for the multitudes.  To me, the issue of two garbage pick-ups a week in the summer, of reining in the gleaners who pick through our garbage and enhance the fly fodder at the bottom of the cans, and of student (long-term, September to May) renters who have no respect for their neighbors and foul the air far more greatly on a very regular basis than the sweet families who visit and love the beach and who generally go to bed at a decent hour, are far greater problems than any short-term renters I’ve experienced since 1984.  The beach is, well, the beach.  It is Brooklyn at the beach with all the joys of living under each other’s noses, a mere ten feet from window to window. There has to be a certain give and take, but with the parameters wisely set up in the guise of city ordinances.

Got away from myself there.  Would appreciate it if you’d pass my thoughts on to the mayor and the council members.

Thank you for your kind words.

Respectfully,

Lois Shafer