The San Juan Daily Star
San Juan passes ordinance for regulation of short-term rentals
By The Star Staff
The city of San Juan on Wednesday passed an ordinance regulating short-term rental spaces in San Juan, but not limiting their quantity.
San Juan Mayor Miguel Romero Lugo said the ordinance creates a short-term rental registry and is expected to strengthen security, residential coexistence, infrastructure management and planning in the Capital City.
The ordinance does not limit the number of short-term rentals proliferating in the capital city at a time when certain sectors have blamed this type of business for creating a shortage of affordable housing and long-term leases.
According to the ordinance, short-term rental properties will have to pay for the yearly rights to obtain and maintain a license to operate. For instance, a shared residence unit will make a non-refundable annual payment of $100; a non-shared residential unit will pay $500 annually and a furnished and regular housing unit will also pay $500 per year.
The ordinance establishes certain requirements to obtain a license, such as having a single permit from the Permitting Office; the cadastral number of the property; a sworn statement establishing that the property is in compliance with restrictive conditions, a master deed and/or regulations; and be current on all property taxes to the Municipal Revenue Collections Center.
To obtain a license, applicants must not hold commercial events within the rental properties and must maintain peace and order in the residential area. Violators could face fines, and the funds raised will go to cover the costs of setting up the licensing system and the costs of supervision at the Permit Office and the Finance Office.
“It is a priority that this regulation harmonizes the activity within short-term rentals with their community environment, allowing orderly urban growth,” Romero Lugo said in a written statement.
He emphasized that the regulation will guarantee economic development, tourism and the citizen’s right to generate additional income through the use of his or her properties. He assured that the health and safety of guests who choose San Juan as a vacation destination will be protected.
The regulation, applicable to any person who operates a short-term rental business within the limits of San Juan, enters into force 10 days after notification of the approval of the ordinance. It will affect both individuals and the digital platforms used to advertise and facilitate rentals.
“In the Municipality, we recognize that the collaborative economy is part of the future of economic development,” the mayor said. “We have the duty to deal with those situations where an imbalance could occur between the establishment of a short-term rental and community coexistence.”
According to AirDNA data, as of November 2022, San Juan had close to 3,792 active rentals between the Airbnb and Vrbo platforms alone.
Of those, 3,225 are rental properties in their entirety, such as houses and apartments. In addition, about 493 are rooms within a residence in which the owner lives. Some 74 short-term rentals are shared rooms.
The average rate per night is around $151, which represents a median monthly income by the hosts of $2,434 per year.