City of Los Angeles fails to shut down noisy, illegal Airbnbs – NBC Los Angeles

On a tree-lined block of Orange Street in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, most apartments are rent-controlled units with longtime residents, except for the lower level of a two-bedroom duplex. Doors by Scott Frank.

“There are a lot of people coming and going all the time, there are a lot of unknown people in the neighborhood,” Frank told the I-Team. “It’s definitely a nuisance.”

That’s because the unit a few doors down from where Frank and his wife live with their young daughter is an illegal Airbnb.

It’s illegal because it’s not registered with the city, as required, and it’s in a rent-controlled building, which is prohibited by the Los Short-Term Rental Ordinance. Angeles adopted in 2018.

We party, we drink, we smoke… sometimes in the hallways. It’s like living next to a brotherhood.

Elden Rhoads, lives next to illegal short term rental

“We couldn’t live in this neighborhood if we didn’t have a rent-stabilized apartment,” Frank told NBC4.

As I-Team first reported in September, illegal short-term rentals are popping up in rent-controlled buildings across the city, often rented by rowdy tourists partying all night.

“There’s partying, booze, smoking…sometimes in the hallways,” Elden Rhoads told the I-Team of the Airbnbs in her Mid-City apartment building. “It’s like living next to a brotherhood.”

LA already has a severe shortage of affordable housing, but thousands of rent-controlled units are being turned into more profitable vacation rentals, like the one in Frank’s block and the Rhoads building, according to housing advocacy group Better. Neighbors LA, which monitors enforcement of LA’s short-term rental ordinance.

“LA is in a housing crisis. The city is not issuing enough fines and penalties to stop these illegal vacation rentals in rent-controlled buildings,” says Alllison Kirste of Better Neighbors LA.

The city fines me in a second if I park my car in the wrong zone

Frustrated Neighbor Scott Frank

In fact, the NBC4 I-Team found that the City of Los Angeles rarely takes strong action against illegal short-term rentals, four years after the city council passed a law giving three city agencies the power to crack down.

On Orange Street in the Miracle Mile, Frank’s neighbors have been emailing the city since August 2020 about this illegal Airbnb on their block, complaining to their councilman, the city attorney, and the Department of Justice. planning that helps regulate short-term rentals.

In August 2020, the city only sent a warning letter to the owner of the illegal Airbnb, then a second warning letter in November 2020. But two years later, the I-Team discovered that the unit was still listed on Airbnb.

The city could have fined the owner, but never did.

“The city fines me in a flat second if I park my car in the wrong area or overload a meter,” Scott Frank told the I-Team. “They should fine owners of these illegal vacation rentals in rent-controlled buildings.”

$500 is not a deterrent, but rather the cost of doing business for the owner of an illegal Airbnb

Allison Kirste, Better Neighbors LA

The I-Team obtained data on fines and citations issued for illegal short-term rentals, from the LA Department of Housing, which regulates short-term rentals in apartment buildings.

Each of the last three years, the number of citations with fines continues to drop. And as of October 2022, the city had only issued two fines this year.

In most cases, the city issues fines of just $500, which is a small fraction of the thousands of dollars a host can pay renting an illegal Airbnb in just one month.

“$500 is not a deterrent, but rather the cost of doing business for the owner of an illegal Airbnb,” said Allison Kirste of Better Neighbors LA.

The I-Team asked the LA Housing Department to speak on camera about its lack of enforcement of illegal short-term rental laws. After six attempts by the I-Team to schedule an interview, the Housing Department emailed a statement saying, “The citation and enforcement process…[is] set by [city] Order.”

But even after the I-Team informed the housing department that the list of illegal Airbnbs on Frank’s block was still active, they did nothing. The I-Team notified Airbnb, which quickly suspended the listing.

Statement from the Los Angeles Department of Housing:

The city uses an online registration and compliance system to register short-term rental hosts, monitor short-term rental activity, and identify and deter illegal short-term rental transactions for city properties. from Los Angeles. The registration process is designed to decline a registration number for properties that are not eligible for short-term rental, including properties covered by the city’s Rent Stabilization Order (RSO).

As part of the city’s enforcement efforts, LAHD is receiving referrals regarding potentially illegal home-sharing activity in mmulti-family properties in the City. After review, LAHD authorizes issuance of citations to multifamily properties that operate in violation of the city’s home sharing ordinance. The process for citations and enforcement as well as the amount of fines issued for non-compliance are set by ordinance, and LAHD operates in accordance with these provisions. Fines for violations of the Home Sharing Ordinance have recently been increased in accordance with the provisions of that Ordinance.

In the specific case where[n] Orange Street, the host has converted the listing to offer the property for rent for 30 days or more, which is not a short term rental prohibited by the Home Sharing Ordinance. However, the host also used a Beverly Hills commercialdress, outside the city of Los Angeles, in an effort to circumvent the requirements of the ordinance. LAHD is working with the city’s Monitoring and Compliance System to investigate and pursue further enforcement of continued short-term rental activity occurring in violation of the city’s ordinance.

Statement from Airbnb:

“There is no place on Airbnb for hosts circumventing the City of Los Angeles’ home-sharing ordinance, and we have suspended such listings while we investigate further. We will continue to work closely working with city authorities to deal with hosts who attempt to circumvent the rules.”

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