Editorial: It took Los Angeles years to pass rules for Airbnb. Don’t delay them now.

After years of debate over how to balance the benefits and problems created when people turn their homes into hotels, Los Angeles City Council finally passed rules last December to regulate short-term rentals advertised on Airbnb. , VRBO, and other websites.

Now, just two weeks before the city starts enforcing the regulations, online rental platforms and the landlords that advertise them are mounting an aggressive lobbying campaign to persuade the city to delay or reject the rules. and start over.

The board must not back down. Delaying regulation would make a mockery of the city’s legislative process and block the implementation of reasonable rules designed to curb “rogue hotels” and deter landlords from taking much-needed accommodation off the market.

The Los Angeles Home Sharing Ordinance, passed unanimously, balances the desire of residents to make money by caring for out-of-town visitors and the need to prevent monthly rental units from being converted into de facto hotels. The law – which went into effect on July 1 with delayed application until November 1 – allows Angelenos to only offer their primary residence for short-term rentals, and no more than 120 days per year. Second homes and investment properties are not eligible for such rentals. Hosts must register with the city, display a valid registration number on their listings, and pay the same 14% city tax that the city imposes on hotels.

It should be noted that other major cities have regulated short-term rentals for years; Los Angeles is slow to pass rules to prevent large-scale commercialization of the sharing economy.

But that hasn’t stopped online platforms from trying to persuade city leaders to curb the new regulations. Online platforms are required by rules to submit booking information to the city. Airbnb sent a letter to the planning department last month asking for a delay so that the company can build a computerized system to submit the data. Once available, this system will greatly facilitate the application of the new rules, but the city should not put them on hold just to wait for it, especially since online platforms can in the meantime submit the reservation data of hosts in spreadsheets.

For its part, VRBO wants LA officials to suspend the app until the city makes rules allowing owners to rent second properties. But there is no consensus on whether to allow vacation rentals; While some board members are open to the idea, others say it would allow landlords to take more long-term rental housing off the market. Los Angeles shouldn’t wait another three years while city leaders revisit the regulation of short-term rentals.

Enough delays. If Los Angeles executives are serious about solving the housing crisis, they will start enforcing their short-term rental regulations as planned on November 1.

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