Los Angeles adopts rules cracking down on Airbnb hosts

Rent-controlled units in Los Angeles will be banned from Airbnb and other short-term rental platforms under regulations adopted Tuesday by the city council.

The rules unanimously passed on Tuesday come after more than three years of deliberation and will come into effect in July, applying to the entire city of Los Angeles, including vacation hot spots like Venice.

This is the city’s first attempt to simultaneously legalize and crack down on short-term rentals, which critics say is create conflicts in neighborhoods and the worsening housing crisis.

Under the rules, which are to be promulgated by the mayor, hosts will only be allowed to rent their primary residence, defined as where a host lives for more than six months of the year.

Hosts will also be limited to renting their residences 120 days per year, unless they get special approval from the city and pay an additional fee, and they will need to register with the city at a cost of $ 89. per year. Temporary and “non-residential” structures – including tents, trailers and recreational vehicles – are also prohibited.

Los Angeles City Council Member Mike Bonin said the regulations strike a balance between accommodating hosts who share their homes “to make ends meet” and punishing “bad” hosts who turn apartments up and down. houses in “rogue hotels”.

Because it is much more lucrative for landlords to rent to vacationers than to long-term tenants, city officials and critics have argued that short-term rental platforms such as Airbnb are pulling back. badly needed rental housing market.

Of the approximately 23,000 homes and units available for rent in Los Angeles on short-term rental platforms, up to 10,000 are primarily used for short-term rentals, according to Host Compliance LLC, a company that monitors short-term rental platforms.

“As Los Angeles faces a housing crisis and a growing homeless population, the trend of Airbnb commercial investors to take homes away from permanent residents must end,” Cynthia Strathmann, executive director of Strategic actions for a just economy, a South Los Angeles nonprofit, said in a statement. “The action of LA City Council today is a big step forward in addressing this growing problem. “

But many Airbnb hosts have testified at Town Hall that the platform has helped them pay off their mortgages, keeping them in their homes as housing costs skyrocket.

Rhonda Hayder told the council she was renting the upper unit of her Miracle Mile duplex at rent stabilized while living in the lower unit, and the income has helped her stay afloat financially after being cut back from her job. .

“LA is becoming more and more unaffordable … we need it to survive,” she said of Airbnb. “preventing me from praising [out] my own house will not put [rent-stabilized] return units on the market.

Airbnb’s director of public policy, John Choi, called the new regulations a “big step in the right direction.” The company is asking Los Angeles city officials to develop a separate ordinance that would regulate vacation rentals or units that are not a host’s primary residence.

City council members Herb Wesson and city councilor Marqueece Harris-Dawson put forward a motion on Tuesday that would do just that. The proposal, which is to be considered by the council’s land use planning and management committee, calls for a permit system and registration process for vacation rentals that could include capping the number of vacation rentals. vacation rentals throughout the city.

Under the short-term rental rules adopted on Tuesday:

  • Guests will need to register with the Planning Department and pay a fee of $ 89 each year.
  • Only a primary residence can be rented, defined as the place where a host lives for at least six months of the year.
  • Tenants cannot share their accommodation without the prior written approval of their landlord.
  • Stabilized (or “rent-controlled”) units are not eligible for housing sharing, even if you have your own RSO unit.
  • Hosts cannot register for or operate more than one shared accommodation at a time in the city.
  • Hosts cannot share their home for more than 120 days in a calendar year, unless they have registered with the city for an “extended home sharing”.
  • The “extended roommate” option allows guests to rent residences for an unlimited number of days. To get approval from the city, hosts must pay a fee of $ 850. To benefit from it, they must have been registered for at least six months or hosted for at least 60 days. Hosts who have received a citation within the past three years will be disqualified, unless they pay a fee of $ 8,500 to have their case reviewed.
  • Non-residential buildings and temporary structures are not eligible for colocation; which includes vehicles parked on the property, storage sheds, trailers and tents.

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