Report: Nearly 1 in 5 Airbnb listings in Los Angeles break the law

Nearly 1 in 5 listings advertised by Airbnb hosts in Los Angeles over a 12-month period failed to comply with city regulations on short-term rentals, according to a report prepared by a coalition of groups critical of the home-sharing industry.

LA Best Neighborsa coalition that includes hotel workers, tenants’ rights groups and housing advocates, said in its 44-page report that its researchers suspect that up to two-thirds of Airbnb listings in Los Angeles between November 2020 and October 2021 may have been out of compliance.

The coalition called on the city to step up enforcement of its short-term rental law, focusing on “the most egregious offenders” and imposing stiffer fines on repeat offenders.

Without vigorous enforcement, city fines simply become a cost of doing business for short-term rental hosts, said attorney Nancy Hanna, spokesperson for the coalition, whose members include Unite Here Local. 11, a union that represents hotel workers.

The report comes about a week after City Atty. mike feuer filed a complaint against the online vacation rental company HomeAway, claiming that it repeatedly violated the house sharing order Last year. Feuer alleged in his lawsuit that HomeAway failed to provide a valid homesharing registration number or pending registration status number in nearly 30% of listings it reviewed.

Better Neighbors LA said its analysis was prepared using city records, data pulled from accommodation platforms and its own research. An Airbnb representative took aim at the report, saying it relied on “questionable statistics” and was crafted by “a special interest group inside the hospitality industry’s pocket”.

Airbnb spokeswoman Liz DeBold Fusco did not identify the group. But she said the report was written solely to “undermine the ability of local residents to share their homes responsibly and benefit … the city’s economy as a whole.”

Fusco said Airbnb is the only short-term rental company to have reached a enforcement agreement with the city. This pact requires it to share information and remove listings flagged as illegal by the Planning Department.

“As part of this, we have removed thousands of listings at the request of the city, in accordance with the law – and we will continue to do so in the future,” she said.

Asked about calls for additional penalties, planning department spokeswoman Nora Frost said her agency had returned more than 2,100 illegal listings for citations since the enforcement began in 2019. During over that period, she said, the number of short-term rental ads overall fell by more than 80%, from 36,660 to about 6,600.

The department is targeting repeat offenders by seeking fines for a second violation that are 10 times the amount for the first, Frost said.

“We’ve increased the cost of our quotes to further deter bad actors,” she said.

Critics of Airbnb, Vrbo and other platforms have long argued that short-term rentals drive up rents in Southern California, reducing the supply of residential units available to residents. They say competition from the colocation industry is costing hospitality workers their jobs. And they claim that some hosts have turned their rentals into neighborhood nuisances.

Elden Rhoads, who lives in Park La Brea, said she had personally experienced the disruption. On Labor Day last year, she said, two units on the same floor of her building were rented to two large groups of college-aged men, who drank and played music. until late at night.

“They were coming in and out, slamming doors, smoking in the common hallway, smoking in the stairwell — both tobacco and marijuana,” Rhoads said.

City Council approved its Home Sharing Ordinance in 2018, requiring short-term rental hosts to register with the city and prohibiting second homes and investment properties from being listed or rented out.

In its report, Better Neighbors LA concluded that an Airbnb listing was non-compliant if it lacked an accurate registration number or if the landlord received a “false exemption” under the short-term rental law. city ​​term, inaccurately identifying the location as a hotel, motel, or bed and breakfast.

The coalition urged city leaders to seek data-sharing agreements with other short-term rental platforms. The report also says the city should set up an online portal to allow residents to determine for themselves whether a nearby rental is operating legally.

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