As Airbnb Inc. continues to expand globally, the city of LA is struggling to adopt regulations that balance the service’s soaring popularity with tourists and homeowners that need help covering their mortgages and the complaints of its critics, who range from hotel owners alleging unfair competition to homeowners unhappy with their neighborhoods being flooded with temporary residents.
LA Weekly reports that in 2015, the Los Angeles City Council began drafting an ordinance to regulate short-term rentals but has not been able to settle on a final bill. Currently, renting a room or apartment for fewer than 30 days is technically illegal in the city of Los Angeles.
Airbnb is also affecting the long-term rental market, something that is felt even more acutely in LA, which is already experiencing a housing shortage. According to a 2015 report by the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, as many as 12.5% of all housing units in Venice were listed on Airbnb. “There are 360 AirBnB units per square mile in Venice and longtime residents who never intended to live next to hotels now find themselves dealing with noise and safety concerns that negatively impact their quality of life. ”
Cynthia Strathmann, executive director of Strategic Actions for a Just Economy. tells LA Weekly, “We’re losing something like 5,000 units a year to the short-term rental market. I’m just really exasperated at the role the short-term rental market is playing in the housing crisis and the lack of movement to regulate it in an appropriate way.”
For now, the LA City Council is contemplating limiting short-term rentals to a primary residence for a maximum of 180 days out of the year.
Time will tell whether the city of Los Angeles will follow nearby Santa Monica’s lead. In June 2015, Santa Monica’s Home-Sharing Ordinance went into effect. Only primary residences, in which the host lives on site, can be rented for 30 days or less. Vacation rentals (in which the host does not live on site) can only be rented for 30 days or more. Hosts are required to obtain a business license and collect a 14% Transient Occupancy Tax.
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