Airbnb Rules Coming for Vote by L.A. City Council After 3 Years of Debate

Airbnb Rules Coming for Vote by L.A. City Council After 3 Years of Debate

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - An ordinance regulating Airbnb and other home-sharing platforms in Los Angeles that has been worked on and debated for over three years is set to be voted on by the City Council today.

The city does not have an ordinance regulating Airbnb, which connects travelers with hosts looking to rent out their home or a bedroom, but struck a deal with the company in 2016 for it to pay hotel taxes on behalf of its hosts under a three-year agreement.

The draft ordinance that was approved recently by the Planning and Land Use Management Committee would allow qualified hosts to rent year-round, something industry advocates have been pleading for. Hosts could petition for more than 120 days by meeting certain criteria, including owning property that has not been the subject of too many nuisance violations.

Units that fall under the Rent Stabilization Ordinance would not be allowed to be rented under the proposed ordinance, although the council may come back and address that in the future, as the Housing Committee recently asked for a report that would explore the feasibility of allowing some low- income residents who live in rent-stabilized units to be home-sharing hosts, although the details about who would qualify and under what conditions were not clear.

The ordinance would take effect on the latter date of either July 1, 2019, or when a separate ordinance regulating non-primary residences is passed, as the ordinance under consideration would only allow for primary residences to be rented. Primary residence would be defined a home where the host lives at least six months out of the year.

A Department of City Planning report says there were about 456,000 nights booked on Airbnb alone in 2016, and an estimated 550,000 nights booked by all home-sharing companies in 2017.

City leaders are attempting to craft a policy that pleases both short- term rental hosts who say their livelihood depends on the practice and critics who say it is contributing to the city's housing shortage and affecting quality- of-life issues in some neighborhoods by allowing for rental “party houses” to overtake otherwise quiet neighborhoods.

Photo: Getty Images

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