L.A. City Council Members to Urge Enforcement of Home-Sharing Ordinance

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A group of Los Angeles City Council members and organizations today plan to call on the city to reject what they say are “repeated requests” from the short-term rental industry to delay enforcement of the city's home-sharing laws.

The city's regulation of short-term rentals such as Airbnb is expected to take effect Nov. 1, which would mandate that only primary residences can be rented short-term -- meaning homes where the host lives at least six months out of the year -- and would require them to list units for rent on a city-monitored system.

But at least one home-sharing industry leader is asking for more time to adjust to the new system that would track their units.

“Los Angeles is in the midst of a housing crisis, and we cannot afford to lose any of our scarce rental housing to scofflaw property owners who take units off the market and list them as short-term rentals, effectively operating rogue hotels,” City Councilman Mike Bonin wrote in a letter to City Planning Director Vince Bertoni. “To protect affordable housing in our neighborhoods, it is imperative that the city begins enforcing its home-sharing regulations immediately.”

Bonin is expected to speak with Council members Bob Blumenfield, Paul Koretz and Monica Rodriguez.

Los Angeles implemented short-term rental regulations in late 2018 after more than three years of debate, which became effective July 1, but the city has given short-term rental companies extensions to adjust to the new regulations.

Officials with Bonin's office said tenants living in Rent Stabilization Ordinance-protected residences are being “intimidated” to vacate by property owners so they can turn the residences into short-term rentals. Units that fall under the Rent Stabilization Ordinance will not be allowed to be rented under the home-sharing laws.

The officials said some people depend on the income from renting out their available rooms, but others buy dozens of properties just to rent them out, putting a crux on the city's shortage of housing. The debate is likely to be heard in the council's Planning and Land Use Management Committee in the near future, the officials from Bonin's office said.

Airbnb sent a letter to the city's Department of Planning in late September asking for a delay in the enforcement due to compliance issues regarding a platform that would track all home-sharing units.

“We can not comply with the Nov. 1 deadline because of the late date we received the draft platform agreement from the city and the time it will take both the city's contractor ... and Airbnb to build out the system,” the letter from Airbnb's John Choi stated. “Doing this by Nov. 1 is simply not feasible, and we hope the city will reconsider this position so we can work collaboratively toward an API system.”

Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy also sent a letter to Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Council President Herb Wesson and City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson last week.

“Four years ago, LAANE released a report warning that Airbnb was hurting Angelenos by making it harder to find an affordable place to live. At that time, there were 16,000 Airbnb units in Los Angeles,” the letter stated. “That number has skyrocketed to nearly 45,000 today, and there are more tents on the streets than ever.”

The California Housing Partnership and the Southern California Association of Nonprofit Housing released a report in May that estimated Los Angeles County needs to add more than a half-million units of affordable housing to meet its demands from low-income renters.

Photo: Getty Images

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