L.A. Announces Online System To Weed Illegal Short-Term Rentals

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles City Planning Department today unveiled an online system designed to make it easier to identify and take down illegal short-term rental listings.

“In developing this system, we looked first and foremost to ways we can ensure data safety and security using an encrypted, cloud-based database,'' Director of Planning Vince Bertoni said. “But we also wanted a system that was able to rely on technology to run and create reports, a framework that would enable the city to pursue the takedown of illegal listings with greater positive results, beyond what we may have even originally imagined to be possible.''

The Application Programming Interface implements the agreement the short-term rental company Airbnb entered into with the city. The agreement provides additional recourse for Los Angeles to initiate actions against platforms that allow unregistered or illegal listings to continue to advertise online.

The API has the ability to remove unregistered properties across the city that are not owner-occupied but operating as party homes.

Since the start of enforcement last November, Los Angeles has witnessed a 64% decrease in short-term listings, amounting to more than 23,000 fewer citywide listings as of Aug. 1, City Planning officials said.

With the launch of the API this month, the overall numbers have decreased by an additional 14% (78% in total), of which more than 1,350 ineligible listings were removed last week alone during the pre-testing phase leading up to the rollout of the API, according to City Planning.

In addition to assisting with enforcement, the API provides Los Angeles with the ability to monitor many of the world's short-term rental websites using secure artificial intelligence algorithms that link multiple listings for the same property across hosting platforms.

The online management system also stores and manages home-sharing registration and permits in one central location, without having to maintain and consult manual spreadsheets.

“By integrating multiple types of permitting, compliance monitoring and enforcement into one integrated cloud-based system with a secure external API, the entire city can now seamlessly and quickly address compliance issues and send take-down notices to the relevant short-term rental platforms in real time,'' said Ulrik Binzer, the general manager and founder of Granicus' Host Compliance division, which has designed and built the new system for City Planning.

“No other city in the world has this capability at this time, and I expect that Los Angeles's new innovative system will serve as a model for countless other cities,'' Binzer said.

Airbnb will be the first hosting platform to pilot the program. Once fully operational, City Planning said Airbnb listings that are ineligible or without a registration number will be removed on a daily basis.

Ineligible listings include rent-stabilized and affordable housing units, as well as units that were either subject to recent evictions under the Ellis Act or have been registered on the “proactive prohibition'' list by the landlord or manager in charge of the property.

Photo: Getty Images

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