The Los Angeles city Planning Commission on Thursday moved to regulate Airbnb and other short-term rentals, imposing time caps and stiff penalties for violations.
Thursday’s vote came amid escalating tensions as short-term rentals through online platforms such as Airbnb and HomeAway have spread largely unregulated through portions of the city, especially in Venice and Hollywood.
Residents and property owners rent out their homes through online platforms such as Airbnb and HomeAway to help supplement their income, but nearby residents say this practice disrupts their neighborhoods. Affordable housing advocates have also been critical of the practice of converting apartments to short-term rentals.
After a five-hour hearing featuring emotional testimony on both sides, the commission voted 5-4 to forward an ordinance onto the City Council that requires people seeking to rent out their dwellings on a short-term basis to register with the city and pay the city’s 14 percent hotel bed tax.
The proposed ordinance would cap short-term rentals on primary residences at 180 days a year, and vacation dwellings that are not the primary residence would be subject to a 15-day cap. It would also include stiff fines of up to $2,000 per violation and an unprecedented “three strikes” provision - after three separate violations, a person would be barred for at least a year from renting out their dwelling on a short-term basis.
A majority of commissioners rejected a motion for no time cap when the owner or primary renter is present.
The ordinance would apply to owners of single family homes, condos and townhomes, as well as owners of multifamily properties and primary tenants within those properties.
After some review from the office of City Attorney Mike Feuer and other city staff, the proposed ordinance will go before the City Council later this summer.
Public policy and energy reporter Howard Fine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @howardafine.