A Los Angeles City Council committee on April 10 approved a home-sharing ordinance that places a citywide cap of 120 days out of the year during which Airbnb and other short-term rental hosts can rent out their units, with the right to appeal for an extension.

The approval marks a major step forward in the city’s four-year attempt to regulate the burgeoning home-sharing industry, which includes as major players Airbnb Inc. of San Francisco and Homeaway Inc. of Austin, Texas.

After more than two hours of public comment and another hour of debate, the council’s five-member Planning and Land Use Management Committee voted unanimously to give home-sharing hosts up to 120 days of short-term rentals on a “by right” basis, without the need for city approval. An earlier proposal called for a cap of 180 days, but that met with opposition from hotel operators and neighbors concerned about noise and other nuisance impacts.

Under the proposal, if a home-sharing host wishes to rent out their unit more than 120 days in a calendar year, they have to go through an administrative process where if they agree to certain conditions (registration requirements, no objections from neighbors, all nuisance citations cleared, etc…), they can be cleared to rent out rooms in the unit for up to one full year. The filing fee for this process would start at $1,149.

If a home-sharing host is unable to meet all these conditions, they can still go through a more rigorous discretionary approval process that requires sign-off from the city’s planning director.

The proposal also calls for most of the proceeds from the 10 percent bed tax to be divided equally among the 15 council districts.

Next up for the proposal is a hearing before the council’s housing committee, likely later this month. Then the proposal goes to the full City Council.

Economy, education, energy and transportation reporter Howard Fine can be reached at hfine@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @howardafine

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