Happy holidays! We hope that you have a wonderful and restful season with loved ones.
Our collective holiday wish this year is for the City of Los Angeles to finally adopt short-term rental regulations. Every day we wait for regulation, more affordable housing is lost and more neighborhoods are being impacted.
In buildings like this one in downtown Los Angeles, homes are being replaced by hotels, neighbors by strangers.
Send a holiday note to your elected officials today and ask them to grant our wish for short-term rental regulations now!
News from Around the World
- In Paris, Airbnb puts automatic rental cap on central offers
- In London, Airbnb introduces 90-day annual limit for hosts
- And in Palm Springs, neighborhood activists are moving forward with placing a measure on the ballot to limit short-term rentals: What's next for vacation rentals in Palm Springs? Possibly a special election
- Airbnb is impacting rent all over the world: 6 cities harmed by AirBnb's brand of gentrification
- Airbnb is being used to launder money in Russia and beyond
- Many people—especially the disabled—are being left behind by the sharing economy
On September 8, we joined our affordable housing partners at City Hall. We reminded them of the impact short-term rentals are having on residents and neighborhoods while they drag their feet on enforceable regulation. We had dozens of supporters on hand and we shared many stories of lost housing and lost neighborhoods. Supporters were wearing shirts with the number 4001 (and counting) printed on them—symbolizing the number of housing units lost to short-term rentals all over City. We told the Council that every day they wait to take action, 4 additional units are removed from the market—making the current crisis increasingly worse.
Click below to listen to KNX 1070 coverage of our action at City Hall
We suspect that the next hearing of the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee will be in October. As usual, we will be organizing our supporters to be a loud voice for the Council to consider.
Airbnb's Influence on Local Politics
Airbnb has been able to get away with profiting from unenforced regulations. A new documentary exposes how the tech giant has influenced politics in San Francisco in its favor. What's happening in San Francisco is not unique - we see the same influence in Los Angeles and around the world. We think this documentary is a great cautionary tale.
Updates From Near and Far
- The Los Angeles City Attorney is finally cracking down on a few party houses in the Hollywood Hills. It’s too little too late, but we hope these neighbors see some relief and that this actions sends a message to other party house operators that their actions are illegal.
- Our neighbors in West Hollywood, where short-term rentals are not permitted, continue to be inundated with illegal rentals, and 60% are in rent stabilized housing. We need to use this as an example in Los Angeles of what to be leery of, as we get closer to creating regulations here.
- Monterey continues to crack down on short-term rentals by issuing hefty fines on violators. Residential property owners in any of Monterey's residential zoning districts that violate the prohibition of short-term rentals not only receive a $1,000 penalty, in the event that such owners don't comply by immediately removing any advertisement for such rentals, continued violations will be cited at $100 to $200 per day.
- The horror stories of unsafe Airbnb homes continue with this story from New Zealand. Six people were hospitalized after they escaped a fierce house fire in the Christchurch suburb of Sumner. The wooden, three-story house on Clifton Terrace went up in flames.
- And finally, this recent story is simply unimaginable. Loftium is a new business related to short-term rentals. It will provide prospective homebuyers with up to $50,000 for a down payment, as long as they are willing to continuously list an extra bedroom on Airbnb for one to three years and share most of the income with Loftium over that time. Developments like this only enhance the need for the City of Los Angeles to enact regulations NOW, before it’s too late.
What is happening in Los Angeles?
A few weeks ago, the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee finally heard the draft short-term rental ordinance. There was a big turnout from both our supporters and the opposition. Our supporters had great counter statements to the stories presented by hosts that were coached by Airbnb.
The Committee heard testimony from hundreds of attendees and had a relatively short discussion about the proposed ordinance. The following issues concern us:
Questioned the need for any cap - based on real data (see below), we prefer a 60 day cap on total amount of days a host is permitted to rent short-term as that incentivizes permanent housing
Reintroduced allowing short-term rentals in rent-controlled units - this is a real threat to affordable housing
Considering vacation rentals, which are currently prohibited in the ordinance - as we have experienced repeatedly, these rentals will seriously disrupt neighborhoods while removing much needed housing stock
These proposed changes would weaken the current ordinance significantly and threaten the peaceful enjoyment of our neighborhoods and availability of affordable housing.
The Planning Committee continued the short-term rental item without action. It should be heard again in early August. Please stand by for additional “calls to action” as we get closer to another hearing.
By the Numbers
83 - average number of nights that an affordable Los Angeles apartment becomes more profitable as a short-term rental than permanent housing; Unnecessarily increasing the cap beyond this number will economically motivate landlords to turn more affordable apartments into short-term rentals.
60 - average number of nights a year that Airbnb’s own study entitled “The Impact of Home Sharing in Los Angeles,” found that hosts share their home. A 60-90-day cap will easily accommodate those that engage in true home sharing and push commercial operators out of the market
31,253 - Airbnb listings in Los Angeles as of July 6, 2017 - 57.6% are entire homes, 37.2% are private rooms and 5.2% are shared rooms
KNF continues to work for an ordinance with a reasonable cap, a prohibition on rent-controlled units and a primary residence requirement.
Last week, KNF, along with our Affordable Housing Advocate Coalition partners, testified at the City Council's Housing Committee meeting - to make sure the decision-makers in City Hall, beyond just the Planning Committee, are hearing about the harmful impacts of illegal short-term rentals.
The Housing Committee also heard from tenants who live in residentially zoned, rent-stabilized apartment buildings that are in the process of being converted to de facto hotels, including "The Ellison," a 57-unit RSO building in Venice. They expressed concerns and frustrations about unwarranted evictions, landlord harassment, neglect of health and safety problems, and about the City's lack of enforcement - as they watch neighbors being displaced and their communities replaced with a revolving door of strangers.
Venice Takes a Step in the Wrong Direction
In Venice, we have seen property owners attempt to turn entire long-term buildings with rent-stabilized units into de facto hotels. Just as Carl Lambert, owner of Venice Suites, a 32-unit rent stabilized apartment building, is facing an upcoming Civil Court trial for this, the Venice Neighborhood Council, many of whom Lambert supported in their bids for office, unfortunately voted, on June 29, 2017, to reward Lambert for his unlawful activity by supporting his request to “officially” continue operating as a de facto hotel.
Fortunately, the VNC is advisory only and this request still has many hurdles as it passes through scrutiny by the City Planning Department and Coastal Commission. While the law is on the side of protecting housing, we were glad to have 400-plus stakeholders from all over Los Angeles who formally expressed their opposition and will be watching closely to make sure justice prevails.
Learning from Other Cities
We have always encouraged the City of LA to look to other cities for advice on how to best regulate short-term rentals. Many other municipalities have been adopting and then later tweaking their ordinances to be effective, preserve affordable housing and protect neighborhoods.
This week, the Los Angeles Daily News posted an opinion piece written by Dale Carlson, co-founder of Share Better San Francisco, a Keep Neighborhoods First ally. The article gives warning and lessons from San Francisco's home sharing ordinance.
Stay tuned as we continue our fight to protect housing and neighborhoods in Los Angeles!
After years of hard work, the time has come for all of our supporters to tell the Los Angeles City Council how short-term rentals have impacted you! Let your voice be heard!
We’ve come a long way, but our work is far from being over. The Los Angeles City Council’s Planning & Land Use Management Committee will be considering the draft proposal on short-term rentals on Tuesday June 13 at 2:30pm.
Our elected officials need to hear directly from you that the 180-day cap is TOO HIGH. A 180-day cap will continue to incentivize property owners and commercial operators to take our affordable housing and convert them to more profitable short-term rentals. Come out, make your voice heard, help us fight for your community, and urge the committee to do the right thing!
Tell City Hall that our Los Angeles neighborhoods are not for sale!
Planning and Land Use Management Committee Meeting
Tuesday, June 13, 2017 at 2:30pm
Los Angeles City Hall
JOHN FERRARO COUNCIL CHAMBER, ROOM 340
200 N. Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
We are asking our supporters to please arrive by 1pm to organize talking points and secure seating.
Last summer, Mayor Garcetti entered into an agreement with Airbnb to collect transient occupancy taxes (TOT) similar to those paid by hotels. This agreement was made as the city considered regulation on short-term rentals and moved forward with taxation without regulation. To make matters worse, the agreement included no real auditing of the funds being paid—so essentially the City was taking Airbnb’s word that they were submitting the correct amount of taxes.
We were outraged. How could we enter into an agreement with an industry that is operating illegally in most cases? How could we “legitimize” short-term rentals by using this money to fund the City's general fund?
Unfortunately, it appears that our fears have become a reality. The City is once again facing a tough budget deficit and the Airbnb TOT has become a tempting drug that they are struggling to refuse.
It gets worse. It is estimated that the City received about $30 million per year from Airbnb. The validity of this number, or whether it is based on actual stays, cannot be verified. But, Airbnb has told the City that the only way it will continue receiving this $30 million is if the current status quo is maintained—meaning no regulation or cap on days that landlords can rent out their properties.
To add fuel to the fire, the Mayor released his budget for the upcoming fiscal year and the budget includes $36 million from Airbnb TOT—meaning no change to the current rules. Essentially, the Mayor’s budget assumes that there will be no limits on the number of days hosts are permitted to use short-term rentals.
Affordable housing and our neighborhoods cannot afford the Mayor’s plan. We cannot allow City Hall to make policy decisions based on its bottom line instead of the good of our City. Our neighborhoods are not for sale!
Sign our latest petition to demand that the City takes action to protect affordable housing and our neighborhoods NOW.
Keep an eye on your email for more ways to fight back in the next week!
On Tuesday, March 21, 2017, Keep Neighborhoods First gathered with our allies—affordable housing advocates, hotel employees and community leaders—at Los Angeles City Hall. We were there to send a clear message—adopt smart regulations that truly protect affordable housing and neighborhood integrity.
We are worried about the 180-day cap on total number of days hosts can rent short-term that is in the current draft of the ordinance being reviewed by the City Council. We are calling for a 60 day cap—which will allow true home-sharing but also protect housing.
“Regulations must include a cap on the total number of days hosts are permitted to rent short-term. This cap must be low enough as to not economically incentivize landlords to rent short-term instead of long-term,” explained Becky Dennison, Executive Director of Venice Community Housing Corporation. “The current draft has a cap that is much too high. We believe the right number is 60 days per year—and other cities agree.”
Dennison mentioned caps of 60 days in Santa Monica and Amsterdam; as well as 90-day caps recently implemented in San Francisco, New Orleans and London. Palm Springs enacted a cap of 32 days. The draft ordinance currently being considered in Los Angeles includes a cap of 180 days, or six months out of the year.
We also expressed strong support for banning any type of short-term rentals in rent-stabilized (RSO) units, arguing that allowing RSO units to be rented short-term will result in significantly more risk for some of our most vulnerable renters than any possible benefit.
We are expecting a firm date for the next hearing, by the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee, in the next few weeks.
As we get closer to the Los Angeles short-term rental ordinance final hearing at City Council, our biggest concern continues to be the cap on rental days being proposed in the current draft. The current cap is set at 180-days, which is too high because it makes it more profitable for landlords to rent housing short-term than it does to rent to a long-term tenant. This situation will only exacerbate an already stressed housing situation in LA.
This story from November details our concern.
Keep Neighborhoods First continues to advocate for a 60-day cap on all short-term rentals. We have been sharing data and stories with our elected officials, as well as City staff, so that they fully understand the impacts of a higher cap.
A recent poll of Angelenos found that they too support a lower cap. The poll shows clearly that the public does NOT support a 180-day cap and in fact the majority of those polled favor a 30-day cap.
Keep your eyes open for a call to action, as well as information on the upcoming hearing for the City Council's Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee.
The City of Los Angeles released the new draft home-sharing ordinance last week. The ordinance incorporates amendments made during the City Council’s Housing Committee meeting in early December. Thank you again to all that attended.
The amendments include:
Removing all references that permit home-sharing in non-primary residences.
Clarifying prohibition on Home-Sharing in units subject to the Rent StabilizationOrdinance applies to all units (not just those that are renter-occupied).
These amendments strengthen the ordinance. However, we are working with the City and the "home-sharing" companies regarding the caps on the amount of days allowed per home-sharer. The current ordinance allows for 180 days and we, along with our allies, are asking for 60 days.
For a refresher on why this is such a critical issue, please read our blog post on the cap and our new cap quick facts.
We have learned from other cities that have been working to regulate short-term rentals and have instituted reasonable caps. Some include:
New York City
32 Stays (Not Days)
Our next opportunity to influence the ordinance with testimony is coming soon. The ordinance will now move to the Planning and Land Use Committee (PLUM) before heading to the full City Council. We are pushing for the hearing to happen as soon as possible and will update you as soon as we have a date. We will need our supporters out in full force for this final push to make sure that we have an enforceable ordinance that truly protects our neighborhoods.
You can read the full text of the newest version of the ordinance by clicking on the image below. We welcome your feedback and look forward to seeing you at the PLUM hearing soon!
Thank you to all that turned out yesterday for the City Council’s Housing Committee hearing. We presented great testimony regarding the impact of short-term rentals on our neighborhoods and our allies spoke regarding the loss of affordable housing, unsafe/unreliable conditions, etc. The Committee heard us.
Member of the Committee (Councilmembers Harris Dawson, Cedillo and Koretz) removed the 15-day vacation rental provision that the Planning Commission added in June and even strengthened further the protection of rent-controlled housing.
We will be back in front of the Planning and Land Use Management Committee in January. We will keep you posted on date and time.
Thank you again for all of your support and we wish you and yours a joyful and peaceful holiday season from all of us at Keep Neighborhoods First.
After a summer of waiting, the short-term rental regulations will move forward to the City Council. The regulations will go to the Housing Committee, the Planning Committee and finally to the full City Council.
While we are pleased with where the draft ordinance is overall, we continue to be concerned about the cap issue. As it is currently proposed, hosts can rent out their short-term rental properties for 180 days a year.
What does a large cap mean for our neighborhoods and housing market?
The data shows that affordable housing will be lost if short-term rentals are permitted for as few as 60-days per year in some Los Angeles neighborhoods. In fact, across all of Los Angeles neighborhoods it takes an average of just 83 nights per year to earn more on Airbnb than can be earned in a whole year of renting to a long-term renter.
We have seen the effect of a large cap in other cities. After two years of trying to work through problems with their STR legislation, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is working toward imposing a hard 60-day cap. They are revising the previous ordinance of 90-days because it was unenforceable. They have now determined that 60-days strikes the right balance between helping people earn significant supplemental income while not encouraging landlords to keep the units off the rental market. Airbnb's own study “The Impact of Home Sharing in Los Angeles,” found that hosts in Los Angeles share their home less than 60 nights a year on average, therefore the City does not need to allow more days. 60 days will easily accommodate true-home sharing hosts.
We need our supporters to tell the City that it is clear that landlords will be economically motivated to turn affordable apartments and homes into short-term rentals if the cap is too high. We want to tell the stories of how your neighborhoods have been impacted by a proliferation of short-term rentals. It’s vital that the city adopt short-term rental ordinances that are both enforceable and truly protect affordable housing - and that included a low, 60 day cap.