Important Updates on Home-Sharing in Los Angeles

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

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As the City Council continues to grapple with regulatory policy and LA City Attorney Mike Feuer is suing property owners accused of illegally converting long-term rent stabilized housing into transient use, short-term rentals, however, continue to be attractive to landlords looking for a way around rent stabilization. Throughout Los Angeles we continue to see affordable units being take off the market at lightening speed.

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!


The Time is Now!

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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

RSVP Here!

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! 

Meeting details:

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.

RSVP Here!


Los Angeles, We Have a Problem.

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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!


KNF Joins Allies in Calling for Smaller Cap and Housing Protection

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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.”

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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.

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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. 

 





The Cap Issue Remains

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.


Cap on rental days still high in latest draft of home-sharing ordinance

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:

Amsterdam

60 Days

Denver

30 Days

London

90 Days

New Orleans

90 Days

New York City

30 Days

San Francisco

90 Days

Santa Monica

30 Days

Palm Springs

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!

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Another successful hearing! More to come in 2017.

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.


60 day cap is vital to preserving our neighborhoods

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.


End of Summer Update

As the summer officially comes to an end, we hope everyone was able to enjoy and relax a bit.  Keep Neighborhoods First continues to work to influence the regulatory process in the City of LA. KNF has been working hand-in-hand with our allies to make sure that our voice is heard.  

Surprise Agreement with the Mayor

We were very surprised over the summer to learn that Mayor Garcetti had entered into a tax agreement with Airbnb. This agreement threatened the entire regulation process.  In response, we came together to send him a clear message

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Image Courtesy of CBS Los Angeles

Let’s Talk About Caps

Murray Cox of Inside Airbnb and researchers at the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy analyzed the data related to the correct cap for regulating short-term rentals.  To explain why a cap matters, they illustrate the impacts of a high cap. In fact, the research found 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. And across all 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.

This chart looks at some highly impacted areas:

Zip Code

Neighborhood

Number of Nights Needed to Earn More on Airbnb than Renting Long Term

Council District

90291

Venice

83

11

90028

Hollywood/Thai Town

86

13

90026

Silver Lake/Echo Park

79

13

90027

Griffith Park/Los Feliz

79

4 & 13

90029

Downtown Los Angeles

88

14

90063

Boyle Hts/City Terrace

84

14

90004

Koreatown

78

10 & 4

91602

North Hollywood/ Toluca Lake

68

2

90048

Beverly Grove

76

5

90731

San Pedro

91

15

91405

Van Nuys

80

6

90065

Cypress Park

86

1

91364

Woodland Hills

75

3

90008

Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw

84

10

90018

Jefferson Park

87

8

90011

South Los Angeles

79

9

Lawsuits, Lawsuits and More Lawsuits

Airbnb has sued yet another city for imposing reasonable regulations. This time it is the City of Santa Monica. 

These lawsuits are a ploy to intimidate cities, evade accountability and continue a business model dependent on facilitating commercial operators who remove entire homes and displace long-term renters. If Airbnb continues to file lawsuits instead of following reasonable regulations that protect affordable housing, perhaps the effort to regulate should shift toward banning short term rentals entirely. 

Home Sharing Ordinance

We expect the home-sharing ordinance to be back in front of the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee in the coming weeks so keep an eye out for updates and calls to action.  

We are really proud of the role we have been able to play in shaping Los Angeles’ regulations and continue to count on you—our supporters—to protect our neighborhoods and housing stock.

 


What's in a cap?

Many of our supporters have been trying to understand why the argument over a cap in the number of nights that someone can offer their home short-term is such an important item.

This week, Inside Airbnb’s Murray Cox released data showing 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. Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), analyzed the data and found that across all 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.

“Most people following the debate around regulating this industry don’t understand the impact that the cap on days per year has on the overall housing market in Los Angeles,”  say Roy Samaan, LAANE Research & Policy Analyst.  “For the overwhelming majority of neighborhoods across LA, a 90 day cap offers a weak incentive for landlords to rent out their units on Airbnb.  However, the currently-proposed 180 day limit offers a substantial financial incentive to rent out units on Airbnb instead of long-term tenants.”

Regulators all over the world are currently working on ways to control Airbnb and other short-term rental platforms. The issue of caps has been considered and implemented in a number of cities.  Many of these cities have found the caps impossible to measure and enforce, leading to complete bans on short-term-rental activities.

“Protecting affordable housing has been the goal of regulations in a number of cities,” said Murray Cox, founder of Inside Airbnb.  “Again and again regulations have failed. New York and San Francisco, as examples, have revised their ordinances because enforcement is impossible and compliance rates are low. Based on my incentive analysis of existing Airbnb’s operating illegally in Los Angeles, it’s clear that landlords will be economically motivated to turn more affordable apartments and homes into 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 means a complete ban on entire home rentals, or a low cap with data sharing and platform accountability.”

Data for a number of Los Angeles neighborhoods is attached below. On average in Los Angeles, it takes 83 nights per year to earn more on Airbnb than can be earned in a whole year of renting to a long-term renter.

Zip Code

Neighborhood

Council District

Number of Nights Needed to Earn More on Airbnb than Renting Long Term

90291

Venice

11

83

90028

Hollywood/Thai Town

13

86

90026

Silver Lake/Echo Park

13

79

90027

Griffith Park/Los Feliz

4 & 13

79

90029

Downtown Los Angeles

14

88

90063

Boyle Hts/City Terrace

14

84

90004

Koreatown

10 & 4

78

91602

North Hollywood/ Toluca Lake

2

68

90048

Beverly Grove

5

76

90731

San Pedro

15

91

91405

Van Nuys

6

80

90065

Cypress Park

1

86

91364

Woodland Hills

3

75

90008

Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw

10

84

90018

Jefferson Park

8

87

90011

South Los Angeles

9

79




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