Elizabeth Warren and Diane Feinstein Urge Investigation into Short Term Rentals

Senators Elizabeth Warren and Dianne Feinstein want regulators to look into Airbnb's business practices and investigate the extent to which the STR market actually consists of commercial rental firms.The proposed investigation would be very useful as it is clear that there are abuses that need to be addressed. 

Read Warren & Feinstein's letter


Ally Highlight: Coalition for Economic Survival

The allies that KNF has gained in our fight to regulate short-term rentals have been remarkable and are doing such amazing work throughout Los Angeles.

The Coalition for Economic Survival, led by well-known activist Larry Gross is a great example. Larry is working successfully on a number of  issues - his perspective as it relates to short-term rentals is worth sharing.

Below are highlights from a recent newsletter with a lot of great information. We hope you will appreciate it as much as we do!

 

 

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KNF Co-founder to Speak at Short Term Rental Event

Seeking Long-Term Solutions for Short-Term Rentals (NON-MEMBERS)

Friday, July 15, 2016 at 07:15 AM
The Olympic Collection in Los Angeles, CA

More than five years after Airbnb, Home Away, and other short-term rental services started "disrupting" the hospitality industry, the City of Los Angeles and other Southern California cities are reckoning with the impacts. By some estimates, over 11,000 properties in the City of L.A. are listed on Airbnb (compared to 98,000 hotel rooms citywide), including nearly 12 percent of properties in hot neighborhoods like Venice. For proponents, STRs offer extra income and new ways to welcome visitors to our cities. For others, STRs are nuisances and black-market businesses, and they make a housing shortage even worse. Fair regulations have been difficult to draft and, in some cases, even more difficult to enforce.

These debates have pitted neighbor against neighbor, homeowners against hoteliers, and advocates of affordable housing against free-market champions.  WUF will address the complexities of short-term rentals in July, including an assessment of Los Angeles' draft ordinance.  We will seek the real story on the economic and social impacts of STRs and discuss what lies ahead for guests, hosts, and their neighbors.

Panelists
Judith Roth Goldman, Co-Founder, Keep Neighborhoods First
Walter Gonzales, Government Relations, HomeAway
Lynn Mohrfeld, President & CEO, California Hotels & Lodging Association
Robert St. Genis, Executive Director, Los Angeles Short-Term Rental Alliance

Moderator
Salvador Valles, Assistant Director of Planning and Community Development, City of Santa Monica

The Olympic Collection
11301 Olympic Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90064

7:15am Registration
7:50am Breakfast 
8:00am Panel Discussion

$40 members
$55 nonmembers
$10 student members 
$15 student nonmembers

Pre-registration closes on Wednesday, July 13, 2016.  After July 13, 2016 and at onsite registration the cost will be an additional $10.00.  No refunds or credits will be provided after this date.

**WUF offers a special, discounted rate for individuals involved in land use, planning, and development issues on a grass roots and neighborhood level on an unpaid basis. If you are interested in attending this WUF breakfast with a discounted rate, please send your request to info@westsideurbanforum.com with your contact information and description of your neighborhood level activities prior to July 13, 2016. Certain restrictions apply.

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New Provisions Weaken Home-Sharing Ordinance

Progress has certainly been made toward creating regulations on short-term rentals in Los Angeles.  Today, the City Planning Commission reviewed a draft ordinance.

Overall, the ordinance does a great job of addressing some big areas of concern.  Unfortunately, today the Commission made some changes that significantly weakens the draft before them.

 First, they raised the cap on the number of days a host can rent their primary residence from the 120 that was proposed, to 180.  120 were already problematic.  But, a cap of 180, half of the year, essentially legalizes hotels in residential neighborhoods.  This cap is a big worry for neighborhoods that have been heavily impacted--with noise, parking, and public safety issues--due to short-term rentals.

This will dramatically weaken the ordinance and provide little, if no, relief to residents all over the city.

Additionally, a cap this large will significantly economically incentivize short-term rentals over long-term rentals, further impacting the housing market.

The Commission also decided to include a provision for vacation homes to allow short-term rentals up to 15 days.  While this may not sound like a lot, allowing vacation rentals will open the door to continued abuse and lead to the loss of more rental housing.

KNF plans on fighting hard in coming weeks to educate the City Council about our concerns.  The ordinance will soon come to the City Council for review.  We will need you again, so keep an eye out for updates and calls to action.

 


Learning from Seattle

Another City. Another Study. Same finding. Airbnb and short-term rentals are taking housing units off the market and making it ever harder for people to find a place to live.

This time, the story is Seattle, "But the result is the same.  “1,003 of these units — 36 percent — were listed by hosts who did not reside there. These are properties, according to the study, that could be housing local renters rather than Airbnb vacationers.

The reason property owners opt for Airbnb instead of a long-term tenant is simple: It’s more lucrative.”


Platforms seek loopholes in new rules

How do we hold platforms accountable?  We hear this question a lot. How can we make sure they do what they say they will? 

San Francisco is trying to do it. Last week the Board of Supervisors passed new rules that make short-term rental platforms responsible for enforcing the city’s laws.

As expected, the platforms are looking for ways around the new laws. Without holding the platforms accountable, no new ordinance will be effective. We are doing everything we can to make sure that LA gets it right.


New Rules in San Francisco

We have been watching the short-term rental battle in San Francisco. Enforcement has been a challenge and the platforms, like Airbnb, have been less than cooperative.  In response, just this week, the Board of Supervisors adopted tougher rules. 

The new rules require short-term rental websites to post registration numbers on listings or email the number and name of the host to the City.  San Francisco is demanding cooperation and we hope they get it.

Los Angeles should learn from San Francisco's example.  An ordinance that does not require cooperation and accountability of the platforms will not work.  We hope to see similar requirements in our final ordinance once it passes.


The Short Term Rental Debate

The crux of the debate about short-term rentals is this: What is more important? Protecting affordable housing and neighborhoods, or protecting the profits of home-sharing platforms?

As regulatory proposals continue to arise in cities all of the nation and world, Airbnb and the other platforms are coming up with absurd reasons to fight them—all in an effort to make more money at the expense of communities.

It is happening in L.A. and this GeekWire story describes what is happening in Seattle.  A Councilmember sums it up nicely. “There are an estimated four to five thousand Seattle homes, whether that’s a condo or an apartment unit or a private residence, that are being offered on these rental platforms today…Airbnb tells us that since 2009, their volume of users has doubled each year, so we know that this a large, growing sector and it is clearly providing economic benefits to hosts. We don’t want to interfere with that, but we do want to regulate commercial enterprises that are converting large numbers of Seattle homes to short-term rentals.”


Platform Accountability & Transparency

Platform accountability.  Transparency.  In order for any new short-term rental ordinance to work in any city, these provisions are essential.  We know first-hand the impacts short-term rentals are having on communities here in Los Angeles, but the problem is not unique to us. Airbnb and other platforms are wreaking havoc in cities all over the world.

A recent study about Miami shows the major similarities.

We must ensure platform accountability in any Los Angeles ordinance. Without it, efforts to regain our communities and protect affordable housing will fail.

JOIN US ON JUNE 23 to make sure platform accountability is included in the new ordinance. Location and details TBD.


Enforcement: Lessons learned from San Francisco

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We have said it before and will say it again.  Los Angeles can learn crucial lessons about short-term rentals from other cities. 

In San Francisco, enforcement is a big problem. Why?  Because the platforms are not cooperating!  As we move forward with the Los Angeles ordinance, enforcement is going to be our number one concern and priority.


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