After years of anticipation, the Los Angeles Department of City Planning finally passed its first short-term rental ordinance. The ordinance represents an affirmative step forward to control negative impacts of the short-term rental industry. Although not perfect, it provides a initial framework that returns some power to the community, protects against illegal conversion of RSO units and affordable housing, and requires hosts and platforms to conduct their operations in a responsible manner. Below are the ordinance's most important provisions - which we must fight to keep. Without them, the ordinance becomes unworkable and unenforceable.
1. Registration Requirements: Any host who intends to share their home must register with the city and obtain a permit for the sharing activity. A host may legally share only a primary residence, defined as the place where a host resides for at least six months. Hosts must also keep all records for at least three years and pay appropriate Transient Occupancy Taxes (TOT).
2. Platform Accountability: The ordinance requires listing platforms to remove and cancel any listings that have no registration number and/or have been rented for over 90 days. It also requires them to turn over monthly booking data, including registration numbers for all listings, addresses, total number of nights each unit has been occupied and cost of each stay. These provisions are critical, because this is the missing link in the short-term rental ordinances of other cities that are struggling with enforcement.
3. No Short-Term Rental of RSO Units: The ordinance prohibits short-term rental of RSO units. Los Angeles is in a deep housing crisis; we have witnessed first-hand the decimation of affordable housing in our neighborhoods through illegal conversion of entire homes and apartment buildings and unlawful eviction of vulnerable families. Our housing crisis is so severe that we must do no more harm, and must save each and every housing unit we can. While many questions remain unanswered and more work must be done, click here to send a quick thank-you note to the city for including these baseline provisions into the short-term rental ordinance.