LA TIMES EDITORIAL: How to regulate Airbnb and "homesharing"
After months of anticipation, the Los Angeles Department of City Planning recently released its draft short-term rental ordinance. The draft is an affirmative step forward to control the negative impacts of the short-term rental industry. Although not perfect, what is being proposed is a framework that gives power back to the community, protects the illegal conversion of RSO units and affordable housing, and requires hosts and platforms to conduct their operations in a responsible manner. The following are the most critical provisions in the City’s draft ordinance that we must fight to keep. Without these, the draft ordinance becomes unworkable and completely unenforceable.
1. Registration Requirements: Any host that intends to share their home must register with the city and obtain a permit for this activity. Only a primary residence may be legally shared under the draft, which is defined as the place where a host resides for at least six months. Hosts must also keep all records for three years and pay appropriate Transient Occupancy Taxes (TOT).
2. Platform Accountability: The ordinance requires platforms to remove and cancel any listings that have no registration number and/or have been rented for more than 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: Under the draft ordinance, the short-term rental of RSO units is prohibited. Los Angeles is in a deep housing crisis, and we have witnessed first-hand the decimation of affordable housing in our neighborhoods through the illegal conversion of entire homes and apartment buildings and the unlawful eviction of vulnerable families. The housing crisis is so severe that we must do no more harm, and must save each and every housing unit we can. There are still many unanswered questions and more work must be done, but click here to senda quick thank you note to the city for including these baseline provisions into the short-term rental ordinance.
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