Venice, a Neighborhood of Strangers

Imagine buying a home on one of Venice’s streets only to find out that you really have no true neighbors — that your neighborhood is not a real neighborhood. What you thought were properties housing your new neighbors are actually buildings occupied by transient renters. Imagine in the mornings seeing maids with carts moving up and down the street… just like you see in the hallways of any legitimate hotel. Will it be safe to let your kids play outside with nothing but strangers surrounding your home and roaming your streets 24/7?

About 2000 units of Venice’s housing stock have been captured as short-term rentals by Airbnb, VBRO, Flipkey, Globe and others, for inclusion in their available rooms to rent-by-the-day operations. These units are no longer available for rent unless you want to rent a room by the day. On the short two blocks of Dudley, there are already 12 entire buildings which have been taken over as short-term rentals. This is not a situation where a homeowner is renting out their home while they go on vacation — it is a mass takeover of our rental unit stock with transient one night renters and as weekend party houses for reunion meetings and the like. The public relations for the syndicators is that this is the new “sharing economy,” but none can tell you just what is being shared. The best we can figure is that all the sharing is between the investors and the operators of Airbnb and the rest of them.

This is a stealth takeover of our housing stock by investors and owners eager to participate in this new gold rush. Short-term rental operators and syndicators will do more to destroy our community than any bad development ever could.

Los Angeles has an ordinance on the books which prohibits any rental of less than 30 days. It is not being enforced. The city is choosing not to enforce it because of the lobbying influence by The lobbyists for Airbnb, and others, are working city-by-city to get these short-term rental restrictions removed. The reason cities have short term rental restrictions is to maintain its housing stock and keep neighborhoods stable and safe.

The lack of enforcement of the short-term rental law will de-stabilize our neighborhoods and destroy our community’s cohesiveness forever. This is a big deal. We should all be worried.

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