L.A. City Council Votes to Approve New Rules for Airbnb

After a years-long battle, the Los Angeles City Council finally approved new rules to regulate Airbnb in the city.

More than three years ago, councilman Mike Bonin and council president Herb Wesson laid out a proposal to regulate short-term rentals that they argued were having a devastating effect on housing in the city, turning homes into hotels and causing a housing shortage.

Gina Charusombat, policy and program coordinator for the Thai Community Development Center, added that landlords had a financial incentive to displace poor tenants to provide housing for tourists.

A new law has been passed that will hopefully curb L.A.’s housing crisis.

Short-term rental companies such as Airbnb and HomeAway spent heavily on lobbying for favorable rules in the negotiations. Airbnb alone has spent roughly $1.3 million in the last four years lobbying the city on the rules, according to city disclosures.

However, there are arguments on both sides of the issue. Many people who find the city’s steep housing costs unaffordable, use hosting services such as Airbnb as a way to afford their rent.

“We do Airbnb because we need it because L.A. is becoming increasingly unaffordable and we need it to survive,” said Rhonda Hayder in a Los Angeles Times article that details the crisis and the fight for these housing regulations.

According to the L.A. Times article, Airbnb deputy policy manager Connie Llanos said that the passage of the new law was “an important step” that would legalize home sharing for many L.A. hosts.

The new law limits who and how people can use their homes as short-term rentals. A key part of the law limits the number of days hosts can offer up their homes to 120. However, that cap can be exceeded if they can make a successful case to planning officials that offering their home won’t harm the neighborhood.

Apartments that are covered by rent stabilization cannot participate in short-term rental programs.

Short-term rental platforms cannot process bookings from hosts not registered with the city or hosts who have exceeded the annual limit. Fines will be imposed up to $1,000 per day for not adhering to the new policy.

The platforms must also turn over information on hosts regularly to maintain enforcement.

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