The city of Huntington Beach voted on Sept. 21 to allow homes on short-term housing platforms, like Airbnb, to operate without the necessary permits until the end of the year.
Short-term rentals (STRs), a residential housing unit that is rented for 30 days or less, were originally banned in Huntington Beach. In December 2020, the council passed Ordinance 4224—effective Feb. 19—which allowed STRs under specific restrictions.
These restrictions require the unit to be “hosted,” meaning the property owner has to be on location at the unit while it’s being rented in all areas of the city except for Sunset Beach, where units can be unhosted as long as the owner obtains a permit from the city within six months, although hosted STRs still need a different type of permit from the city as well.
The restrictions originally arose from neighbors’ complaints about the rentals, with opponents claiming tenants flowing in and out use them as party houses with no regard for the rest of the neighborhood. The rentals are known to have loud parties and events, cause overflowing trash, and even property damage.
Prior to the Sept. 21 council meeting, rental platforms such as Airbnb and other popular sites needed to remove all unpermitted rentals within city limits by Oct. 1, although now they’ll have until the end of the year.
“People can continue to illegally list, but as of Jan. 1, you cannot be listed unless you have a permit,” Director of Community Development Ursula Luna-Reynosa suggested during the meeting.
“And not even just in the queue, you need to have a valid permit. The city will go and ensure that folks are well aware of this and we won’t rely on other third parties to get this message out.”
Councilmembers agreed with this idea, noting they thought it was fair to STR owners as well as opponents of them.
“I’ve heard from the public, and there isn’t a whole compelling reason to not extend it until the end of the year,” Councilman Mike Posey said during the meeting.
The issue has been somewhat controversial between STR owners who use the properties as extra income and neighbors who are tired of people bringing down the quality of the neighborhood.
As a result, the council formed an ad hoc committee to address issues relating to STRs.
“During the ad hoc committee, what we heard from residents was that getting the permit was difficult; it was time-consuming; it was difficult to get somebody to come out and inspect your short-term rental,” Mayor Kim Carr said during the council meeting.
“But then also, we heard a lot from people who really felt that the city should be considering a pathway to unhosted short-term rentals, especially for people that don’t feel that they’re very dissimilar to Sunset Beach and that they have places that are either on the beach or within a couple of blocks of the beach.”