LA City Explores Amending Short-Term Rental Law to Protect Against Crime

By City News Service
City News Service
City News Service
January 19, 2022 Updated: January 19, 2022

LOS ANGELES—Los Angeles City Council voted on Jan. 19 to explore amending the city’s municipal code to suspend a property’s ability to be used as a short-term rental if any criminal activity occurred at the location while being rented.

The city’s current ordinance, which was passed in 2018, limits home-sharing to primary residences and requires the hosts to register for a permit. It prohibits platforms such as Airbnb from processing bookings for listings that don’t have a city home-sharing registration number.

The city council on Wednesday ordered the Department of City Planning, with assistance from the city attorney and the police department, to report on the feasibility of amending the provision to allow for the immediate suspension of the Los Angeles Home-Sharing Registration when criminal activity is found to have taken place at the rental.

The motion, which passed 13–0 with Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson absent, was introduced by Councilwoman Nithya Raman and Councilmen Paul Koretz and Bob Blumenfield.

Before the vote on Wednesday, Koretz spoke about shootings that occurred at short-term rentals in his district, listing three and noting that “that’s just a snippet of the many incidents that have been reported, and that’s only in [Council District] 5.”

“The motion before you seeks to address a small piece of a larger issue … we see any number of violations of the home-sharing ordinance every single day, and we need to provide the Planning Department, Building and Safety and [Los Angeles Police Department] with the resources to enforce it effectively,” Koretz said.

Under the current ordinance, the city can suspend a registration for cause, but a property owner is able to appeal the decision within 15 days of receiving the notice.

“These operators are free to continue doing business until a lengthy appeals process has completed,” Koretz said.

The motion would have the Department of City Planning explore a provision to immediately suspend a Home-Sharing Registration upon receipt of a report and request from the city’s police department. The suspension would be in effect during the appeals process.

The motion did not include a timeline for the Department of City Planning’s report back to the city council.