Los Angeles Seeks Enforcement Against Illegal Short-Term Rentals

By City News Service
City News Service
City News Service
April 30, 2022 Updated: April 30, 2022

LOS ANGELES—The Los Angeles City Council approved on April 29 a motion aimed at strengthening enforcement of a city ordinance prohibiting unpermitted and non-compliant Airbnbs and other short-term rental operations.

“In our city, we cannot afford the consequences of losing any more affordable housing units from a supply that is already in a desperate deficiency,” Councilwoman Nithya Raman said.

“Failing to fully and adequately enforce the Home-Sharing Ordinance means we are losing housing, subjecting tenants to displacement pressure, and inviting major nuisance and quality of life issues into our communities. Today’s vote is an essential step in our ongoing efforts to stabilize and protect our neighborhoods.”

The motion by Raman and Councilmen Bob Blumenfield, Mike Bonin, and Paul Koretz instructed the Department of City Planning to report back within 90 days on the following items:

  • Recommendations for how the city can address non-compliant hosts who rent out properties listed as a primary residence but are not used as such, the conversion of affordable housing stock into short-term rentals, the conversion of multi-family residential structures to short-term rentals, short-term rentals engaging in commercial uses/activities, and properties that are rented for longer periods of time than permitted.
  • Enforcement mechanisms such as citations, fines, license revocations, and criminal penalties.
  • Home-sharing regulatory and enforcement models of other cities, including San Francisco, Austin, and New Orleans.
  • Strategies for ensuring all home-sharing platforms that operate within the city enter into platform agreements requiring them to share data with the city.
  • Strategies for implementing and improving data collection.
  • What staffing or dedicated unit, office, or department is needed to consolidate various aspects of home-sharing compliance and enforcement in one multidisciplinary team.

A study from McGill University prepared for Better Neighbors L.A. found that one-third of the city’s advertised short-term rental listings have been illegal since the home-sharing ordinance went into effect in 2018.

“We passed short-term rental regulations in LA to prevent property owners from converting homes for Angelenos into rogue hotels, but enforcement is so lax that operators and platforms are violating the law and worsening our affordable housing crisis,” said Mike Bonin, who co-authored the 2018 Home-Sharing Ordinance. “We are hemorrhaging valuable rental stock, and it needs to stop.”

Epoch Times Photo
The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to pass an ordinance to regulate short-term rentals like Airbnb in Los Angeles, Calif. on Dec. 11, 2018. (Screenshot/LAcity.org)

The Department of City Planning will also draft a report within 90 days for a plan to create a centralized, digital database or platform to better coordinate the tracking of non-compliant properties. The platform would be used for monitoring and enforcement purposes.

The motion also instructed the department to ensure within 90 days that the public is able to view whether any property in the city has a home-sharing license, a home-sharing license renewal, or an extended home-sharing license.

“On top of grappling with out of control parties and violent crimes at short term rentals, we have serious concerns about violations of the Home-Sharing Ordinance such as the illegal conversion of our critical affordable housing stock, hosts engaging in commercial activity, and renting out homes that are not a primary residence,” Koretz said.

“In fact, we see any number of violations of the Home-Sharing Ordinance every day in my district, and we need to take a serious look at the program and the mechanisms and resources required to effectively enforce the ordinance.”

Joyce Kuo contributed to this report.