City Planning Commission Approves Revised Short-Term Rentals Ordinance

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The City Planning Commission voted 5-4 on Thursday to approve a slightly revised version of a proposed ordinance to regulate short term rentals (defined as stays less than 30 days) in residential properties.

With a few last-minute revisions that seemed to anger a few people on at least two of the many sides of the issue, the commission approved an ordinance that would allow such rentals up to 180 days each year (up from the 90 days originally proposed by the City Planning Department, and later revised by Planning staff to 120 days).

According to the L.A. Times, the new, more generous 180-day cap produced objections from both short-term rental hosts at yesterday’s meeting and angry neighbors of poorly managed AirBnB rental units.  The hosts, many of whom depend on short-term rental income to afford their homes, said they may not be able to keep their homes if only allowed to host short-term rentals for half the year (though longer-term rentals would still be allowed, as they are now)…while neighbor activists said that allowing six months of short-term rentals per year is too generous, and essentially changes the use of residential properties to commercial hotel status, which should not be allowed in residential areas.

Judith Goldman, one of the co-founders of Keep Neighborhoods First, which advocates for affordable housing and quality of life issues in residential neighborhoods, told the Times, “This will dramatically weaken the ordinance and provide little, if no, relief to residents all over the city.”

At the same time, Robert S. Genis, executive director of the Los Angeles Short Term Rental Alliance, which represents short-term rental hosts, said in the same Times story that the 120-day rule “will cause a tremendous amount of hardship” and “some people may be forced to sell their homes because they can no longer stay in them.”

Other provisions of the proposed ordinance approved by the Commission yesterday include a cap of 15 rental days per year for second homes and vacation homes, the requirement that all short-term rental hosts register their rentals with the city, a means for the city to collect a Transient Occupancy Tax on all short-term rentals, and a system of fines for both hosts and rental platforms such as AirBnB for violations.

The proposed ordinance moves next to the City Council, which will have the final say over its specific provisions and potential adoption.

 

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About Elizabeth Fuller

Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - first in the Sycamore Square neighborhood, and since 2012 in West Adams Heights/Sugar Hill. She was long-time board member of the Sycamore Square Neighborhood Association, currently serves on the board of the West Adams Heights/Sugar Hill Neighborhood Association, spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and is the co-owner/publisher of the Buzz.

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