Short-Term AirBnB Bunk Rentals Anger Gramercy-Rosewood Area Residents

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A search of AirBnB rentals in the 9004 zip code shows at least 17 single-bed offerings in the Gramercy/Rosewood neighborhood

As other neighborhoods in Los Angeles have discovered recently, conversion of regular rental units into unregulated short-term (often overnight) rentals advertised on services such as AirBnB and VRBO can cause a variety of problems for neighbors.  While landlords are increasingly fond of such arrangements – because they can make more money on nightly or weekly rentals than they can on standard 6-month or 1-year leases — neighbors often complain that the properties are no longer well maintained, traffic increases, tenants are not well screened, and illegal or undesirable activity abounds.

Last week, Jason Peers, who lives in the Oakwood-Maplewood-St. Andrews neighborhood, alerted the Buzz to one particularly intense concentration of overnight rentals in his area.  According to Peers, there are at least seven short-term rentals currently being advertised on AirBnB in the Gramercy/Maplewood area.  And all of these – according to their AirBnB listings – seem to be outfitted and run as hostels, with rentals by the bunk, not as individual rooms or units.  Also, according to Peers, the photos for the advertised rentals all show furnishings so similar, it’s pretty clear they’re all run by the same operator.

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Photo from one Gramercy area AirBnB listing

[Note: an AirBnB search by the Buzz of the same area this morning actually turned up 27 listings for single-bed spaces in 90004 that go for $32 per night or less, with at least 17 of them within a block of Wilton/Clinton/Gramercy/Maplewood. The listings – which, as Peers found, all feature very similar furnishings – describe the accommodations as a “real bed” in a “shared room.” Most of the properties in question seem to be single-family homes with R-3 multi-family zoning.]

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Similar decor in another AirBnB listing

Los Angeles has been struggling in recent months with the issue of short-term rentals.  According to a city memo from 2014, as reported by CurbedLA, short term rentals are not allowed in residential areas (including, presumably R-3 multi-family areas)…but that hasn’t seemed to slow the AirBnB trend.  According to a white paper released last summer by the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, Los Angeles is losing about 11 housing units per day to STR conversions.

According to Peers, in a letter to City Council District 4 officials and the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council last week, the homes now being rented by the bed in his neighborhood “previously had long-term renters who were forced out — the homes were all tagged for tear down, but so far only one has been demolished. The rest have been renovated and filled with bunk beds. “

Nikki Ezhari, CD 4 Field Deputy for the area in question, discussed the Gramercy-area problem at last week’s GWNC Board meeting, but said the city currently lacks laws to address AirBnB rentals, and there’s not much it can do until more specific rules are drafted and put into effect.

At the meeting, GWNC Board members suggested that occupancy limits and division of rental properties into possibly illegal units or use as “hostels” should fall under the current authority of the Department of Building and Safety. Ezhari sent a follow-up note to city officials after the meeting, but according to Peers, she has not yet reported a response.

In the meantime, according to Peers, “The yards and curbsides are no longer cared for and trash is everywhere. There are no longer gardeners tending to the properties, there are people coming and going all hours of the night and the properties are in general disarray. We were sad that the homes were marked for tear down but now we wish they were!”

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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.

3 thoughts on “Short-Term AirBnB Bunk Rentals Anger Gramercy-Rosewood Area Residents

  1. A house on my block on Gramercy Place near 3rd St. was one of the original hostels of this type. Our block is R-1 which didn’t stop the owner from causing block problems with regards to street parking, constant foot traffic, and some disreputable “renters’ coming into our neighborhood. I told LaBonge’s deputy, Ben Seinfeld, about it and he undertook to notify the homeowner that he was in violation of the R-1 zoning and creating a health and safety problem that would be reported. While the street traffic has been alleviated by preferential parking permits now, the property is still a total mess and an eyesore to be sure!!

  2. Thanks for the article. This has been a problem for months. We have complained to the city and nothing has been done about this. I am sure the city of la would want to make sure they are receiving their business taxes! These house were issued demolition notices and some of them are not even up to code with smoke detectors. The developers who buy these house do not care about disrupting the people who live in the neighborhood. I also wish they would just tear the houses down. It would be much better than what is currently happening. They have turned an empty lot into a trash heap.

  3. I agree with Jason Peers completely! The block of Gramercy between Clinton and Maplewood is a complete and utter disaster! I find it hard to believe that Nikki Ezhari and the CD4 cannot do anything about this! Isn’t this the same governing body that approves and encourages these opportunistic developers? I recall Mr. Ryu even sold his house to this unscrupulous kind. This neighborhood is suffering from multiple development plans, the 501 Wilton project, this Grammercy fiasco and the many, many small lot subdivision projects currently in development. Those of us who live in this neighborhood are becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of concern from both the city council and the developers. Mr. Peers, if you need support from the community please let us know. Most of us do not know what else we can do!

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