In December 2018, the City of Los Angeles enacted the “Home Sharing Ordinance,” which allows homeowners to rent their homes on a short-term basis within specific guidelines. The law, which was designed to mitigate the city’s housing crisis, allows hosts to register only their primary residences for short-term rental and requires that they register with the city.
In practice, many hosts ignore the law, and enforcement has been spotty and ineffective. LA Times data show that as of June, 5000 AirBnB rentals did not have registration numbers and city data shows that 6000 AirBnB listings are out of compliance. In the face of thousands of illegal listings, the city has issued just over 650 citations, has not issued fines, and has not enforced the ordinance against online short-term rental platforms at all.
Last year, Los Angeles and AirBnB entered into an agreement requiring the latter to remove “categorically ineligible” listings, including rent stabilized apartments. Airbnb was required to put together a system to share listing data with the city, and is not required to take action on other out-of-compliance listings until the system is launched. The system was set to go online in June, but the city has now delayed to investigate potential loss in tax revenue.
Nancy Hanna, a partner at Hadsell Stormer Renick & Dai which sued Airbnb in 2015 on behalf of tenants, said “People have been calling our office, complaining that the city has been telling residents that Airbnb has immunity,”
Both the city and AirBnB claim they are working to enforce the laws, but renters throughout Los Angeles, who have been victims of short-term rental abuse for years, have received little satisfaction.
Hadsell Stormer Renick & Dai attorneys sent a letter to the city in May, claiming that enforcement has been “woefully inadequate,” based on the recent rise in out-of-compliance rentals. Long-term renters complain that fines are inadequate to deter non-compliant hosts. Venice tenant Brain Averill said, “If you’re going to fine someone a one-time $500, they could cover that cost in two or three nights, that seems incredibly ineffective. People are just going to see that as the cost of doing business and gladly pay it.” In fact, Judith Goldman of Keep Neighborhoods First, found that, as of February, the city planning department had identified over 10,000 non-compliant rentals.
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