Los Angeles clamps down on Airbnb, approves new rules for short-term rentals

Paulina Martignon
Feb 27 · 3 min read

In a bittersweet moment for owners of rent-controlled units in Los Angeles, the City Council has banned Airbnb and other short-term rental platforms under regulations adopted in December.

Before we dive into the restrictions and what this means for landlords, some background is in order.

Gone are the days when Airbnb and other short-term rental agreements were loosely regulated and rarely enforced. It was inevitable that the law would finally close the gap with technology.

Take, for instance, Airbnb’s storied and acrimonious history with its hometown of San Francisco.

As in other cities, when the leader in the modern-day iteration of the temporary flop and their hosts were asked politely to follow local ordinances, it became clear that the honor system was not working, resulting in a spate of litigation aimed at more transparency.

Airbnb’s battle-tested legal team defended an array of lawsuits the world over and even brought their own fight to municipalities that stood in the way of its conquest, but the Goliath has been brought to their knees, acquiescing to a new regulatory regime that imposes heavy fines and deletes the listing of a bad actor in a nanosecond.

Los Angeles, however, has been a laggard in the darkening of homesharing and vacation rentals. After three years of deliberation, the city that benefits from 48 million visitors a year has finally joined the chorus of other cities who have said to Airbnb: the buck stops with us.

Here’s the new lay of the land, which will also affect other rental sites including HomeAway, and Vacation Rentals by Owner, or VRBO.

  • Hosts will have to register with the city planning department and pay an $89 fee each year.
  • Only a primary residence can be rented out, defined as the place where a host lives for at least six months per year.
  • Renters can’t home-share without prior written approval of their landlord.
  • Stabilized (aka “rent-controlled”) units are not eligible for home-sharing, even if you own your own RSO unit.
  • Hosts may not register for or operate more than one home-sharing rental unit at a time in the city.
  • Hosts can not home-share for more then 120 days in a calendar year, unless they have registered with the city for “extended home-sharing.”
  • The “extended home-sharing” option allows hosts to rent out residences for an unlimited number of days. To get approval from the city, hosts have to pay an $850 fee. To qualify, they’ll have to have been registered for at least six months or hosted for at least 60 days. Hosts who have received a citation in the past three years will be disqualified unless they pay an $8,500 fee to have their case reviewed.
  • Non-residential buildings and temporary structures are not eligible for home-sharing; that includes vehicles parked on the property, storage sheds, trailers, and tents.

New regulations a double-edged sword

Many Angelenos who pocket extra income or make ends meet by renting out their home lament instructions by the city as to how to use their own property, but still other landlords applaud the measure because it allows them to regain control of units that are used by profiteering tenants who engage in short-term rentals without their permission.

We remind landlords that they should be the eyes and ears of their property and that improper subletting is typically a violation of the lease and therefore, grounds for eviction. No matter what side of the coin you find yourself on, MT Evictions is the ally of landlords and dedicated to helping you power through your real estate challenges.

Paulina Martignon

Written by

Timely insights for landlords in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California.

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