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Anaheim bans short-term rentals in residential areas

In response to vocal complaints from residents, the Anaheim City Council voted to ban all future short-term rentals in residential areas of the city and gave existing rental operators 18 months to close up shop.

Following a five-hour meeting that included testimony from short-term rental operators and their neighbors, the council voted unanimously to put an end to all future rentals in neighborhoods and adopted tougher restrictions on existing operators until they too are shut down in early 2018.

Short-term rentals have gained popularity across the country with the growth of websites including Airbnb, VRBO and Homeaway, which make it easy for homeowners to rent out rooms or entire houses for a few days or a few weeks.

In Anaheim, short-term rentals have sprouted like weeds, particularly around the Disneyland Resort, the Anaheim Convention Center and Angel Stadium. The city had received five to 10 applications a week for new short-term rental permits, officials said. 

Anaheim estimates that at least 400 homes are currently rented on a short-term basis, up from 200 in May 2014. The city collects a 15% room tax on short-term rentals as well as an annual $250 registration fee.

Residents have complained about parking problems, late-night noise and litter generated by out-of-town renters. Short-term rental operators argued that they maintain their properties and generate revenue for the city.

Responding to neighbors’ complaints, the city initially adopted a 45-day moratorium on short-term rentals and then extended the ban for an additional 186 days to give city staff time to study possible solutions to the complaints.

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Before their unanimous vote late Wednesday night, the only debate among council members was how much time to give owners of existing short-term rentals to shut down their operations.

The council also approved new restrictions on existing short-term rentals including new “quiet times” for the occupants, new fire safety codes, parking restrictions, a requirement that rental operators designate a local representative to respond to complaints and heftier penalties for violations.

hugo.martin@latimes.com

To read more about the travel and tourism industries, follow @hugomartin on Twitter.

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