L.A. to consider regulating Airbnb and other short-term home rentals

Lawmakers want short-term rentals to pay transient occupancy tax

Residents who offer rentals through online sites such as Airbnb, VRBO and Homeaway may soon face new regulations in the city of Los Angeles.

Saying that short-term rentals through online sites ruin residential neighborhoods, two Los Angeles city councilmen have asked city officials to recommend ways to regulate the popular rental trend.

“We need a regulatory model that will put neighborhoods first while paving the way for short-term rentals to thrive in an appropriate fashion in Los Angeles,” said Councilman Mike Bonin, who introduced the motion along with Councilman Herb Wesson.

The motion asks city legislative analysts and lawyers to examine regulations on short-term rentals adopted in San Francisco, Portland, Ore., and other cities -- and recommend similar rules for Los Angeles.

In the motion, Bonin and Wesson say that so many homes have been converted to short-term rentals that they have "begun to change the stable and familiar feel of many residential neighborhoods."

The motion also asks that new regulations allow the city to collect transient occupancy taxes, which are paid by traditional hotels.

In a statement, Airbnb said the company looks forward to working with the city on future regulations.

"L.A. is the creative capital of the world, and Councilman Bonin’s motion is a sensible step toward developing fair, progressive policies," the statement read.

Bonin's district includes neighborhoods in West Los Angeles, while Wesson represents areas in South and Central Los Angeles. The proposal awaits approval by a committee on economic development.

"Commercial ventures have purchased large numbers of rental units or even entire apartment buildings and converted them into de facto hotels, reducing and threatening the city’s stock of rental housing and affordable housing, and that is wrong,” Bonin said.

To read more about travel, tourism and the airline industry, follow me on Twitter at @hugomartin.

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