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Short-term-rental regulations needed in Glendale, council members say

Short-term-rental regulations needed in Glendale, council members say
Glendale City Council members discussed the need for local short-term rental regulations, (Raul Roa / Glendale News-Press)

City Council members agreed that short-term rentals where the host is not present during the stay should be banned in Glendale, and they asked staff last week to prepare a report about the issue.

Currently, the city has no regulations regarding short-term home and apartment rentals booked through popular sites such as Airbnb and VRBO, said Mike Garcia, city attorney, during a council meeting on Oct. 2.

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“I don’t see anything good about this,” Councilman Ara Najarian said. “[AirBnb hosts] skirt our laws for zoning; they skirt our laws for transient-occupancy taxes; they skirt our laws for responsibility of being a good neighbor.”

While Najarian and Mayor Zareh Sinanyan said they would support an outright ban of all short-term rentals, the council decided to tentatively support home-sharing, where the host remains on the premises during the stay. All council members who were at the meeting tentatively rejected vacation stays, where the host is not present.

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“I don’t think there’s any other way of controlling the noise, the traffic and all the other negative impacts,” Councilwoman Paula Devine said of home-sharing. “If the owner is there, they can see what’s going on and stop it, kick the people out or whatever they want to do.”

Councilman Vartan Gharpetian left the meeting early after making a brief statement with directives including mandated quiet hours and safety inspections.

The report presented to the council was an overview of how other municipalities have addressed home-sharing practices, including capping the number of rental days per year, working with booking sites to collect relevant taxes and imposing fines on hosts who violate local regulations.

Council members also addressed the updated status of various lawsuits brought by municipalities at the state and federal levels against short-term rental-booking platforms and vice versa, previously presented in a report on the issue in 2016.

“Since 2016, more of the lawsuits have resolved, but, on the flipside, we’ve had more complaints regarding short-term rentals than ever,” said Yvette Neukian, senior assistant city attorney, who presented the report.

Those complaints include excessive noise, late-night parties, loitering and even theft, according to several council members. Najarian said his car was broken into while he was living near a property frequently rented out on a short-term basis.

There are roughly 400 units in Glendale that city officials suspect are regularly used for short-term rentals, according to Councilman Vrej Agajanian.

“In order not to lose affordable units in Glendale, we need to eliminate these Airbnb units,” Agajanian said after the meeting, echoing concerns expressed by other officials that the phenomenon depletes the housing stock and contributes to rising rents in the area.

Los Angeles has not adopted short-term-rental regulations, though City Council members have been deliberating over a potential ordinance for more than three years.

Other cities, however, including Pasadena, Santa Monica, San Francisco and Palm Desert, have adopted regulations. They all require hosts to register with the city and pay transient-occupancy taxes.

Glendale has not yet set a timeline for drafting regulations.

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