Los Angeles is still dragging its feet on Airbnb regulations

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Cities across California and the world have put limits on Airbnb and other short-term rentals, but lawmakers in Los Angeles—where there are approximately 23,000 listings for short-term rentals—are taking their time.

The city’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee postponed a vote Tuesday on draft rules that have been kicking around City Hall for two years. Committee president Jose Huizar said the committee would “hopefully” take action in 30 days. Once it does, the final hurdle will be the Los Angeles City Council.

For PLUM, the sticking point has been: How many days per year should hosts be allowed to rent out their homes?

The proposal is an 180-day cap, which Airbnb hosts have said is too strict. PLUM is trying to hash out a compromise.

On Tuesday, it asked planning department staffers to come up with a process for allowing some hosts to exceed that cap—possibly, for example, by getting permission from their neighbors.

“We’ve narrowed it down… this is the one final issue we’re examining,” Huizar said.

David Ewing, a longtime Venice resident, accused committee members of “fiddling” around while Angelenos lose their homes.

“There’s no excuse; you know you have the information you need to make your decision,” he said.

It’s far more lucrative for landlords and property owners to use sites like Airbnb than it is to lease to long-term tenants. In the midst of a housing shortage—which has helped drive up the cost of rent—Los Angeles needs as many housing units as possible for longer-term tenants. (A 2015 report from the Los Angeles Alliance For a New Economy found that short-term rentals are taking 11 units off the LA rental market every day).

According to Host Compliance LLC, a company that monitors short-term rental platforms for local governments, of the approximately 23,000 homes and units available for rent in Los Angeles on short-term rental platforms, an estimated 6,000 to 10,000 are used primarily for short-term rentals—meaning, that’s the number that aren’t available to long-term renters.

That’s a “relatively small portion of the 1.45 million total housing units in the city (less than 1 percent),” city planning staffers wrote in an October report to PLUM committee members.

“However, the fast growth of the practice and its concentration in certain neighborhoods threatens housing availability, affordability and residential stability of an increasing number of communities throughout Los Angeles,” they added.

A 180-day cap would affect thousands of hosts. According to the planning department, there are 3,900 Airbnb listings that exceeded 180 days of short-term rental activity last year alone.

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