On June 13th, the Los Angeles Planning and Land Use Committee heard testimony as it relates to a possible Short Term Rental (AirBNB) ordinance. Like many cities in the Southland, Los Angeles is grappling with how to regulate this emerging technology. Culver City has also begun to discuss regulation of the platform, while cities such as Santa Monica and West Hollywood have already passed regulations on short term rentals.

Recently, Aimco, one of the largest apartment operators in the Country stepped up litigation against Airbnb and is seeking Class Action Status according to a fresh press release. Aimco filed its initial lawsuit against Airbnb in February claiming Airbnb refused to stop illegal subletting of apartments.  This came on the heels of an NBC special on home sharing in the City of Los Angeles. .

AAGLA has been following the home sharing ordinance closely and has serious concerns about an owner’s ability to effectively run and manage their property. Managing a community is complex. It is the rental owner and housing provider who is responsible for the operations of the building and caring for their community. On any given day managers must help resolve community disputes, conduct needed repairs, provider customer service, oversee vacancies, resolve nuisances and ensure the community operates in a way all residents can enjoy the shared space.

As cities review and create regulatory framework, AAGLA and its members must ensure  provisions are included which protect the housing provider’s ability to operate their communities. Any sharing conducted by a community member must be given explicit written permission by the owner while circumnavigating a lease agreement should be prohibited. Additionally, as even a lease agreement can sometimes be time consuming and expensive to enforce  provisions should be implemented which give the property owner the ability to completely remove the property from the prospect of home sharing on the site. No community is the same and housing providers must be able to make the decisions that are best for their communities. Surely, with this technology there is a simple ability through the platform or the City to remove certain addresses and APN numbers from consideration.

Monetary fines or other enforcement action for illegally engaging in a short term rental should be incurred by the aggrieving party. In the present state, it is difficult for the housing provider to monitor and catch an illegal short term rental in their building. Any enforcement mechanism, whether it is an official registration number or other method taken by  Code Enforcement should take into consideration the actions of the party responsible for the illegal rental.

AAGLA applauds cities for creating a framework for this emerging technology. The ability and need to remove a multifamily property from home sharing consideration is a reasonable and fair request. We need members to help ensure these protections are are folded into any ordinance looking to allow Short Term Rentals.

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