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Report reveals Los Angeles not enforcing law on short-term rentals

A recent report from the advocacy group Better Neighbors Los Angeles shows that the city of Los Angeles is not enforcing its law against illegal short-term rentals facilitated by Airbnb and other companies. According to the report, short-term rental (STR) companies take housing off the market when owners rent units to tourists instead of local tenants, essentially converting rental housing units into hotels.

In 2018, Los Angeles adopted its Home-Sharing Ordinance (HSO) to regulate the growth of STRs in the city. The law required any homes listed for short-term rental to be the host’s primary residence for more than six months of the year, made hosts register with the city, prohibited converting rent-controlled units to short-term rentals, and more.

Despite the ordinance, the city is not enforcing the law, even though it is collecting thousands of violations, according to the report by Better Neighbors LA, which found an “extraordinarily high rate of non-compliance” with the city’s Home-Sharing Ordinance.

Los Angeles’ Department of City Planning is primarily tasked with enforcing the HSO, but it has not been able to respond to requests for comment by publication time. The city’s data from November 2021 to October 2022 shows that more than 2,000 short-term rentals advertised each month were out of compliance with the ordinance, but only 27 instances of fines were issued.

Short-term rentals have raised rent an average of $810 per year for each rental unit in Los Angeles since 2015, according to David Wachsmuth, a professor at McGill University hired by Better Neighbors LA to study the impact of short-term rentals in the city. Commercial short-term rentals have removed 2,500 homes from the market in Los Angeles and likely resulted in an additional 5,000 people becoming homeless.

The report recommends that the city create a private right of action that Angelenos can use to sue hosts who violate the Home-Sharing Ordinance. Better Neighbors LA also wants the city to unify enforcement under one department and for the city attorney to sue companies that are out of compliance, in addition to issuing citations and fines.


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