A crackdown on Airbnb and other short-term rentals is likely coming to unincorporated LA County


A crackdown on Airbnb and other short-term rentals is likely coming to unincorporated LA County

Homepage News, LA Politics

Rebecca Ellis

March 20, 2024

Airbnbs and other short-term rentals in unincorporated areas will be limited to hosts who rent out their primary residence, under a proposal that received preliminary approval from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

Officials say the rents have spread across the county’s unincorporated areas, sometimes leaving a trail of raucous parties and trash-strewn streets.

The proposed ordinance, five years in the making, would ban landlords from offering second homes, guest houses, accessory buildings or investment properties in unincorporated LA County.

The supervisors, who unanimously passed the ordinance Tuesday, will likely have to vote on it again early next month before it becomes law.

Under the proposed ordinance, landlords in unincorporated areas home to about 1 million residents would have to register with the county and pay an annual fee of $914. A home may be rented for a maximum of 30 consecutive days. And so-called commercial landlords, who rent out multiple properties, would have to withdraw their advertisements.

It immediately takes them out of the game, says Randy Renick, head of Better Neighbors LA, which is pushing for regulations on short-term rentals.

Better Neighbors LA says the ordinance would put much-needed housing back on the market. The group estimates that there are more than 2,600 homes available for short-term rentals in unincorporated county areas.

The ordinance was supported by several renter advocacy groups and government officials, who argued that short-term rentals displace long-term residents and replace them with unruly tourists. Some residents have told the news media that their street has been de facto turned into a hotel.

Across the province, residents suddenly have to deal with commercial enterprises in the middle of their neighborhoods, loud parties, parking problems, large amounts of trash, loud noise and guests who have no interest in protecting the community. officials wrote in a joint letter.

Some landlords and the rental platforms they use have opposed the proposed ordinance, arguing it is an attack on homeowners, discourages tourists from visiting the city and cuts off a much-needed revenue stream.

At a board meeting last month, Airbnb host Ellen Snortland said she felt like she was being unfairly lumped in with business owners. She said she is in her 70s and uses Airbnb to avoid foreclosure.

Do you think people like us Airbnb hosts do this to get rich? she said. We do it to survive.

Vrbo, an online vacation rental platform, said it believes the province’s regulations would harm both tourists and the families seeking to host them.

The proposal strictly limits the options available to traveling families visiting the area and the economic opportunities for residents who own, manage and maintain these properties, a spokesperson for the Expedia Group, which oversees HomeAway, wrote in a statement.

There is more to the crackdown by the provinces


five years after the city of Los Angeles passed its own short-term rental restrictions, barring Angelenos from renting out second homes on platforms

Like it

search for Airbnb. The county version would bring unincorporated areas roughly in line with the city.

Maria Patio Gutierrez, policy director at the tenants’ rights organization

Strategic Actions for a Just Economy, SAJE,

said residents will sometimes report illegal vacation rentals in their neighborhood, only to discover that the homes are actually located in LA County, unincorporated and therefore completely legal.

The housing crisis is happening across LA County, she said.

Some proponents of the ordinance hope there will be one significant difference from LA City: enforcement with teeth.

Researchers have found that landlords in LA regularly flout the city’s rules, with little consequence. A 2022 study found that nearly half of the city’s short-term rentals were illegal.

Renick of Better Neighbors LA said he believes the county will do a better job of enforcing it, though he said details on how that will happen are scarce.

We were confident, given what the various regulators have told us, that the province is going to take enforcement seriously, he said.

Nichole Alcaraz, The head of operations at the county treasurer and tax collector, who spearheaded the ordinance, said they are still working out the penalties for landlords who don’t follow the rules. She said there will be more details in the coming month.

We do know that there will be an enforcement arm. “We do have some general ideas about how that will work,” she said. But the amount [of the penalty] can change.

The ordinance would go into effect six months after the final vote and would apply to all property owners in unincorporated LA County, excluding those along the coast. Residents of unincorporated coastal areas, including Marina del Rey, Catalina Island and the Santa Monica Mountains, will have to wait for the California Coastal Commission to consider the ordinance.


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