LA's new rules for short-term rentals: Who are the winners and losers?

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The Ellison. Residents say the landlord is pushing them out to make room for short-term rentals. Photo by Anna Scott.

Airbnb and other vacation rental companies have been operating in LA for years, but the city’s been slow to regulate them -- until now. 

On July 1, LA’s first short-term rental ordinance takes effect, establishing rules for what hosts can and can’t do. Here, KCRW answers some of the basics.

I rent out a room in my house through AirBnB. Can I still do that?

Yes. The new ordinance allows short-term rentals in hosts’ primary residences. That means if you also live in the house yourself, you may continue renting part of it through platforms like AirBnB. You will, however, need to register with the city and pay a new per-night surcharge. Hosts currently operating have until October 31, 2019 to register. You can find more details on the City Planning Department website

I rent a single-family home. Can I offer short-term rentals at my house?

Yes, but you must provide the city with a signed, notarized affidavit from your landlord giving approval.

I own a second home. Can I do short-term rentals there?

No. The new ordinance limits short-term rentals to hosts’ primary residences only. The City Council is exploring a future ordinance that would allow so-called “vacation rentals,” but for now those are banned.

I rent an apartment. Can I be an AirBnB host?

If you live in a rent-controlled apartment, no. The current ordinance bans short-term rentals in any rent-controlled apartments. If your apartment is not rent-controlled and it’s your primary residence, you can do it with your landlord’s permission. (See above).

I have friends and family coming to visit this summer. Will they still be able to book an AirBnB?

Probably yes. It’s not clear how many short-term rentals the new ordinance will remove from the market, but it’s likely a fraction of the more than 44,000 listings in and around Los Angeles on the AirBnB platform alone. 

Credits

Host:
Steve Chiotakis

Producers:
Christian Bordal, Kathryn Barnes

Reporter:
Anna Scott