A majority of the West Hollywood City Council agreed last night to rewrite the city’s ban on Airbnb and other short-term rentals to permit such rentals in owner-occupied houses and apartments with no restriction on the number of rental days each year.
In its review of an ordinance brought forth by several City Hll departments, the Council also agreed that a tenant must obtain written permission from the building owner before renting his apartment. A condo owner would have to obtain permission from his homeowners association. And the tenant or property owner would have to pay the same room tax charged to hotels, which is 12.5%
Anyone wanting to rent out a bedroom or couch to someone for 31 or fewer days would have to obtain a license from the city. The city’s Code Compliance Division has calculated the cost to the city of preparing an initial license as $175, but it proposed charging only $50, hoping to encourage hosts to obtain a license by making it more affordable. However, the Council decided to charge a fee of $100 for an initial license and a $50 annual renewal fee. The host would be required to be on-site at least four hours of each day a room is rented.
There would be a limit on the number of guests one could host. The number of occupants permitted, including permanent residents, is two times the number of bedroom plus two. In other words, a studio apartment can house two people and a one bedroom can house up to four. Occupants of inclusionary housing or owners of buildings whose tenants have been evicted under the Ellis Act during the previous seven years may not allow short-term rentals of their property.
The Council voted in October 2015 to ban all so-called “short-term rentals,” defined as those of 31 or fewer days. That ban was a response to concerns that some property owners were taking off the market apartments that would have been available to local residents and renting them to tourists at a higher rate. Some apartment building residents also complained about having unknown people entering their building. And there was a concern that short-term rentals would compete with the city’s hotels, whose room tax is one of the largest single generators of revenue for the city.
A number of local residents spoke out last night in favor of removing the ban, some saying they couldn’t afford their apartments without being able to rent out a spare room.
The Council debated whether to require hosts of short-term rental units to have liability insurance, something that is automatically offered by Airbnb, the largest marketer of such units. It also debated whether to remove the cap on the number of days that one could rent out a room. The initial proposal was 90 days, which was changed to 180 days after residents spoke at various city commission meetings in favor of a longer period. The Council also discussed whether to require the city to collect a room tax from those that if finds are doing short-term rentals without a city license.
Ultimately the Council decided not to require liability insurance or try to collect a tax from those renting illegally. Instead it would take steps to stop such rentals.
The city’s Code Compliance Division will look into working with Airbnb and other such services to collect the room tax and forward it to the city. The city also has contracted with Host Compliance, a firm that monitors short-term rentals listed on dozens of websites to determine whether they comply with local laws.
A final version of the ordinance with the changes recommended by the City Council will come back to the Council at a future meeting for its approval.
I am not a lawyer (but I play one on television), but I don’t see how you can levy a tax against someone who fails to get a license. A fine, yes, but not a tax.
Take the money and use it for more enforcement if you insist on aiding the share economy.
Agreed, Mr Bergstein. And Alison, I agree owners should be able to do (more or less) what is allowed, but not renters.
Our City Council has bought into the sharing economy scam.
Who the hell wants to share your home with strangers unless you were desperate or amazingly carefree?
The economy doesn’t work well for too many people.
This is not the answer.
Recent report: https://www.oxfam.org.nz/news/super-rich-got-82-wealth-created-last-year-poorest-half-world-got-nothing
Partner with Uber, partner with Airbnb then go onto Google + with your iPhone.
Good, now let’s get some zoning enforcement and push apartment owners to obey the law or get out of the rental business…
I would refer the last comment to the one I made on Thu, Dec 21, 2017 at 12:03 am! 😉
Dipsao, “Those of us who have had to live with AirBnb renters in our buildings know that while some are respectful, the majority are a major disruption to our legal right to peaceful enjoyment of our home.” I live across the border, in the City of LA, own my duplex, and have hosted over 300 guests. I’ve had 3 that I’d even come close to regarding as “problem” guests, in any way whatsoever, and only one, ever, who exhibited a noise issue. What is this stigma that people have with people who rent AirBnB’s? Especially those who are staying in… Read more »
I was hoping the AirBnB internet trolls would come up with something better than strawman arguments (strawman arguments are an informal fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent’s argument, while refuting an argument that was not presented by that opponent), crude attempts of using Constitutional Law that only go to show their entire lack of understanding of the topic and, complete utter nonsense! 🙂
If you don’t understand, or lack the ability to change a preconceived notion on a broad topic, without facts, law and what can or can’t be done under the law. Thank you for confirming my sharing the basic legal obstacles to any attempt for the city of WeHo to implement all the threats made. As John Heilman is.not just an attorney, he was (may still be) a professor of law. He knows, or should, that the legal framework for the division of authority in legislative arenas is set, with biggest legislation at the top, then to the Counties and only… Read more »
Some weeks ago I sent an email to the mayor and council members regarding this matter. I got a reply from the mayor but nothing from the others. I guess the did not like what I had to say. I find it disappointing that the West Hollywood has decided to ignore what’s best for most of our residents and cater to a small number who come with tin cup in hand insisting that they simply cannot survive without turning their apartments into hotel rooms at the expense of the quality of life of their neighbors. Some admit they have been… Read more »
@J Simmons. I don’t know for sure, but below is how I would answer your questions.
1. It’s called zoning.
2. Monitoring will be of advertised properties viewable to anyone. The city is not going to enter a home with or without a warrant.
3. There will be due process and a court hearing.
4. These are non-sensical observations and questions. (I have no answers)
I hope that’s helpful.
I get it. The reality of the local government invading the personal and private internet activities to try to find out what goes on behind private doors of Residents Home. If the illegally get into accounts to know who, when and where publicly online advertising (as a subscription site to bring two parties together is not really advertising) is illegal and the worst kind of cyber violation by a municipality with few legislative powers beyond local street & utility maintenance. Nonetheless, if they are certain that there is an airB&B active (not a crime) a warrant issued by a judge… Read more »
It’s tragic to see the WeHo City Council buy into the hype offered by the very dangerous “sharing economy” SCAM! This new hyped business model used by mega-corporations is largely based on evading regulations and breaking laws that are intended to protect consumers and workers. A commonly cited reason why cities like West Hollywood have zoning restrictions is the concern residents have being next a business like a hotel with its nuisance and safety issues. Hotels are regularly inspected to ensure that they up to code in not posing a fire danger or other risks to visitors or community. Airbnb… Read more »
You’re on the wrong idea of ‘hype’ and the long consistent plans/actions, none of which take residents benefit, quality of life and the sole purpose of the residents of WeHo, to the city, is trying to find another way to charge residents to generate income from a city spending insane and unheard of HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS on vanity projects to hide the deep pockets being filled.
What is the enforcement procedure, the due practice cess, and under what city power does WEHO have to; 1. Create such a limitation of property owners use of their land? 2. The authority to monitor and enter a person’s home without a warrant if they ‘belive’ a violation of a law I do not believe a municipality can create; 3. How will the accused be tried, or fined without due process & right to fair court hearing; 4. What factors come into play since the City is in business of collecting hotel tax, and allowing massive new hotels, to get… Read more »
I agree with Rob B……4 hours in the residence by the owner isn’t even enough time for a good night’s sleep. As far as rent stabilized units, this opens the door to corruption, evictions and landlords in cahoot with tenants.
Well said Rob Bergstein!