Airbnb will host a rally of home-sharing hosts outside the West Hollywood City Council Chambers this evening vote before the Council takes a final vote on its decision on Feb. 20 to ban all short-term rentals except those in homes occupied by their owners.
In an announcement of the rally, Airbnb said it will begin at 6 p.m. and hosts are expected to state their objection to the decision during the Council’s public comment period at 6:30 p.m.
“The ordinance before the City Council today would reverse the current ban on short term rentals in West Hollywood, allowing single-family homeowners to share their home while they are on the property,” says the announcement. “However, a recently added amendment would severely restrict the ability for those who rent their home – nearly 80% of residents in West Hollywood – limiting the possibility for renters to earn important supplemental income to stay in an increasingly expensive city.”
Shortly after the Feb. 20 vote, Airbnb, the nation’s largest home-sharing service, sent a letter to city council members describing the ordinance as “overly restrictive, inequitable and unenforceable. As currently drafted, this ordinance would ban the vast majority of home sharing in the city, unfairly blocking all renters – nearly 80% of West Hollywood residents – from the ability to share their homes to earn critical extra income.
“Simply put, home sharing should not be a privilege reserved for the fortunate few who own homes in West Hollywood.”
The City Council’s decision last month was, for some, a surprising flip from what appeared to be an earlier consensus to permit short-term rentals so long as the tenant or owner continued to live in the house or apartment unit and was on-site during the rental and the tenant had the written permission of his landlord to rent out a room to a traveler. Short-term rentals are defined as those for fewer than 31 days.
The decision came in a split vote, with Mayor John Heilman and council members Lindsey Horvath and Lauren Meister rejecting the proposal.
Council members John D’Amico and John Duran stood by the earlier consensus, with Duran arguing that short-term rentals through sites such as Airbnb and VRBO already are happening across the city and D’Amico noting that if the city allowed and regulated short-term rentals it would earn revenue from taxes on them.