The City of Los Angeles will have to decide soon whether to limit short-stay rentals, an activity now illegal in some residential areas.
According to an article in The Los Angeles Times, the city has already started to tax these rentals, and has already collected more than $20 million this fiscal year.
The city could reap as much as $37 million a year under an agreement it reached last year with Airbnb, which uses an online platform to connect would-be vacationers and temporary renters to home and apartment owners interested in making some extra money.
Groups in some neighborhoods have loudly complained that short-term rentals are disrupting their neighborhoods and creating a public nuisance. They point out that even in areas where such rentals are illegal, there is no enforcement of the rules.
Under pressure from these groups, the city is considering a plan to limit the number of days owners can rent out their properties to no more than 180 a year.
In a letter to the city, Airbnb said limiting rentals to 180 days and only to an owner’s primary residence, would cut projected tax income by $15 million annually.
The city could be facing a $224 deficit in the new fiscal year, so the idea of losing $15 million in potential taxes weighs heavy.
That being said, we believe that setting regulations for primarily residential neighborhoods is both reasonable and needed.
Failure to do so will leave residents vulnerable to their neighborhoods becoming hotel rows, where all the hotels are single-family dwellings. It puts residents at risk of losing their right to live free from the types of activities that commercial areas are better suited to handle.
We think that allowing residents to rent their properties for short periods, for a limited number of days to earn some extra money is fine, as long as they are not allowed to turn their homes into hotels, and their residential neighborhood into tourist destinations.