SANTA MONICA (CBSLA.com) — The Santa Monica City Council has taken a stand against short-term rentals like those listed on Airbnb after residents complained it was exacerbating the housing shortage.
The council approved an ordinance that bans full-time vacation rentals and blocks apartment buildings from being turned into de facto hotels.
The measure allows home-sharing when the owner or host stays on site.
When it goes into effect, the new law would eliminate approximately 1,400 of the 1,700 vacation rentals now listed online.
Mayor Kevin McKeown said: “When we in Santa Monica found that over a 1,000 dwelling units that should be homes to permanent residents had been converted instead to de facto hotel rooms, we felt we had to act, and we all felt the same way about it.”
But the opposition had a larger presence outside City Hall Tuesday night. The crowd included owners of apartment buildings and homes, and a group called the Los Angeles Short Term Rental Alliance. They said home-sharing has been a long established practice in a city that’s a tourism draw.
“We’re just homeowners who want to rent out our place a few weeks a year,” said Jacolyn Bron, a city resident who opposes the measure. “That’s all we’re trying to do. We’re not trying to compete with hotels.”
“I think this measure was quickly contrived and ill-thought. It’s government over-reach at its best,” LASTRA’s Director of Operations Robert St. Genis said. “It cannot do its best for the community, Santa Monica or elsewhere. It sets a bad precedent.”