Politics

3 meetings this week will allow LA officials to take public's pulse on short-term rentals

Airbnb critics say the hosting platform is worsening LA's already-severe housing shortage.
Airbnb critics say the hosting platform is worsening LA's already-severe housing shortage.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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Short-term rentals. Yea or nay?

The city of Los Angeles is preparing to develop rules on short-term rentals and is taking public feedback at three “listening sessions” this week.

The first meeting will be held tonight at Mar Vista. Two others will follow on Thursday in North Hollywood and on Saturday downtown. 

A city questionnaire being circulated online gives an idea of what regulations city officials are considering:

It’s easier than ever to find a short-term rental on sites like Airbnb. But critics of the company worry that the proliferation of short-term rentals are changing the feel of neighborhoods. They're also concerned that thousands of long-term rental units in L.A. are getting converted to short-term rentals, because landlords can charge higher rent.

The fear is that L.A.’s already-severe housing shortage will get worse without regulations.  A report by the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy estimates that the city has lost an average of 11 housing units every day since October 2014.  

Airbnb says listing a short-term rental does not mean the city’s losing a long-term rental unit. The company says most of its hosts are middle class and trying to make extra income by renting out their properties on occasion. A new report it worked on with UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs found that 92 percent of Airbnb listings for entire homes are rented for less than six months in a year.  Eighty percent of entire home listings are rented for less than 90 nights a year, according to researchers.

"Opponents have asserted that Airbnb is removing ‘thousands of housing units’ from the rental market, a statement that is both baseless and mathematically impossible," Airbnb's regional policy director David Owen said on its website.

Schedule of short-term rental listening sessions:

WHEN: Tuesday, Sept. 29, 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
WHERE: Mar Vista Park Auditorium
11430 Woodbine St.
Los Angeles, CA 90066

WHEN: Thursday, October 1,  7 pm to 9 pm
WHERE: North Hollywood Recreation Center
11430 Chandler Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 910601

WHEN: Saturday, October 3, 10 am to 12 pm
WHERE: Lafayette Park Recreation Center
625 South Lafayette Park Pl.
Los Angeles, CA 90057