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Could San Francisco's Prop F help LA lawmakers decide how to regulate Airbnb?

The Airbnb website is displayed on a laptop on April 21, 2014 in San Anselmo, California.
The Airbnb website is displayed on a laptop on April 21, 2014 in San Anselmo, California.
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Today, voters in San Francisco are deciding if they want to pass Proposition F, which would limit the number of days a short-term rental unit can be occupied per year to 75, among other things.

Meanwhile lawmakers in L.A. are trying to figure out how they should treat short-term rentals. Short-term rental hosts argue that sites like Airbnb and HomeAway have created crucial income streams that help them pay the bills. Opponents say the popularity of the sites have changed the character of their neighborhoods — more homes and apartment units have been converted into vacation rentals.  

"Nobody has solved this problem yet, so we’re definitely keeping an eye on what any other jurisdiction is doing," said Councilmember Mike Bonin, who represents the Venice area, a popular tourist locale..

Back in June Bonin proposed limits to short-term rentals, but the council has yet to vote on them.

If regulations eventually do pass in L.A., Bonin explained, enforcing the new laws would be one of the biggest challenges.

“I’m particularly eager to see how San Francisco is going to monitor and implement and enforce, that’s really key to me.”

Enforcement is something that the city of Santa Monica addressed when it decided to regulate short-term rentals earlier this year. Officials said that they planned to spend $410,000 creating an enforcement task force to make sure that the rules were being followed.

West Hollywood, on the other hand, has outright banned short-term rentals, but a look at Airbnb's website shows that they're plentiful. 

Bonin said enforcement of the law would have to be written into whatever rules Los Angeles adopts.

Prop F has enforcement written in. If it passes, the websites and hosts in San Francisco will be required to give the city quarterly reports on their short-term rental activity. Meanwhile L.A. is still studying the issue and putting together a report on the topic. Any future vote to restrict the industry  is likely months away.