Task Force Recommends WeHo Adopt Law Specifically Banning Short-Term Rentals

The West Hollywood City Council last night largely endorsed recommendations by the city’s Shared Economy Task Force to bar short-term rentals through services such as Airbnb.

AirbnbThe task force recommended that the city adopt an ordinance that specifically addresses the question of short-term rentals. Such rentals, defined as providing a room for overnight occupancy for less than 30 days, currently are not permitted in residential areas. Despite that there were nearly 800 listings for West Hollywood rentals on the Airbnb website today.

The task force also recommended that the city ask short-term rental companies to note on their websites that such rentals are not allowed within West Hollywood.

Several local residents who rent bedrooms or apartments through such services begged the Council not to ban them, saying they needed the extra income and enjoyed the company of their guests.

“I want to beg the city to not do away with it,” said Brad Keistler, who said he rents out a spare bedroom in his house to overnight guests through Airbnb. “This has just been an immeasurable asset to my life.”

Other residents said the city should distinguish between owners of homes and condos and apartment building owners, some of whom have been accused of leaving apartments vacant to they can rent them out overnight, and renters, most of whom are violating their leases as well as city law with overnight rentals.

That was an argument that resonated with Councilmember John Duran. “One of the big distinctions we’re going to have to look at carefully is between owners and renters,” he said.

Councilmember John Heilman however suggested the city help condo associations add language to their association agreements banning such short-term rentals.

The task force also looked at the proliferation of pickup services such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar. In its report to the Council, it noted that such services are regulated through the state Public Utilities Commission. A state law that takes effect July 1 will require such companies to provide insurance for drivers they contract with that will take effect when a driver turns on the pickup service application on his or her mobile phone. The task force also suggested the city explore designating certain drop off and pickup zones for such services, which would make them less convenient to passengers, some of whom use the services to go out at night and return home from bars when inebriated.

The task force, whose members included Transportation Commissioner Lindsey Horvath, Planning Commissioner Roy Huebner, Business License Commissioner Rob Lo, Chamber of Commerce President Genevieve Morrill and Bill Hynes of Vist West Hollywood, has held seven meetings since last summer to get input from residents and businesses about the impact of so-called “shared economy” services such as AirBNB and Uber, whose independent drivers provide transportation booked through a mobile phone. According to its report, hotels in West Hollywood said they didn’t see the overnight rental services as competition but did suggest the city levy its hotel room occupancy on them.


newest oldest
Notify of
Bob O
Guest
Bob O

There are a number of issues here, and each city needs to make their own decisions. If you don’t like that decision, change the law. Some people don’t want residential areas turned into hotel zones, others want income. Others want to set up large scale rental operations because of the huge profits, especially when you have no business costs and especially not taxes as hotels pay and they can undercut them on price. The problem is that this removes huge numbers of what would be more affordable housing. New York now has at least 22,000 short terms rentals and growing.… Read more »

Lyndia
Guest
Lyndia

First off, let’s separate Uber from Air B&B. We already have taxi services here in WeHo, and regulate them carefully. The City of LA is working with Air B&B so that anyone who uses that service will pay the “bed tax” that the City imposes on hotels. There’s no reason why WeHo couldn’t do the same, so that we capture a revenue stream that pays for our city’s services. Renters who charge for staying in their apt are sub-leasing. Unless the landlord approves, the renter can be evicted. I don’t think anyone wants that. Condo & home-owners who rent out… Read more »

Rudolf Martin
Guest
Rudolf Martin

This would be more bad news for the big new developments on La Brea like The Huxley. Many of the apartments there are on AirBNB now and according to the sheriffs crime in and around the building has spiked. Why am I not surprised?

Guy Privaton (@guyprivaton)
Guest

@Earthquake Weather: We can only guess… keeping competition down to manually pump up the cost of living? Along with crazy developments. & weeding out small businesses except clubs. Sounds like a scheme to attract the rich & slowly weed out non-rich. Keeps west hollywood more of a closed gay rich community destination spot than a welcoming city for all people to live. Rich middle gay or straight.

DK
Guest

Baby boomer, gen-xer, six in one hand, half a dozen in the other. Greed and selfishness is what it is, and I decline to rethink anything about someone who lets it slip what he actually thinks about the renters who pay his bills. And you can think of that whatever you may — I stand by every single word I wrote.Substitute gen-xer for baby boomer — so what? I don’t rent out my diggs because I am one of the fortunate who has zero financial incentive to need to. There are many things that are illegal and shouldn’t be, and… Read more »

Brian Holt
Guest
Brian Holt

PS: @DK I’m not a Baby Boomer; I’m a Gen Xer. You might want to rethink your trigger happy labeling technique.

Brian Holt
Guest
Brian Holt

@DK “stick it to the renters” was dripping with sarcasm when I wrote it. Though I can understand how it may not have come across that way. That said, renters do not have the right to sublease without permission, so I can see where some neighbors or owners would not dig you renting out your diggs. That said, I own a rental property and I’m happy to let my tenant sublease – with notice, and NOT regularly. But if it can help them subsidize that much needed vacation I’m all for it. Nevertheless, if anyone is going to “regularly’ profit… Read more »

EarthquakeWeather
Guest
EarthquakeWeather

Another question: exactly what problem would banning/regulating Airbnb fix? Have there been guests setting fires and throwing poo in the streets and having screaming parties? Or is it really about collecting taxes?

EarthquakeWeather
Guest
EarthquakeWeather

What’s the next step, then? City council votes on banning it? And what does it mean city council “largely endorsed” the task force recommendation? And if banned, wouldn’t that make WH the only city in the country to do so? Need more info por favor.

90069
Guest
90069

We should allow AirBnB but tax the proceeds somehow. It isn’t fair that some people are using their homes as hotels bringing in all manner of tourists and the City cannot benefit from it. This is also leading to the rise in rents and home prices as people are using residential buildings for commercial use.

JJ
Guest
JJ

I am a homeowner and I don’t want all my neighbors to start running a hotel out of their back houses. This is a residential neighborhood.

James 'Jim' Chud
Guest
James 'Jim' Chud

Oh Well – here I go again. Has any council member ever used Airbib or Uber? Well, as I have always suspected that I may have been born in Missouri rather than Michigan as records indicate, I have always been a ‘show me’ kinda guy. That said, while in New York City, and not anywhere near one of the thoroughfares that make hailing a cab feasible, it was uber to the rescue. Not only was it on time and the SUV that picked up my colleagues and myself spotless and odor free (no stack of aging Christmas tree air fresheners… Read more »