WeHo City Council Gives Final Approval to Short-Term Apartment Rental Ban

A half dozen people turned out to march outside the West Hollywood City Council Chambers last night with signs declaring their support for home-sharing. But an overwhelming majority of the speakers inside the Council Chambers pressed the City Council to take a second and final vote to approve an ordinance that bans short-term rentals of apartments.

The Council voted three to two in favor of the ban. The ordinance makes it legal only for home owners and condo owners to rent out a portion of their homes for travelers or tourists. Even then, the owners must be at the home at least four hours a day, and condo owners must have the approval of their homeowners association.

Airbnb, the nation’s leading home sharing platform, issued a statement opposing the Council’s decision shortly after the vote.

Supporters of short-term rentals protest outside the City Council Chamber on San Vicente Boulevard.

“While a step away from a home sharing ban, the policy approved by the City Council tonight discriminates against a significant portion of the residents of West Hollywood and is out of touch with how the vast majority of cities have approached regulating short term rentals,” said the statement by Connie Llanos, Airbnb’s deputy policy manager for Southern California.

“The Council’s decision to block renters — who make up nearly 80% of the community — eliminates a viable source of income for those who would benefit the most. Home sharing should not be a privilege reserved for the fortunate few who own homes in West Hollywood. On behalf of the hosts of West Hollywood, we will continue to advocate for a solution that ensures a fair and reasonable balance between home sharing and the needs of the community.”

Those who voted for the ban, Mayor John Heilman and Councilmembers Lindsey Horvath and Lauren Meister, have expressed concern that permitting short-term rentals would have a negative impact on West Hollywood’s already over-priced apartment rental market. Several local residents who spoke before the Council last night described situations in which landlords forced tenants out of rent-stabilized apartment units so that they could engage in more lucrative rentals to tourists.

On the other hand, several residents told the Council that they depended being able to rent out a spare bedroom in order to pay their rent. Also, Janet Gagnon, a representative of the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles, spoke in favor of allowing such short-term rentals so long as the owner of the apartment building approved them.

Councilmember John Duran, who with fellow Councilmember John D’Amico opposed the ordinance, said the city was giving an opportunity to those who own $1 million houses and $600,000 condos while denying that to lower-income renters.

“I think what we’re going to see next is an unregulated black market,” Duran said. “While we think we may have solved one problem, we many find unanticipated consequences.”

Duran said he hoped that the Council eventually would agree to allow home-sharing in non-rent stabilized apartments.

The City of West Hollywood already had banned rentals of housing for 30 or fewer days, effectively blocking users of Airbnb, VRBO and similar home-sharing platforms. But it decided to take another look at the ban given concerns about the difficulty of enforcing it and objections by some residents.


newest oldest
Notify of
J Simmons
Guest
J Simmons

How will the City know about the so called “violations”. Is there going to be City Government Monitor WeHo Residents homes; web activity; Tip-Offs and other non-warrant observation of the privacy via home spy, internet spying & other unknown intrusions on CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS TO PRIVACY?

Rudolf Martin
Guest
Rudolf Martin

It might make more sense to work with AIRBNB and make them collect a tax as well as regulate their hosts. Renters could only OFFER their place up to 30/45/60 days per year. Anything above that you would have to register as a business. This can only happen statewide.

The “restriction” on owners (much like the ban) is impossible to verify, therefore meaningless unless WeHo creates/hires an entire enforcement department. I wouldn’t be shocked if they do someday.

NO AIR BNB
Guest
NO AIR BNB

Interesting point about registering as a business. That carries code compliance violations of its own. You have to apply for a business licence and adhere to certain conditions if you run a business from your apartment or condo. A residence is a residence, not a hotel and not traffic central.

DS
Guest
DS

D’Amico shamelessly trolling for reelection donations. What Landlord would allow rent-controlled tenants to sublease for AirBnB? It strains the imagination. Of course, Landlords would want to avoid this as it increases insurance risk and offers no upside to their bottom line. They’d much rather evict that rent-controlled tenant for a violation and reset the rate – or evict and use the unit for AirBnB themselves. Duran is just shameless – period.

SCR
Guest
SCR

My WeHo landlord is furnishing vacant apartments and having the apartment manager rent them out on Airbnb and such. And the manager also short terms rents one of his bedrooms. So there are definitely landlords who don’t care.

Bill Skywatcher
Guest

Thank you, West Hollywood City Council. I am horrified that D’Amico and Duran supported letting people in apartments use them as hotels. The housing market speculation, inconvenience to neighbors, and outright safety implications shows they have other interests at heart than the citizens they are sworn to serve. Personally, I think there should be two things added to this ordinance: 1) A fine for apartment dwellers who defy the ordinance, and 2) A system whereby an apartment dweller can apply to the city for a temporary exemption so long as their landlord agrees. But they have to prove not just… Read more »

NO AIRBNB
Guest
NO AIRBNB

Some developers in other cities are apparently building hotel properties where they can offer somewhat of a a la carte menu combining time share, airbnb and gd knows what. When is the hotel lobby going to take a cack at airbnb? Is this what the development on Sunset west of La Cienega has in mind?

Subverting the norm is now blood sport with no holds barred. With Duran and D’Amico offering airbnb a tow hold let the renters cut them off at the knees before the next mayoral appointment and the election

NO AIR BNB
Guest
NO AIR BNB

Spoke too soon. It’s happening on Sunset whose appeal is up before PC next week.

Michael G.
Guest
Michael G.

WEHO should offer a $500 award to any lawbiding citizens who turn in hosts who illegally rent to Airbnb.

As for Jon Duran, let’s not bother to vote him out but make him resign ASAP befoe he has the embassment of the WEHO City Council not making the next mayor!

Or will Lindsay, Lauran and the other Johns okay Duran to be the “Grindr” Mayor?

So much muckraking is on the horizon….habaloo.

Randy
Guest
Randy

As I’ve mentioned many times before, I advocate owners having hosted rentals. In other words, people who own and live in their homes. And in their condos, if their HOA is OK with it. The city did the right thing here, by disallowing apartment-dwellers, with, or without their landlords permission. But I find it interesting that this article is titled “AirBnB ban,” as though this is a new thing, and people are cheering. The City of West Hollywood already has an AirBnB ban! Its been in place for a couple years. This change in ordinance actually made it less restrictive,… Read more »

Stephanie
Guest

I rented in WeHo for years, worked at the PDC and loved/lived that community. During pregnancy with my second son, we found black mold in our duplex and had to be moved out for 3 weeks for renovations. Having an Airbnb in the area (literally next door to the PDC) made the process of living outside of our home doable. All I’m saying, is that a company like Airbnb can also help serve the community in great ways, when you need help and hotels are just too costly. We eventually had to move out of the area, when our landlords… Read more »

Wesley
Guest
Wesley

Hello Stephanie,

It is too bad that you left your apartment. I’m not a lawyer but I do know a thing or two about tenant law. There is no way that a landlord had the legal right to raise your rent more than the set amount per year, given an additional child birthed by you.

If this is happening to anyone else please come to Plummer park on Wednesday at 7 or Saturday at 10 where CES hosts the Tenants’ Rights Clinic and Tenants can be informed about what they can do when their landlord infringes upon their rights.

SaveWeho
Guest
SaveWeho

If the addition to the family made it a family of 4 living in a one-bedroom apartment…then it was simply illegal for them to live there. A one-bedroom apartment is only allowed to have 3 people legally living in the unit. If that wasn’t the case…then the landlord was wrong to do so. However notification of a new person living in a dwelling is necessary for safety and legal reasons. Any increase in rent is usually like in a roommate situation where they would be sharing the rent. If the landlord took that stance…then he was just a lousy landlord… Read more »

Michael G.
Guest
Michael G.

Connie Llanos was Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s spokeswoman. She left in 2016 to Airbnb as the short-term rental company’s deputy manager for the Southern California area. The Mayor’s office of course dismissed any conflict of interest. As for Duran and John D‘Amico, their inability to come through for Llanos and Airbnb proves they are losers. Their “pay for play” services aren’t working. After the Grindr Hook up for jobs, sexual harassment charges, $500,000 WEHO payoff and his close association with Ed Buck… Duran could be called political poison. D’Amico Is up for reelection and it looks like he’s made… Read more »

Alison
Guest
Alison

Just shows how out of touch Duran is. We need him out next election.

SaveWeho
Guest
SaveWeho

If you cant afford to live in your apartment without renting out to other people to survive…then you’re living above your means. You sign a lease to live there yourself. Not to operate a business of people coming and going. If you want that, go buy a B&B or hotel and operate it as such. I think this is a fair compromise for the inconvenience that is incurred upon one’s neighbors.

SCR
Guest
SCR

Exactly! I dont even understand how someone could voice that argument with a straight face. West Hollywood has rent control so it’s not like their rent has gone up drastically.

Randy
Guest
Randy

If you are a young person moving to West Hollywood, you are stuck with a market rate apartment. Try affording one of those, working as a bartender, or a server, or at the starting salary of many careers. I moved here in 1999, and was able to afford a one-bedroom apartment by myself, as a young adult. Times have changed. Most people I know can’t do that at that age, not even in a studio. I’m not advocating short-term rentals in apartments, but rent control only applies to people who already have a stake here. I know quite a few… Read more »

SaveWeho
Guest
SaveWeho

I too moved to Weho in the late 90s when the rent was affordable and it was easy for one person to afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment. However things change. Maybe newcomers just won’t be able to live in West Hollywood. I could never afford living in Manhattan so I made a conscious decision not to move to NYC. Even locally I never could afford Beverly Hills and even Santa Monica was above my budget. The simple fact is things change and not everyone can live where they want anymore. So those newcomers might need to find a place… Read more »

Randy
Guest
Randy

Me too. My point is, even if you are against AirBnB in apartments, it is important to have some empathy. I don’t like just telling young people “tough luck.” It might be easier to be LGBT now in most places, than it was 20 years ago, but they should also get to experience the joy of living in a community of their peers. I spent the majority of my life in a po-dunk town before moving here. It felt great to not only realize I wasn’t alone, but to actually live in a community of LGBT people. If I had… Read more »

RMD
Guest
RMD

It’s not really kind to judge anyone elses finances, but with so many young people looking for affordable housing in our community why not get a roommate into that spare bedroom? There is no lack of candidates looking for a private Bed/Bath for $1,200 to $1,400 a month, and it could help reinvigorate our neighborhoods with a new generation!

Woody McBreairty
Guest
Woody McBreairty

What makes Duran think that residents with million $ houses & condos are renting out rooms? That’s a contradiction in logic. According to those who rent out rooms in their homes. they do so because they can’t afford their rent. Wealthy/well off people don’t go there.

RMD
Guest
RMD

Exactly!

kab1200
Guest
kab1200

Renters should not be doing an Airbnb situation, a roommate, yes, but short term sub renting, no.