A Los Angeles City Council committee Tuesday suggested creating a citywide pilot program to allow owners who live on-site at their rent-stabilized complexes to book units for homesharing.
The pilot program proposal requests a report with recommendations on any displacement, enforcement and budgetary issues that come with it. Rent-stablized units are prohibited from being used for homesharing.
The city council’s Planning and Land Use Committee considered another proposal from City Councilman Gilbert Cedillo to allow homesharing to take place in rent-stabilized complexes — with four or fewer units — for owners who qualify for a hardship exemption, but that was tabled for later.
Cedillo said his motion would protect tenants under the city’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance, but Councilman Bob Blumenfield said it could put tenants living under longterm leases at-risk, as property owners may want to lease all units as homesharing, which could decrease the city’s already limited available housing.
“It’s one thing, dealing with the owner-occupied (units), but this is opening Pandora’s box, and I know that’s not the intention, but we have a difference of opinion of the consequence of opening up the RSOs,” Blumenfield said. “(It’s) going to be those vulnerable folks who are going to get hurt and we are going to lose housing stock.”
Cedillo said his proposal to allow for RSO homesharing was to give people who rent out those units a helping hand, mostly those who are caring for family members and other burdens.
“Some people are leaving their jobs and counting on this rent. Some people are staying at home and counting on this flexibility for a narrow circumstance,” Cedillo said.
The proposed changes come less than two weeks before the enforcement of the homesharing ordinance goes into effect on Nov. 1.
The final changes to the ordinance will have to be approved by the full City Council before taking effect.
The city’s regulations, as they are currently written, will mandate that only primary residences can be rented short-term — meaning homes where the host lives at least six months of the year — and would require them to list units for rent on a city-monitored system.
At least one home-sharing industry leader is asking for more time to adjust to the new system that would track their units.
Airbnb sent a letter to the city’s Department of Planning in late September asking for a delay in the enforcement due to compliance issues regarding a platform that would track all home-sharing units.
“We can not comply with the Nov. 1 deadline because of the late date we received the draft platform agreement from the city and the time it will take both the city’s contractor … and Airbnb to build out the system,” the letter from Airbnb’s John Choi stated.
“Doing this by Nov. 1 is simply not feasible, and we hope the city will reconsider this position so we can work collaboratively toward an API system.”
Los Angeles implemented short-term rental regulations in late 2018 after more than three years of debate, which became effective July 1, but the city gave short-term rental companies extensions to adjust to the new regulations.
People who spoke at Tuesday’s meeting against the current ordinance said homesharing is their primary means of income, and others said they’ve been able to start businesses with the revenue collected from homesharing.
Another suggestion approved by the committee would require homesharing operators to have more frequent communication with the city through its online monitoring system.
The committee members said they would reconsider if people could book multiple rooms at once in one homesharing complex prior to Nov. 1.