Officials with short-term rental company Airbnb said Wednesday they will work closely with Los Angeles County as its explores possible regulations of the industry, insisting the service provides a multimillion-dollar boost for the local economy.
The Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to consider such regulations and examine the impact short-term rentals have on the overall affordability of rental housing. Supervisor Sheila Kuehl argued that services like Airbnb remove inventory from the long-term rental market and drive up rental rates.
In a statement released Wednesday, Airbnb officials said its hosts in the county “have been able to earn important supplemental income to help make ends meet by sharing their homes, while generating significant new revenue for local businesses across Los Angeles.”
“In fact, a 2017 study by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation found that host revenues and local visitor spending will generate an economic output in Los Angeles County of over $900 million on an annual basis,” according to the company.
The Board of Supervisors instructed its regional planners to sit down with the treasurer-tax collector and public health officials to look at the impacts on rental stock, survey ordinances in other municipalities, gather feedback from users and other interested parties, estimate potential revenues from a tax on rentals and come up with a set of recommendations in 180 days.
The board motion noted that the city of Los Angeles instituted a 14 percent transient occupancy tax on Airbnb units in 2016 and said the arrangement has already generated $13 million in revenue. But Airbnb officials said the agreement actually generated $40 million in tax revenue for the city between August 2016 and September 2017. The original estimate that the tax would generate $13 million a year was surpassed within five months of the levy taking effect, according to Airbnb.
–City News Service
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