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The Few Places in Los Angeles Where Airbnbs Might be Legal

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Airbnb, which allows renters and property owners to charge guests to use their homes for short-term use, has made enemies most recently in West Hollywood for flaunting the zoning code, which doesn't allow rentals for a term less than 30 days. Skirmishes in Venice and in Silver Lake have been a little more dramatic, perhaps since the Los Angeles law governing short-term rentals isn't so clear cut, according to a recently released city planning memo penned by Deputy Director of Planning Alan Bell (via the Daily News). The gist of the memo: the legality of Airbnb is pretty abstruse. The memo identifies areas where short-term rentals are not allowed: single-family residential zones and "lower-density" residential areas (zoned R1, R2, RD, R3, RAS3) are prohibited areas for Airbnb-ing, which seems hard-and-fast, until you read that it also says that areas with a specific plan (a planning document that governs a specific neighborhood) may have other rules.

In areas, including parts of Downtown, that are zoned for higher density (RAS4, R4, R5), and in commercial areas, Airbnb could be legal, though the memo says that sometimes short-term rentals will require a conditional use permit; other times, they won't. The memo doesn't offer any indication of what the exceptions might be (to be fair, it is just a one-page memo), only noting that "[t]he rules governing short-term rentals in these zones are complex." An Airbnb rep responded to the memo saying, "As this memo makes clear, short-term rental rules are complex and we're fighting for clear, fair rules that make it easy for people to share the home in which they live." (Except that no, they're not doing that at all.)
· Airbnb's short-term rentals break law in Los Angeles, says city memo [LADN]
· Airbnb-Affiliated Lobbying Group Defeats Venice's Attempt To Regulate Vacation Rentals In Los Angeles [Curbed LA]