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Santa Monica Just Banned Airbnb's Biggest Moneymakers

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Tourist magnet Santa Monica has just passed some of the strictest laws around for Airbnbs and other short-term rentals, voting to entirely ban anyone from renting out full units for less than 30 days and to allow home-sharing (in which an occupant rents just a room or a couch) only if the occupant registers and pays taxes on the unit, says the LA Times. Previous reports said that this move would slash the number of SaMo listings on Airbnb from 1,700 to just 300.

By eliminating full units for use as vacation rentals, Santa Monica has taken one of the strongest stances of any city against the practice of professional landlords hoarding all their properties for tourists instead of for actual renters, keeping housing off an already crunched and expensive market. Full-unit rentals account for the overwhelming majority of the listings on Airbnb in Los Angeles, and for nearly all of the listings that actually make money.

A study from the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, released in March, showed that Santa Monica was Airbnb's second highest revenue-generating neighborhood, after neighboring Venice. According to their findings, 70 percent of Santa Monica's listings on Airbnb are for full units, and full units are responsible for 87 percent of the money generated by Airbnb in SaMo. Airbnb takes a 3 percent commission from hosts and between 6 and 12 percent from renters.

Predictably, short-term rental landlords from all over are freaked out by these new rules, mainly because they don't want to see similar bans go into effect in other cities or neighborhoods. "We don't want to see this end up in Pasadena, Manhattan Beach, you name it," says a rep for the Los Angeles Short Term Rental Alliance, whose founder was one of Airbnb's most prolific local landlords until the site dumped his listings in the wake of the LAANE report. It's a legitimate fear, considering that most places have yet to make an official decision on what to do about short-term rentals, which has allowed them to just slide by, even though most violate local zoning codes. The few places that have made up their minds are taking different tacks: Malibu has decided to allow short-term rentals with restrictions and handed out subpoenas just to make sure everyone complied; West Hollywood is thinking about banning them again (they're already technically illegal).
· Airbnb crackdown: Santa Monica leads short-term rental backlash [LAT]
· Santa Monica Wants to Ban All Full-Unit Airbnbs [Curbed LA]
· The Nine Neighborhoods That Make All the Airbnb Money in LA [Curbed LA]
· Meet LA's Most Prolific Airbnb Host, With 78 Units For Rent [Curbed LA]
· Malibu Busting Out Subpoenas to Make Airbnb Landlords Pay Up [Curbed LA]
· West Hollywood Thinking About an Outright Ban on Airbnb [Curbed LA]