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LA Wants to Figure Out Rules for Airbnb Before Taxing it

Airbnb is a blessing and a curse: yes, it can help homeowners make some extra money, but it also exacerbates LA's housing squeeze by taking units that should be traditional apartments and turning them into little hotels instead of housing for the people who live in LA permanently. Mayor Eric Garcetti had said that his plan for dealing with LA's short-term rentals was to make them pony up the same occupancy taxes that hotels have to pay, and use that money to help build affordable housing. But a Los Angeles City Council committee has said that figuring out how to regulate these short-term rentals before we tax them would be a better first step, reports KPCC.

The city council budget committee decided not to take any further steps toward setting up tax agreements with Airbnb and companies like it, and want the city to have a set of rules in place for the rentals before any taxes start rolling in. Why not? That's what so many of LA's neighbors have done. About two months ago, Santa Monica—predictably a very popular spot for short-term rental—passed super-strict rules that allowed only for genuine home-sharing, where the occupants rent out part of their house, like a room, a couch. (By that time, Airbnb had already dropped some of its biggest professional landlords from the site.) Malibu enforces existing laws they have for short-term rentals and is serious (like subpoena serious) about making people pay up.

This isn't LA's first attempt at trying to regulate short-term rentals like Airbnb. A motion proposed a couple months ago by two LA city councilmembers attempted to allow for people to rent out their own private homes (theoretically barring big-time landlords who own multiple properties from the game), provided that those people forked over taxes when people stayed at their residences. That plan has yet to be discussed by the full council.
· LA needs to regulate sites like Airbnb before it collects taxes, panel says [SCPR]
· The Nine Neighborhoods That Make All the Airbnb Money in LA [Curbed LA]
· Los Angeles Considering Ban on Professional Airbnb Landlords [Curbed LA]