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Los Angeles Airbnbs are the most profitable in California

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1 million guests rented from Airbnb in LA last year

Tan-colored Tudor-style apartments fronted by a green lawn
A Los Angeles apartment complex.
Photos by Elizabeth Daniels

A report released this week by Airbnb finds hosts in Los Angeles make the most money of hosts in any city in California, The Real Deal reports.

Los Angeles short-term rental hosts with the company rented to 1 million guests and made $262.6 million in 2016, the report found. In all of California, Airbnb hosts generated $1 billion—a 47 percent increase over the state’s 2015 Airbnb revenue.

Airbnb spokesperson Christopher Nulty told the San Diego Union-Tribune that the company has made a concerted effort since 2015 to share data about how Airbnb is being used with the governments of the cities it operates in.

The company has fought back, however, against sharing data regarding who its hosts are, which many officials say would aid cities in collecting the hotel taxes or Transient Occcupancy Taxes.

The report comes as many cities, including Los Angeles, are working on plans to regulate short-term rentals popularized by Airbnb and other homesharing sites such as Verbo. LA’s rules would be pretty relaxed compared to the tough restrictions on short-term rentals in Santa Monica and the near-ban in West Hollywood.

“When a single platform is bringing in $1 billion worth of money and putting it into the pockets of Californians every year, it’s hard to ignore that impact, and it’s hard to not incorporate that into the conversation many communities are having about the best ways to regulate home sharing,” Nulty told the Union-Tribune.

LA’s draft plan involves legalizing the rentals (which are technically illegal in most of LA), requiring hosts to file the necessary paperwork before renting out their homes, and imposing limits on which properties could be rented out and for how long.

Some Airbnb hosts in LA are already paying transit occupancy taxes on their rentals. An Airbnb report released in January showed that these taxes, collected since the summer of 2016, had already generated about $13 million for the city.

Despite its obvious financial advantages, Airbnb is not welcomed with open arms by all Angelenos. Housing advocates and some city officials have concerns that the quick profitability of short-term rentals encourage landlords to remove units from the traditional rental market.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the city of Los Angeles started collecting hotel taxes from Airbnb in 2015. It was 2016.