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Santa Monica wants to keep granny flats off Airbnb

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The city wants in-law units rented to long-term tenants, not tourists

Howard F. / Curbed LA flickr pool

Next week, Santa Monica’s city council will decide whether or not accessory dwelling units, commonly called granny flats or in-law units, can be rented out via home-sharing sites like Airbnb.

The Santa Monica Daily Press reports that a proposed ordinance going before the council would only allow property owners to rent their in-law units to long-term renters, not people on vacation, and would not permit them to be listed on online rental sites. The ordinance has the recommendation of city staff.

The move comes not long after the passage of a new state law that encourages homeowners to build more housing on their property by adding accessory dwelling units.

The ordinance as currently proposed would allow older granny flats, those built before March 31 of this year, to be listed on home-sharing sites, but the Press emphasizes that the city council could just decide to restrict all in-law units, not just the old ones, and not renew annual permits for the offending properties when their permits expire.

Santa Monica already has some of the strictest regulations around on Airbnb-style rentals, and only allows for true home-sharing rentals in which the owner is present in the residence while guests rent it. Less than three months after enacting the rules last summer, Santa Monica had already caught and prosecuted its first rule-breaker.