LA City Council to look at proposed regulations for home-sharing sites like Airbnb

SOUTH LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- For the past two years, Airbnb host Waheeda Ali has listed a room in a South Los Angeles home she owns with her husband and three kids.

South L.A. is one of the fastest growing areas in the city for home sharing.

"A lot of guests are here for USC events or students at USC or coliseum events. Obviously, it's way closer than Venice. It's more affordable than Venice. The fact that there's a nice Airbnb here. There aren't many hotels that are nice in this area so I think if this wasn't here, those people would be inconvenienced by how far they are, how much they have to pay," she said.

To give you a sense of the growth Airbnb has seen in South L.A., there were 7,600 guest arrivals in 2014. Three years later, that number jumped to 54,000.

"This extra income definitely makes me feel like I don't have to live from paycheck to paycheck. It gives me a little bit of comfort. For my son's daycare, before it was unaffordable and this helps make it more affordable," Ali said.

Ali makes more off home sharing than she would if someone rented her unit full time. She also refers guests to restaurants and businesses in her neighborhood, helping the local economy. The city of L.A. has been working for three years to regulate the industry.

"We want to make sure that we're insuring public safety as well as providing an opportunity if there's problems with a neighbors, they have a way to make a complaint and get your grievance addressed," said David Ambroz, a commissioner on LA's planning commission.

The planning commission approved a proposal last week that's been sent to the city council for review. Some in City Hall have raised concerns that home sharing hurts the city's rental market. In an effort to address that, new regulations say a host can only list units that are part of their primary address meaning the host, like Ali, has to live there, too. Also, rentals will be allowed in rent stabilized housing.

"A lot of folks came out to share that they needed this income to make basic costs in their life. Their mortgage, medical care, so we really heard that. We expanded the number of days per year a person can home share from a cap to 365 through a special process," Ambroz said.

The planning commission said the sharing economy is the future and believes these new policies will be a win for everyone.
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