LA County supervisors tentatively approve new rules on short-term vacation rentals

City News Service
Wednesday, February 14, 2024
LA County supervisors tentatively OK new rules on short-term rentals
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors tentatively approved a suite of new regulations on short-term rentals located in unincorporated areas.

LOS ANGELES (CNS) -- The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday tentatively approved a suite of new regulations on short-term rentals located in unincorporated areas.

The board voted unanimously to amend the county code regarding businesses licenses, which regulates short-term rentals. Under the new rules, hosts with Airbnb or Vacation Rentals By Owner, VRBO, will be required to register and pay a fee of $914 on an annual basis.

The county rules also restrict short-term rentals to a host's primary residence -- prohibiting the use of accessory dwelling units, rent-restricted primary residences and vacation rentals for short-term rental use.

Additionally, the regulations place restrictions on the number of guests, length of stay and types of events for short-term rentals. Companies like Airbnb and VRBO would be required to comply with the new regulations, and establish an enforcement and appeals process for customers who fail to abide by the new rules.

The board asked for several minor amendments to the proposal, so the language will be finalized and the matter will return for another vote next month.

The move came as a result of board action taken on March 19, 2019. Supervisors directed staff members to prepare a package of ordinances that would enhance regulations of short-term rentals in the county's unincorporated areas.

According to a report from the county's Treasurer and Tax Collector, the registration program aims to strike a balance between ensuring homeowners can list their properties as short-term rentals and the preservation of long- term housing stock, as well as protecting the quality of life in neighborhoods.

Residents of Long Beach College Estates say one rental property in the neighborhood has become a nuisance, with multiple parties and a recent shooting.

The $914 fee was decided upon based on full cost recovery, including administration and enforcement of the program, salaries, employee benefits, indirect costs, services and supplies.

L.A. County plans to use $1 million from the adopted 2023-24 budget to cover costs associated with the registration program. An additional $1.7 million is set aside for year two, but moving forward the fees are expected to cover ongoing costs.

County officials have met with the community in person and through webinars on the proposed registration program since August 2020. About 1,500 community members, many of whom were property owners and representatives from their respective neighborhood town councils in the unincorporated areas, attended some 31 outreach events, according to the county.

The county regulations will only impact unincorporated areas, so they will not conflict with rules individual cities already have in place. The rules also will not immediately be enforced in select coastal areas, such as Marina del Rey and Catalina Island, since those areas also fall under the purview of the California Coastal Commission, which is expected to ultimately enact rules of its own on short-term rentals.

Several individuals and organizations wrote to county officials in advance of the board meeting either expressing their support or opposition to the proposed changes on short-term rentals.

Alan Zorthian said he was "firmly opposed" to any further restrictions on short-term rentals in his correspondence with the board.

He added that the proposed restrictions would actually harm the integrity of many neighborhoods, as property owners use the revenue from Airbnb as means to pay their bills.

Maria Patino Gutierrez, a resident of the First District, urged the supervisors to move forward with the regulations because residents in the unincorporated areas have "virtually no form of relief form the impacts of short-term rentals."

Groups such as Better Neighbors LA, Strategic Actions for Just Economy, Unite Here! Local 11, Coalition for Economic Survival were just some of several organizations that supported the new rules.