SoCal City Leads Hard Charge Against Airbnb-Style “Sharing”

Santa Monica’s move outlaws 80 percent of short-term rentals.

Airbnb supporters rally in New York City. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

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With cities from San Francisco to New York struggling to regulate Airbnb and worried about the room-renting service’s impact on affordable housing, Santa Monica has banned short-term rentals of less than 30 days.

The city council approval vote was unanimous in what the Los Angeles Times called “the most aggressive crackdown yet” and one that “could potentially energize short-term rental opponents around Southern California and in other vacation destinations nationwide.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, the new law doesn’t keep homeowners from renting out a room — as long as they have the right licenses and cough up a 14 percent city hotel tax.

The Times reports the new ruling outlaws over 80 percent of the city’s 1,700 short-term rentals. Fans and users of the likes of Airbnb see Santa Monica’s ban as city officials’ unwillingness to catch up to the reality of modern consumerism.

“The reality for regulators is that the industry has already taken off,” Carl Shepherd, co-founder of vacation rental site HomeAway, told the Times. “Airbnb, the largest player, claims more than one million listings worldwide. Cities like Santa Monica should consider compromises rather than crackdowns.”

As home-sharers in Santa Monica consider ways to get around the new ruling legally, Airbnb issued a statement about the city’s change: “This proposal fails to provide clear, fair rules for home-sharing. We will continue to highlight the importance of fair rules with leaders in Santa Monica and throughout Southern California.”

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Marielle Mondon is an editor and freelance journalist in Philadelphia. Her work has appeared in Philadelphia City Paper, Wild Magazine, and PolicyMic. She previously reported on communities in Northern Manhattan while earning an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University.

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Tags: californiaairbnbsharing economy

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