Santa Monica cracks down hard on Airbnb units as a business

Santa-Monica-Pier-tourists.jpgSanta Monica fills with visitors this time of year.

The City Council in Santa Monica voted last night to ban use of Airbnb and other sharing units for vacation rentals of less than 30 days where there is no actual resident present. Those full-unit vacation rentals are the culprit, in the eyes of the city and renters groups, behind too many apartments being taken off the residential market and devoted to short-term vacation rentals. The city estimates that all but 300 of 1,700 rentals listed on Airbnb, VRBO and Homeaway will now have to stop renting to tourists. Various ramifications of that: A lot of people who counted on that income are out of luck. More use of hotels, perhaps. Fewer tourists sleeping in Santa Monica — though the city is so overrun with visitors this time of year I doubt they would be missed. Perhaps more apartments available to rent, if landlords come to believe the rules will be enforced longterm.

True sharing of rooms or couches for payment was allowed to continue in homes where the resident or homeowner actually lives. But the resident/owner will have to pay for a Santa Monica business license and the city's 14% tax on regular hotel and motel rooms, the so-called transient occupancy tax.

Some coverage: LA Times, Curbed

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