West Hollywood is a city of of 36,000 residents, where 80% of the population are renters, including the mayor.
Mayor Sepi Shyne says the city has seen an increase in people trying to put rent-stabilized apartments on the short-term rental market, which is not allowed in West Hollywood. Now, the city has passed a motion to create stricter enforcement tools to go after rule-breaking landlords.
“A lot of times, landlords who get a unit vacant in a rent-stabilized unit, instead of putting it on the market, they think they are going to make more money by Airbnb-ing. And that’s what we have seen as rampant,” Shyne said.
Since 2019, the city has allowed single family homes and condos to be rented under a home sharing program. Operators must abide by certain conditions and get a license.
On Thursday, the West Hollywood Planning Commission unanimously passed a motion to amend current regulations regarding short-term rentals. The idea is to create stricter enforcement tools including, “civil and criminal prosecution” to go after violators.
The matter will now go before the City Council to consider the amendments on June 26.
“We need to enhance in all the ways that we hold the platforms and those doing this liable,” Shyne said.
The potential changes include targeting anyone who advertises short-term rentals in West Hollywood when the unit is in another location.
The address switch is something the NBC4 I-Team has been looking into for months, something that aggravates residents all over town when tourists show up thinking a local’s home is their vacation rental.
“People show up. They want to come in. They’re looking. This doesn’t look anything like the listing. They’re yelling at us,” Jeff, a West Hollywood resident, said.
The I-Team has been tracking problems with short term rentals in local cities across Southern California, reporting the ways in which some rogue hosts are trying to get past various ordinances.
In Glendale, the I-Team reported on how city officials are now examining theirregulations after neighbors said someone opened an illegal hostel in their neighborhood.
It is something housing advocates say is happening all over Southern California, including in Los Angeles.
Now, West Hollywood leaders are looking to address the concerns in their community at a time when finding affordable housing is so difficult.
Shyne said these new proposals won’t impact people who are following the city’s home sharing rules.
Source: NBC Los Angeles
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