Santa Monica Cracks Down on Airbnb Vacation Rentals

Airbnb vacation rentals will soon become a relic of the past in Santa Monica following a sweeping set of new regulations approved by the city council on Tuesday.

In a 7 to 0 vote, the council opted to prohibit short-term rentals of less than one month, effectively banning the 1,400 to 1,700 Santa Monica vacation rentals currently listed on the popular Airbnb website. While the new rules allow for “home-sharing”—the rental of a couch or extra room—hosts must obtain a business license and pay the 14% hotel tax in order to do so.

The new rules, which go into effect in the next 30 days, represent some of the most stringent laws affecting the popular lodging website. They were passed despite a passionate protest by over 100 supporters outside City Hall on Tuesday.

“It’s such a blessing for us to have this money,” said Arlene Rosenblatt, a retired teacher in Santa Monica. “We need to have these regulations changed.”

Airbnb spokesperson Alison Schumer called the new rules unprecedented and unnecessary. Robert St. Genis, spokesman for the Los Angeles Short-Term Rental Alliance, says he believes litigation is likely.

Santa Monica is just one of many cities to have recently tightened the rules on short-term rentals via Airbnb. The nearby cities of Malibu and West Hollywood have already passed rules of their own.

Read more about the new regulations here.


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