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Los Angeles Considers Banning Rentals Moonlighting As Airbnb Spots

Airbnb Pop-up in Hollywood Forever Cemetery (Photo by current events via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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On the heels of Santa Monica banning most Airbnb rentals, Los Angeles is now considering cracking down on the homesharing website.The measure proposed Tuesday by Councilman Mike Bonin and Council President Herb Wesson would prevent people from posting listings on homesharing websites, such as Airbnb, that wasn't their primary residence. Spare rooms and back houses would be allowed, along with whole houses and apartments while the owner or tenant is away—just as long as its their primary residence, according to the L.A. Times.

"We cannot tolerate how a growing number of speculators are eliminating rental housing and threatening the character of our neighborhoods," said Bonin on Tuesday.

Bonin, who represents Venice and Playa del Rey, says he supports homesharing and uses Airbnb himself. He says the measure is meant to crackdown on what he calls "homestealing" and "rogue hotels."

"By 'homestealing' I mean a sort of syndicate of speculators who are coming into the community, particularly Venice, and buying entire apartment buildings and homes they have no intention of living in and turning them into de facto hotels," he explained to KPCC.

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Airbnb says over 80 percent of their listings in Los Angeles are already primary residents, and welcomes the regulation. "This proposal demonstrates L.A. is embracing home sharing and the peer-to-peer economy," the company said through a spokeswoman.

The measure appears to be aimed at keeping management companies and landlords off Airbnb. Housing activists contend that short-term rental firms are taking homes off the market as Los Angeles becomes more unaffordable to live in. In April, Airbnb cut ties with at least two of these firms.