Santa Monica Actually Got Airbnb To Pay $20,000 In Fines
A little over a year after unanimously enacting legislation that effectively banned short-term vacation rentals, the City of Santa Monica has collected $20,000 in fines from Airbnb. Though the sum is insignificant to a multibillion dollar company, the fact that Airbnb actually paid the fines marks "a rare capitulation for a company that continues to strongly oppose the Santa Monica ordinance and has taken a more adversarial route in other cities," according to KPCC.
Santa Monica's tough Airbnb legislation prohibits hosts from renting out their homes when they are not present. The ordinance, which also requires hosts to collect a 14 percent hotel tax and obtain a business license, went into effect last June.
The ban, which the city estimated would affect roughly 80 percent of the listings in Santa Monica, was no walk in the park to enforce: the city hired three full-time staffers to review listings for violators, who could then be fined up to $500. KPCC reports that 893 fines have been issued thus far, with 618 of them directed at home-sharing platforms like Airbnb (hence the 20k).
The city also successfully prosecuted a short-term vacation rental operator for the first time earlier this month.
Meanwhile, the City of Los Angeles is considering its own short-term rental legislation, with City Council weighing a possible ordinance that would ban hosts from renting out their units more than 180 days a year and require them to pay "Transient Occupancy Taxes." City officials also came to an agreement with Airbnb earlier this month that will require the company to pay hotel taxes to the city.