SILVER LAKE (CBSLA.com) — The California Legislature is getting involved in questions about short-term vacation rentals in quiet, residential neighborhoods, with at least two bills proposed to regular Airbnb and other similar brokers in the state.
KCAL9 Political Reporter Dave Bryan said Wednesday that Silver Lake is one of the most lucrative communities in Los Angeles when it comes to such rentals. While companies like Airbnb are doing very well in major cities across the U.S. But, along with that success there has been some criticism and problems.
Critics charge the company has been so successful in areas like Venice that it has driven up rents for long-term, stable renters, Bryan reported. Meanwhile, some residents say the steady stream of tourists and visitors to their neighborhood is changing the character of the community.
Jane Tagichi, who owns a home in Silver Lake where she and her husband have lived for nearly 20 years, said she sees a neighborhood that's not as quiet and friendly as it used to be.
"It has definitely caused a very unpleasant situation in our neighborhood," Taguchi said. "I mean it changes the character of an area."
Taguchi said new owners bought a house across the street 10 months ago and are using it as a short-term vacation rental property listed with Airbnb, the giant of short-term rentals in America.
And she says the disruptions from the guests included a late-night fraternity party, which angered some of the neighbors to the extent that they contacted the owners of the house..
"Like I said, I got up at 2:30 in the morning when I heard the noise," Taguchi said. "And it was so disruptive that one of the neighbors, later, when they found her number, called her and told her you have got to stop renting out that place. Ten neighbors signed a letter that we sent to the city council and the mayor. "
Airbnb said the overwhelming majority of its rentals are properties where the owners live in the home or condo, and are accountable to their neighbors.
The problems and issues of the skyrocketing short-term rental market were the topic of discussion at a State Assembly hearing in Sacramento, where the focus was on tax issues and quality of life impacts on quiet neighborhoods, that start with parking concerns, and go from there.
"Noise, the party house problem, loss of privacy, particularly on small lots," attorney Michael Colantuono said at the hearing. "Another concern from the health and safety perspective that's unique to local governments is that if we get a call for service into our police department or our fire department, we need a responsible business owner to talk to. And if you're living in Hawaii and lending a unit in town that you inherited from your mom and don't want to live in, you're not real helpful to us at 2:30 in the morning when we've got a problem property."
Airbnb said a survey of its rental owners indicates that more than 70 percent of them used the additional revenue from renting out their homes to make their own mortgage payments, allowing them to stay in the home.
And the company says more than 30 percent of the short-term rentals are in low- and middle-income neighborhoods, allowing the owners to make ends meet.
Now two state senators are proposing regulations they say will clean up some of the problems. The home sharing bills would require that companies like Airbnb must report all homeowner revenue from short-term rentals to all counties and cities.
Another would require that companies like Airbnb must notify property owners that their occupants are renting rooms to short-term guests.
The author of the latter bill is state Sen. Isadore Hall, a Democrat from Compton.
"Sometimes that's all you can do to get along in this society, where it's hard to find employment," Hall said. "But again, it's very important that we protect the community, we protect the homeowner, we protect the tenant leasing the property."
An Airbnb representative said the company has already reached agreement on passing along hotel occupancy taxes to the cities of San Francisco and San Jose, and are working on similar arrangements with other cities, including Los Angeles.
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