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LA Gives Final Approval To Airbnb Regulations

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – After years of heated debate, the Los Angeles City Council Tuesday unanimously approved an ordinance that limits the number of days under which property owners can rent out their residences through controversial short-term housing platforms such as Airbnb.

The city council had previously tentatively approved the new guidelines for home-sharing companies back in May. Under those guidelines, homeowners and landlords are limited to renting out their rooms or full homes through Airbnb or other companies to 120 days per year.

A host who wants to go above the 120-day cap would have to go through a petition process which would involve allowing neighbors to weigh in.

However, the guidelines – which were drafted by the Planning and Land Use Management Committee – had to go to the L.A. city attorney's office and the L.A. City Planning Commission for further analysis before returning to the city council for the final vote.

The ordinance had drawn opposition from property owners who argue they need the income from short-term rentals to survive.

Units that fall under the Rent Stabilization Ordinance – which applies to most apartment complexes built prior to 1979 -- will not be allowed to be used for short-term rentals under the ordinance, although the council may come back and address that in the future.

The ordinance also only allows primary residences to be used as short-term rentals. Those are defined as a home where the host lives at least six months out of the year. The council created the limitation in an effort to protect the city's available housing stock and prevent landlords from buying buildings just to rent out on Airbnb or other platforms, or evicting residents so their unit could be rented short-term.

The ordinance, which awaits Mayor Eric Garcetti's signature, will take effect on July 1, 2019. Councilman Mike Bonin called measure the result of a lot of compromises and said it is "far from perfect," but is "as close as we can get" to striking the proper balance between all the competing interests. He also said the ordinance would likely be reevaluated six months to a year after being implemented.

In July of 2016, Airbnb struck a three-year deal with the city of L.A. to pay hotel taxes -- also known as "transient occupancy taxes" – that are owed by Airbnb hosts.

L.A. projects it could collect over $33 million in taxes from Airbnb for the upcoming 2018-19 fiscal year, and has banked on the number in its approved budget. Airbnb has warned that capping rental days would significantly cut into that number.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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