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Possible Crackdown On Airbnb Rentals Have Some Worried About Making Ends Meet

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA)  -- A possible crackdown on Airbnb rentals has some wondering if the result will be a problem making ends meet -- for the folks renting and the landlords.

CBS2's Lisa Sigell says the city's Planning Commission is looking at possible regulations.

There was a hearing Thursday where both sides got to speak. About 100 people showed up and, at times, it got heated.

Chloe Prentoulis and her husband use Airbnb. For the past seven years they've rented out a small back house behind their Venice home and the money is desperately needed.

"It's money that pulled my husband and I through," Prentoulis says, "when we lost our incomes at the same time. It's helped me afford medical treatment."

Cooper Bates also turned to Airbnb when he changed jobs and his daughter went to college. He rented out two rooms in his home at least four nights a week. He says it's changed his life.

"It made it absolutely possible to pay the fees for college," Bates says.

Bates and Prentoulis and many others came to City Hall as the Planning Commission looked at new rental restrictions the city may impose on sites like Airbnb and the people who use them.

The new restrictions would include limiting the number of days most people can rent their places to 120 days a year.  It would also ban people from renting any property that's not their primary residence.

Many say regulation is badly needed.

"People started going in and out, cars all over the street, trash and what not, I couldn't get a hold of the owner because they don't even live there,"says Jane Taguchi, a Silver Lake resident.

"Well, LA is the most un-affordable city in Los Angeles for renters and home owners," says James Elmendort with the LA Alliance For A New Economy. "we all know this. And Airbnb is one of the reasons this is happening. They have taken off 11,000 units from the housing market."

The Planning Commission voted unanimously in favor of the regulations. But there are still more layers to go before it's official. (The L.A. City Council has final approval.)

Prentoulis doesn't want to lose her income. She also believes it doesn't have to be all or nothing.

"Regulation needs to be fair against people who are exploiting this platform," she says, "and it should not harm homeowners like me who are surviving."

Airbnb issued a statement that read:

"Hundreds of Angelenos delivered a clear message today that homesharing is an important economic lifeline for residents across the city. We are glad to see this ordinance move another step forward and will continue to advocate for rules that are fair, equitable, and streamlined, to ensure residents and the L.A. economy can continue to reap the benefits of short-term rentals."

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