Proposed Airbnb rules call for 90-day rental limitation, steep fines and data dumps

A new draft of regulations has drawn ire from hosts and the company itself

Apr.April 20, 2016 08:30 AM

The city of Los Angeles may not be looking to ban Airbnb altogether but it’s planning to heavily regulate it.

The City Planning Department released a long-awaited draft of regulations for short-term rental platforms Friday that calls for a 90-day limit on how often hosts can rent out their rooms and steep fines for those found to be breaking the rules. It also requires that Airbnb and other providers turn over data on their users, including their addresses and how many days they rented their space and for what price.

Airbnb took issue with the proposals, saying the data requirement would constitute an invasion of its customers’ privacy.

“[It] takes a step backward, putting consumer privacy at great risk by requiring online platforms to give the government unfettered access to confidential user data without any idea of how that information would be used,” Airbnb spokesperson Alison Schumer said in a statement, as reported by the L.A. Times.

Specifically, the proposal allows hosts to rent out only their primary residence — where they must live at least six months of a year — for up to three months annually. Apartments that fall under rent-controlled or designated affordable housing are entirely banned from renting out their homes. Hosts will be taxed under hotel standards, and that money would towards the city’s affordable housing fund.

Hosts would also be required to register their properties and display their registration number in their online listings. Failure to do so would result in a fine of $200 and an additional $500 for the facilitating website. Breaking the 90-day limitation would result in an even steeper fine — $2,000 per day for the host, and a $1,000 penalty for websites that refuse to disclose the addresses of culpable rentals.

While housing advocates have praised the plan for addressing the impact of Airbnb on housing availability, some housing groups are unhappy. The L.A. Short Term Rental Alliance rebuked the proposals as unreasonable, as they would hurt those who financially depend on renting out their homes.

City Councilman Mike Bonin told the Times that the regulations primarily target “de facto hotels” and not residents who are interested in “genuine home-sharing.”

L.A. residents will be able to discuss the proposed rules at a May hearing. [City Planning Department] [LAT] — Cathaleen Chen

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