City Watch posted THIS article, and here’s Emma’s response:
Update: This comment has been deleted at least twice, as spam, without any indication of what makes it spam.
Rock and roll all the way to the bank? The 180 day limit in the current draft applies not only to people renting out a whole house, which if it’s their primary residence, has some logic to it, in that it is assumed they would be home at least half of the time, but it also applies to those of us who rent out rooms in our homes. The current ordinance draft also includes a one listing limit, so even if a host has more than one extra room to rent IN THEIR OWN HOME, they could only have one listing. Most listings go for less than $100 a night, so at 180 days, that comes out to less than $20,000 a year. That’s not going “all the way to the bank”, it’s not even a salary. It doesn’t equal the rent on a one bedroom apartment, and certainly doesn’t cover the mortgage of even a small home. Additionally, this limitation means that anyone employed by hosts could not be employed full time, would limit wages and benefits of those workers too.
Many hosts have been paying our TOT all along. Now that airbnb is paying for the taxes for guests that book through them, hosts continue to submit their TOT forms, which does serve as a check and balance on the airbnb payments. Under any ordinance all hosts would be registered, so there would be a way to calculate what AIRBNB owes the city. (There already is a mechanism for business license registry, so no need to create a whole new apparatus.)
As for payoffs, please, the hotel industry and the developers who are really changing our communities and destroying currently available rent stabilized housing, have a lot more input financially into the political machine in this city.
At no point did the front for the hotel industry, Keep Neighborhoods First, approach hosts who are using airbnb to stay in our homes, and avoid displacement. Home sharing has saved many of us from having to lose our housing and relocate. According to one twitter exchange, KNF considers such hosts simply a “ploy”, when the vast majority of us are seniors, mostly senior women, on fixed incomes.
Airbnb takes 3% from the host for each reservation (that covers the credit card transaction) and 6-11% from the guest. The city gets 14% of the total cost of the reservation plus fees. So the city makes more money off of short term rentals than the listing agent. In these times of huge budget cuts, and rising rents, can the city afford to turn this money down?
While the rhetoric against home sharing is a combination of upper class NIMBYism, and opposition to commercialized units and abusive landlords, the ordinance targets most of all, those hosts who rent out rooms in the homes they live in, in a hideous intrusion into the types of relationships people in L.A. can have in their own home. The Nimby arguments by those who have never wanted to share the mountains or the beaches with the rest of us, play off of fear of strangers in the neighborhood (I think they’re confusing airbnb with Tinder and GrindR), and party houses. But party houses exist regardless of the duration of tenancy, and long term residents who party are permanent, short term guests, are gone after a few days. Most guests are really quiet, and are out seeing the city. Party houses should be addressed in general, and not by blaming airbnb or short term rentals.
As for abusive landlords, again this needs to be addressed as a larger issue, and not just as it applies to short term rentals. With long term rentals of 2 bedroom apartments renting for as much as 6000$ a month (in Echo Park!), higher at the beach, and with market saturation of bnbs, forcing the nightly rates to below $200 for a whole house whole apartment listing, and less than $100 for a private room in a home, the differential isn’t the issue it may have been, but abusive landlords, dishonestly displacing tenants, isn’t going to go away with a draconian short term housing ordinance that dictates the duration of private relationships in our own homes. (Read the actual ordinance!) The city has repeatedly refused or been reluctant to go after abusive landlords who violate existing laws.
Which makes one wonder what the ordinance will do. In my opinion it will force me and other hosts out of our neighborhoods and out of the city, and bring either wealthier people into the existing homes, people who won’t need to home share to make ends meet, or will be sold to developers who are tearing down affordable or less expensive housing and replacing it with luxury single and one bedroom apartments, which are truly changing “the character of our neighborhoods”. Those hosts who are forced out of their homes and who don’t leave the city will be added to the rising number of tenants, creating an even greater shortage of available affordable rental units.
That self proclaimed housing activists have not approached the hundreds of hosts who have begged the city at each hearing, to allow us to use our homes to keep our homes, and assured us that we are part of the neighborhoods we have lived in in many cases, for decades is outrageous. The alliance of “activists” whose day jobs pay the rent, with the hotel industry, while dismissing elders, retirees, working families who are home sharing hosts, is inexcusable and bad community organizing. Many hosts are retired teachers, so not only are we part of the community, we have served it, having taught generations of L.A. students.
Home sharing is not only a source of income, it is for many of us a labor intensive, full time job. (Comparisons to rental income fail to take domestic labor into account. Where are these magic landlords that provide furnished apartments, complete with regular housekeeping services?)
What we need is a comprehensive affordable housing policy, the end of these outrageous luxury apartments in formerly low income communities and the decriminalization not increased criminalization of the ethical work people do to make ends meet.
Go to City Watch and post your response too!
For a more comprehensive take down on the battle over what we do, with whom and for how long, in our own homes, we provide this article:
For concrete affordable housing strategies, we propose: