Airbnb Operators in LA Will Need Permits From the Police

by NEW YORK DIGITAL NEWS


Los Angeles landlords of Airbnb rentals must now report to the local police station.

The L.A. City Council has approved a law requiring hosts of short-term rentals, including Airbnbs and hotels, to obtain a police permit, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Backers, including Council President Paul Krekorian, said the permit requirement will help the city crack down on party houses and rental properties that draw crime.

It will also create more red tape for short-term rental and hotel operators, allowing the City Council and neighborhoods to challenge the issuance of the permits.

Dozens of businesses, including car valet operators, antique stores and bowling alleys already require a police permit to operate in the city.

Many permits require criminal background checks and fees costing hundreds of dollars.

A recent report by the Los Angeles Police Department suggested initial fees of $260 for short-term rental operators. Krekorian said the fees haven’t been finalized and that he’s hopeful the background check can be done without fingerprinting.

“My goal is to make [obtaining a police permit] as easy and painless and nearly automatic as I can,” Krekorian told the Times. “The idea will be that if someone applies for it, unless there’s some complaint from someone, that it would be routinely granted.”

There are 6,725 short-term rental units listed with the city, according to the Planning Department. Under the new law, the police permit would be issued to the operator of the short-term rental unit. 

Several Airbnb hosts expressed alarm about the proposal at a council committee hearing last week, calling the requirement of a police permit excessive and saying they don’t want to be fingerprinted as part of a criminal background check. Others questioned the price of the permits.

“I just ask that you not buckle us in with doing extra hoops to jump through and extra police checks and extra fees,” Kevin Stevens, a homeowner in North Hollywood, told the council.

Airbnb on Monday declined to weigh in on the proposal.

Peter Hillan, a spokesperson for the Hotel Association of Los Angeles, said he didn’t know how many of the association’s 600 members already have police permits, but said the group is “concerned” about the requirement.

Hillan also questioned whether the LAPD has enough staff to oversee the additional permits.

The police permit requirement was part of a package of regulations targeting new hotels that was announced earlier this month. The regulations are a compromise between the city and hotel workers union, which initially sought to force a ballot measure vote related to hotel rooms and the housing of homeless residents. 

New hotels must now go through a more extensive approval process. Hotel developers are also now required to replace any homes demolished to make way for their projects with new residential units, or by buying and renovating existing ones.

— Dana Bartholomew

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