SANTA MONICA—The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals as sided with the city of Santa Monica’s Home Sharing Ordinance in the city’s battle with Airbnb and HomeAway.com. Airbnb and HomeAway.com challenged Santa Monica’s right to regulate home sharing in order to protect its limited housing for residents.
HomeAway and Airbnb filed a lawsuit against the city of Santa Monica stating its Home Sharing Ordinance violated the First Amendment and the Communication Decency Act. The First Amendment guarantees freedoms concerning assembly, expression, religion, and the right to petition.
Three Ninth Circuit Court judges upheld the city of Santa Monica’s right to regulate home sharing to protect its limited housing stock for residents.
In a 22-page statement from the United States Courts Of Appeals For The Ninth Circuit, Judge Nguyen stated:
“Santa Monica is struggling to manage the disruptions brought about by the rise of short-term rentals facilitated by innovative startups Appellants HomeAway.com Inc and Airbnb Inc. Santa Monica’s council reported that the city had been negatively impacted by the proliferation of short-term rentals by bringing, ‘commercial activity and removing housing stock from the market.’”
The ordinance was amended in 2017 to keep businesses like HomeAway and Airbnb from providing or collecting a fee for booking services for unlicensed short-term rentals.
“We are thrilled to have confirmation from the Ninth Circuit that our balanced approach to home sharing is working at a time when housing and affordability continue to challenge the region,” said Santa Monica Mayor Gleam Davis. “This is a big win for Santa Monica residents and our residential neighborhoods.”
Santa Monica’s Home-Sharing Ordinance was implemented on May 12, 2015 to regulate the short-term vacation rental market by authorizing licensed “home-sharing,” but prohibiting all other short-term rentals for 30 consecutive days or less. The city’s ordinance reflected Santa Monica’s housing goals of preserving housing-stock and preserving the quality and character of its existing single and multi-family residential neighborhoods.
According to the city of Santa Monica website, un-hosted short-term rentals of residential homes, also called vacation rentals, remain prohibited in Santa Monica.
For more details on Santa Monica’s Home-Sharing Ordinance or to apply for a Home-Sharing License, visit www.smgov.net/homeshare.