SANTA MONICA—San Francisco based company Airbnb has paid Santa Monica $20,000 in fines from the city’s new short-term rental laws according to KPCC. The city implemented the new laws last year and has issued 893 fines to local property owners and online platforms that display short-term rental listings.
According to KPCC, out of the 893 fines issued, 618 went to online platforms which included Airbnb. Airbnb recently sued its home town of San Francisco over its rental registration law. According to Yahoo News, Airbnb believes that the new law violates the federal Communications Decency Act and the Store Communications Act.
The ordinance restricts property owners from renting out their homes and apartments on a short-term basis. Violators of the law can face fines costing up to $500. In Santa Monica, homeowners cannot rent a house or a unit for less than 30 days, unless the property owner or tenant is staying on-site during the visitor’s stay.
The city requires hosts to obtain business licenses and to pay a 14 percent hotel tax. Online platforms are prohibited from posting listings on short-term rentals in Santa Monica. The law was put into place after residents complained that the rentals from Airbnb were spreading throughout the city, limiting the amount of regular apartments for residents to lease. That in turn caused rental prices to rise.
According to KPCC, Santa Monica’s enforcement strategy is working and their research is showing that fewer people are advertising short-term rentals online. KPCC further states that it is now tougher to locate Airbnb listings in Santa Monica. Before the law took effect last June, there were 1,700 allegedly illegal rental units on Airbnb and other platforms in Santa Monica. KPCC states that the city estimates there to be about 500.
Airbnb released a statement regarding fines paid to the city of Santa Monica stating: “While we’ve responded to the city’s notices, we continue exploring all options and remain hopeful that the city will revisit these misguided rules that harm middle-income Californians.”
According to KPCC, Santa Monica city officials have been in talks with Airbnb since March, but according to officals the company has stepped up efforts in complying with the ordinance.
“They have taken some voluntary measures to inform Santa Monica hosts of the law,” said Constance Farrell, a city spokeswoman. “They’ve also included a new field on their website for hosts for legal home shares.”
Airbnb have created a site called Airbnb Action. According to their website, it is a community of hosts and guests who believe in the power of home sharing. Their Facebook pages displays numerous videos of Airbnb users and how sharing their home and has helped them economically.
Airbnb recently struck a deal with the city of Los Angeles to start collecting and remitting lodging taxes on behalf of its hosts and providing millions of dollars in revenue to Los Angeles