SANTA MONICA—U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II rejected the requests of Airbnb and Homeaway.com, ruling in favor of the city of Santa Monica, in support of the Home-Sharing Ordinance. Wright rejected the businesses’ appeals to change the law, and then dismissed their lawsuit on Thursday, June 14.
According to a press release from the city of Santa Monica, Wright discharged the businesses’ claims under the 14th Amendment, the Stored Communication Act, and the California Coastal Act.
“The City of Santa Monica has consistently dedicated policies to producing, protecting and preserving housing in our community. Today’s decision affirms that cities can take reasonable steps to preserve precious housing supply in the face of an ever-expanding vacation rental industry that threatens to convert homes, and particularly affordable rental units, into de facto hotels,” said Santa Monica City Attorney Lane Dilg.
The Home-Sharing Ordinance is a policy designed to preserve and protect housing in the community. The Ordinance was adopted by the Santa Monica City Council on May 12, 2015. Chapter 6.20 was added to the Santa Monica Municipal Code, prohibiting short-term vacation rentals in the area and outlining regulations for Home-Sharing.
“We are pleased that the Court found the City’s Home-Sharing Ordinance to be fully consistent with all applicable laws, including the First Amendment, the Communications Decency Act, and the California Coastal Act,” said Chief Deputy City Attorney Yibin Shen. “We agree with the Court that the Ordinance is a constitutional exercise of the City’s legislative authority to protect the health, safety, and welfare of residential neighborhoods.”
The Home-Sharing Ordinance specifies two types of short-term rentals and the regulations that apply to them.
“Activity whereby a resident hosts visitors in their home, for periods of 30 consecutive days or less, while at least one of the primary residents lives on site throughout the visitors stay,” states the city of Santa Monica on its website. Vacation rentals are defined as: “A rental of any dwelling unit, in whole or in part, to any persons for exclusive transient use of 30 consecutive days ore less, whereby the unit is only approved for permanent residential occupancy and not approved for transient occupancy.
The Ordinance prohibits businesses from specific conduct that includes providing and collecting a fee for booking services for unlicensed (and unlawful) short-term rentals.
To obtain more details about the Home-Sharing Ordinance, or to apply for a license, go to: www.smgov.net/homeshare.