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Board approves list of rental regulations


In unincorporated areas

The Board of Supervisors this week approved a suite of new regulations on short-term rentals located in unincorporated areas.

The board voted unanimously to amend the county code regarding business licenses, which regulates short-term rentals. Under the new rules, hosts with Airbnb or Vacation Rentals By Owner (VRBO), will be required to register and pay a fee of $914 on an annual basis.

The county rules also restrict short-term rentals to a host’s primary residence—prohibiting the use of accessory dwelling units, rent-restricted primary residences and vacation rentals for short-term rental use.

Additionally, the regulations place restrictions on the number of guests, length of stay and types of events for short-term rentals. Companies like Airbnb and VRBO would be required to comply with the new regulations, and establish an enforcement and appeals process for customers who fail to abide by the new rules.

The move came as a result of board action taken on March 19, 2019. Supervisors directed staff members to prepare a package of ordinances that would enhance regulations of short-term rentals in the county’s unincorporated areas.

According to a report from the county’s Treasurer and Tax Collector, the registration program aims to strike a balance between ensuring homeowners can list their properties as short-term rentals and the preservation of long-term housing stock, as well as protecting the quality of life in neighborhoods.

The $914 fee was decided upon based on full cost recovery, including administration and enforcement of the program, salaries, employee benefits, indirect costs, services and supplies.

L.A. County plans to use $1 million from the adopted 2023-24 budget to cover costs associated with the registration program. An additional $1.7 million is set aside for year two, but moving forward the fees are expected to cover ongoing costs.

County officials have met with the community in person and through webinars on the proposed registration program since August 2020. About 1,500 community members, many of whom were property owners and representatives from their respective neighborhood town councils in the unincorporated areas, attended some 31 outreach events, according to the county.

The county regulations will only impact unincorporated areas, so they will not conflict with rules individual cities already have in place. The rules also will not immediately be enforced in select coastal areas, such as Marina del Rey and Catalina Island, since those areas also fall under the purview of the California Coastal Commission, which is expected to ultimately enact rules of its own on short-term rentals.