US: The city of Santa Monica in California has settled a case with Airbnb whereby the short-term rental platform will collect money from renters for affordable housing in the city and remove illegal listings.
In March, Airbnb challenged Santa Monica’s existing short-term rental ordinance, which rules that homeowners must be present on the property premises at the time of the stay, but it was rejected unanimously by a federal appeals court.
The ordinance was originally implemented in 2015 following numerous complaints of disturbances in typically quiet residential neighbourhoods in Santa Monica.
Under the new agreement, it will now be obligatory for all Airbnb listings to have a licence number issued by the city. Each host will only be able to list one property on the platform and a maximum of two rooms can be rented out.
Furthermore, Airbnb will collect two dollars a night from its renters and pass it on to the city to be used for affordable housing, after reaching similar agreements in other cities.
Santa Monica has 351 registered short-term rentals, the majority of them through Airbnb, that can be rented out for a maximum of 31 days at one time.
Santa Monica Mayor Kevin McKeown told The Los Angeles Times that the agreement would “better protect real permanent homes, especially our affordable rent-controlled apartments, from being used as de facto hotel rooms”.
The arrangement is expected to be fully implemented by the end of January.
Airbnb public policy chief for California, Matt Middlebrook, told the newspaper: “After years of uncertainty for our host community in Santa Monica, the new settlement agreement provides our hosts the clarity they need to continue sharing their homes.”