The Manhattan Beach City Council opened the door to allowing short-term rentals within the city by agreeing to consider a length of stay restriction and host fee. Short-term rentals are currently illegal as the city researches options, including holding a public study session.
City staff was directed to find answers to several questions raised during Tuesday’s meeting. Their analysis will examine policies in other cities and potential restrictions if the city decides to allow short-term stays through websites such as AirBnB.com or VRBO.com.
Councilmembers discussed restricting short-term stays to at least seven days, requiring a host be present at the residence and enacting a fee that hosts pay to cover the costs of enforcement.
Citing potential violators of the city’s prohibition on short-term rentals has proven difficult since the ban was enacted in 2015. From September 2016 to December 2017, the city received 58 reports of short-term rentals with 26 cases still open, according to Anne McIntosh, community development director. Just this week, city inspectors cited a residence in El Porto for operating a pseudo hostel, fining the owners $1,000 per day.
In Hermosa Beach, such fines have been problematic, leading to lawsuits against that city. Councilmember Richard Montgomery said the number of short-term rentals still operating in the city’s residential zones was proof that the prohibition was not working.
“We’re here to clean up what didn’t happen in 2015,” Montgomery said. “We need a legal path for a structured rental program.”
Councilmember David Lesser said he was in favor of allowing short-term rentals with certain restrictions.
“What residents have shared with us tonight is legitimate,” he said. “I felt what the council did in 2015 was wrong … This is not just a zoning change but the creation of an entire program, which needs to be ongoing conversation.”
Councilmember Steve Napolitano, meanwhile, said he supported the prohibition that currently exists.
“You’re turning residential areas into commercial zones,” he said. “We need to be very careful moving forward. The more rules we put on this, the more it will push people underground.”
The next steps for the council in crafting policy on the matter will include a public study session where more ideas can be discussed.
Source: The Beach Reporter