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Is Airbnb raising rent in L.A.?

Category : Uncategorized

Airbnb mounted a defense this week against charges that its short-term rentals are exacerbating the housing crisis in Los Angeles. The San Francisco online lodging marketplace has come under fire from the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy for siphoning long-term rental properties from the market. But with three public hearings on its business model set to take place in and around L.A. this week, Airbnb is hitting back.

In a report issued last month, LAANE separated out the commercial operators on Airbnb from the on-site hosts who share their homes with guests and concluded that short-term listings have cost Los Angeles 11 units of housing per day over nine months through July 2015 and cost L.A. renters $464 million annually.
Airbnb has come under fire for siphoning long-term rental properties from the Los Angeles housing market.

Airbnb has come under fire for siphoning long-term rental properties from the Los Angeles… more

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

The situation is worse in popular neighborhoods including West Hollywood, Silver Like and Echo Park, and Venice, where the number of short-term rentals outnumbers net new housing units at rates of two to seven times.

Airbnb took issue with LAANE’s findings, arguing in a blog post by regional head of public policy David Owen that most of its whole-home listings are rented “only occasionally.” The company’s data scientists worked with the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs to determine that 92 percent of its entire-home listings are rented on a short-term basis for less than six months of the year, and 80 percent are rented for less than 90 days.

“Entire home listings do not represent housing units taken off the market, but rather the homes of regular citizens that are rented during the resident’s vacation, work assignment, or other temporary absence,” Owen wrote.

Furthermore, Airbnb noted that from 2005 to 2013, the vacancy rate in L.A. has remained essentially unchanged, “underscoring that the Airbnb community has no material impact on housing availability in the City of Los Angeles.”

LAANE disagreed with Airbnb’s conclusions, noting in the L.A. Times that Airbnb’s own numbers belie the argument that home owners are renting out their houses only when they’re away. Ninety days is far more than the number of vacation days that typical workers get annually, the advocacy organization said.

“There’s no way you can live there full time and rent it out at the rates we’re seeing,” Roy Samaan, LAANE’s research and policy analyst, told the Times. “We stand by our conclusions.”

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