Airbnb becomes a Silver Lake political issue

Silver Lake, airbnb

SILVER LAKE — Political movements have been spawned to champion civil rights, overturn governments and fight injustice. But in Silver Lake, the right to rent out your place on Airbnb has become a political cause of sorts, reports the Los Feliz Ledger. Two of the candidates in next month’s neighborhood council election, tech firm owner Matthew Desario and actress/bar owner Hope-Taylor Arnold, were “moved to engage local politics” after the current neighborhood council considered a motion last year that would have banned short-term rentals, according to the Ledger story. Desario and Arnold, who have used Airbnb to rent out their homes, are running as part of the “Yours, Not Ours” slate of candidates, whose platform includes support for the “Sharing Economy,” which in this case includes “responsible short-term rentals” as well as sharing tools and parenting cooperatives (there’s also a competing Empower Silver Lake slate).

Desario “brought with him a petition in favor of short-term rentals signed by more than 3,000 Los Angeles residents, including over 600 from the Silver Lake area” to one meeting, said the story.  Desario and  Taylor-Arnold were also the subject of complaints filed with the department of  Building and Safety by an attorney who claimed their homes had been illegally converted into hotels. The complaint against Taylor-Arnold was dismissed but, according to the Ledger, Desario has had to spend $15,000 to remove all the utilities and amenities in his garage to make unusable as living space.

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  1. It is funny that the NC thought a motion was needed to ban short-t3erm rentals in residential area. They already are illegal in that zone. And they should be.

    There are all kind of reasons that airbnb is not only a bad idea, but dangerous. But frankly, all it is doing is aiding and encouraging people to break the law. Zoning and land use laws are in place for good reasons. Short term rentals are banned from residential zone for good reason. They are restricted to commercial zones, like any other hotel use.

    In a residential zone, rentals must be a minimum of 30 days at a time, which generally makes for longer term residents and a more stable neighborhood and more familiarity about neighbors. It makes for a home.

    Short term rentals like hotels — and airbnb — serve — well, nobody knows who these people are, they don’t care about the neighborhood as its not their home, they are just transients no matter their financial status, they make the area anything but a stable home atmosphere, they’re here today, gone tomorrow, in and out, always coming and going, who knows what surprise lies within. And then there is the unregulated airbnb side too — no background checks on the people renting, who knows whether they are safe or not.

    And don’t forget, these people are skirting under the radar, not getting the required licenses for short term rentals or the background checks that go with them,, are not paying the fees required, are not paying the city bed taxes on short term hotels, or anything else. It is already clear that some people have turned it into a business, swiping any number of what otherwise would be a rental for someone in need of housing and turning it into a hotel room at at least double the price of a long-term rental, leaving city residents shorted of housing by that much more.

    This is a bad idea. If

    • Mark in Sunset Junction

      I have no skin in this game….but reading the above comment want some clarification. Are short term rentals a violation of zoning in all residential neighborhoods? Or just R1 or whatever they call it? Down here we’ve got apartment buildings and duplexes and sober living houses and transitional housing for folks coming out of incarceration.

      according to the city we’re R2 with limited height constraints down here south of sunset. I suspect if we’re zoned for Boarding Houses (according to the link from the ZIMAS sight, we’d be okay to rent out legal rentals on a shorter than 30 day basis. Is this true.

      BTW…I get why someone who converted their garage to an overnight rental should take the thing apart. That makes perfect sense. Just curious about the specifics in the above post.

    • Mark, it is obvious you do not have a clue about AirBnB and have never used the service before. Your response gave me a pretty good chuckle, though.

    • Hi Mark,

      just fyi. Airbnb hosts are not skirting under the radar. All income is 1099’d so they are paying their federal and state taxes on that (income much needed in California) and because they are 1099’d the Dept of Finance knows who they are and they also pay a 14% TOT tax to the City. Again, much needed income by the city that helps pay for many services that you enjoy. And because of all that, then LAHD wants their piece and charges anyone who rents in any capacity a yearly fee. And THEN anyone who earns 1099 income has to get a City of LA Business Registration Certificate and report all income and pay taxes on that. So yah, totally above the radar.

      The majority of people renting out on airbnb might do it once a year for 2 weeks while out of town. And, statistically, it’s better to have your place occupied while away than empty – check with your local police dept. And it protects you too if it’s occupied in case of a fire or gas leak, or? and from prowlers. Yes, of course, as in all things there are people that abuse the system and are not as diligent with whom they rent to. But ANY host that gets complaints are researched and blocked if found to be the case – as are bad guests. And by blocked I mean by your name, email, phone and bank account. So you’d have to change all of that to open another account. You have a sense of who you are renting to, they are reviewed by past hosts and you are reviewed by past guests. And Airbnb now has a 24 hour hotline and a 1 Million dollar insurance policy.

      As a young theater artist in NY – way before airbnb – if I hadn’t been able to sublet my apt when I was out of town on gigs I would never had made it. And the arts are a billion dollar industry for many cities, but especially in NY. Those days you put an ad in the Village Voice and hoped you didn’t get an axe murderer (as my mom used to say). So are you really saying in an amazing area like Silver Lake, if I’m a musician or artist or teacher or any other kind of stakeholder, that if I get a 3 week residency/opportunity somewhere I can’t rent out my own home? A neighbor recently went down to Nicaragua to volunteer with the elections there. Should she not be able to subsidize that trip? We don’t have hotels in Silver Lake. So if I’m getting married or having a baby or going thru any huge life event and I want my parents to come for 3 weeks and be nearby and able to have their own privacy, that’s not ok with you? Or if I’m traveling with a small child and a hotel for 2 weeks would be rough without a kitchen and room to relax somehow that’s so disruptive to your way of life? and if I go away for the weekend and want someone staying here to look after my animals that’s not ok with you?

      The laws currently on the books were written in the 20’s regarding boarding houses. People’s lives are much more fluid now and they move around more. it’s silly for places to sit empty when they can be shared. During Hurricane Sandy, may airbnb hosts generously opened up their empty units to shelter people displaced by the storm. It’s not all transients. And by the way… when was the last time any landlord did a ‘background check’ on their long-term tenants. they barely do a credit check! So the argument that short term residents are more suspect than long term is just not factual. I rent here and have plenty of annoying neighbors that I WISH were short term.

      I’ve come to realize that this is really a class issue. And god bless you that you are not in a privileged position where you need to rent out your house to make ends meet. And I hope one day if you are you will be able to because we will get these laws changed.

      • FYI AirBnB does not require “hosts” to fill out a W-9 (which is needed to issue a 1099 form). From the AirBnB website “US persons may fill out a W-9 form. In January, we’ll provide hosts who’ve submitted a W-9 with a 1099-K form showing their earnings from the previous year. The IRS definition of US persons includes domestic corporations.” Note the wording it says “MAY fill out” not “MUST fill out” Any “host” wishing to skirt tax laws can easily do so. Hopefully homeowners are also informing their insurers that they are now running businesses (short term rental hotels) out of their houses, because I’m sure it puts them in a higher risk pool.

      • “Totally above the radar”? The city just released a memo: it’s ILLEGAL. And Silver Lake Gal, we are still waiting on even a shred of evidence that Airbnb hosts are paying all the required taxes you keep mentioning. Illegally subletting and shortterm renting may have been a boon for you, but you are ignoring the fallout: rents climb (like in Berlin, Paris, etc.), people are evicted (SF), hotels are getting cheated (NYC, Tennessee, France) and the big winners are those who own many apartments. To say this is a class issue may be right: it benefits those with money. And to say that the only way you could survive was to break the law doesn’t reveal much imagination. Many people get through tough times without taking the crooked path. Sometimes they rely on their neighbors. Airbnb would replace their neighbors with vacationing tourists. BewAirbnb: it is not neighborly and it is not sharing. As far as what to do when you get a a gig out of town, here’s an idea: why don’t you actually SHARE. Get a house-sitter. You know, a young artist friend without much money who will look after your place FOR FREE (sorry if I said a dirty word). That’s called SHARING. They benefit, you benefit, and there’s no billionaire-backed middleman company taking a cut. And that’s what people (like me) did (and still do), believe it or not, before Airbnb. They had poor friends housesit for FREE. They SHARED. Ironically,, the “Sharing Economy”, has been the most effective force at ending real sharing since the pilgrims hit Provincetown.

    • I tell you who those people who rent on airbnb that come to Los Angeles are. They are international tourist that love LA, Hollywood and they come with money to spend. If they have money to travel with family from abroad and get a US Visa, many are great prospects to bring more business to LA, many end up moving to California. They love it here.

  2. The SLNC is corrupt! I heard that board members against air bnb’s hired a lawyer to snoop around to find violations of those pro air bnb homeowners. That’s why my partner and I never attend those glorified neighborhood association meetings.

    • if you think the SLNC is corrupt – and i’m of the same general opinion – then go to the polls on 4/12 to vote the bums out!

      the yours-not-ours slate of candidates is mostly comprised of fresh-faced newcomers, and the old guard that is there are currently in the minority. this is the slate i’ll be voting for – and no, i’m not one of the candidates…

      • You don’t have to “snoop around” to find Airbnb violations. Just go to Airbnb Silver Lake, go to Zimas, find the zoning info on Zimas for the city block showing Airbnbs and you will find a violator. If it’s zoned RD -1 or 2, 3, etc. it’s illegal. It’ll take you about one minute. You don’t need a lawyer. You just need hands. There are some legal AirBnBs in Silver Lake. I believe 1771 Griffith Park qualifies. Its zoned for commercial use. Though to operate as a hotel or B&B must have required permits, etc. But it is a rarity, surrounded by residential units and a stone’s throw from several illegal short-term rentals.

      • yes!

        check them out at http://www.YoursNotOurs.org

        • yours-not-ours is a slate of candidates sponsored by peers.org which is itself funded by AirBnB. You might want to question what their true agenda is.

          • “yours-not-ours is a slate of candidates sponsored by peers.org which is itself funded by AirBnB. You might want to question what their true agenda is.”

            I might want to question what your agenda is.where’s your facts to back up this statement up? Yours Not Ours are real local people you can talk to if you want to know more about them. Its interesting to see how quickly hysterical unfounded accusations are spread to discredit real concerned people just because you disagree.

          • Exactly. AirBnB is a privately held company from the Bay Area with big time venture capital backing it up. You can bet the farm that having AirBnB in Silver Lake is a priority and the marketing people at AirBnB have a strategy not to loose this market. Things like sending shills to neighborhood meetings, taking over the SLNC and spewing propaganda on message boards is part of the playbook. When you hear all this cult-like propaganda at a neighborhood meeting or on some message board you may just be listening to AirBnB marketing trying to come in and turn your neighborhood into a virtual hotel so the dream of AirBnB becoming a publicly traded corporation and its stakeholders getting really rich can be realized. In process we get residential density beyond what the city zoning department has stipulated with a phantom population. Is Silver Lake now some kind of tourist attraction or theme park? Is it like Ft Lauderdale? I think it’s safe to say that many residents here, some long time and some newer, do value peace and quiet in an urban residential neighborhood and aren’t thrilled about the crew that wants to come in here an redefine the place as party central. As for the SLNC, taking it over about one issue seems really narrow and contrary to its aims. Besides, the city zoning department as been pretty clear in stating that short term rentals in R1 and R2 neighborhoods violate city zoning ordinances.

  3. Mark makes many unfounded assumptions about the Airbnb experience, and ignores the economic factors that necessitate the need for short-term rentals in Los Angeles. Furthermore, a distinction needs to be made between hotels and short-term rentals.

    Many of the airbnb listings in the Silver Lake / Echo Park area are for individual guest houses or units, generating a minuscule amount of traffic and instability compared to what a hotel would. These are on such a small scale in comparison to hotel.

    Income earned through Airbnb is reported to the IRS; all hosts receive a 1099 and thus pay federal, local, and in some areas, city taxes. Many Airbnb hosts in Los Angeles do collect transient occupancy taxes from guests and are therefore registered with the business tax office.

    Like a hotel, it is technically possible for a potential Airbnb guest to provide nothing more than a credit card number to book a listing, but this defies the spirit of Airbnb. Unlike a hotel, many of the Airbnb listings and hosts I’ve encountered carefully vet their guests and require ID verifications, bios, & positive reviews before accepting a booking. Many of the listings have very strict rules about noise, parties, number of guests, visitors, and parking. Many provide recommendations for locally-owned, neighborhood services, restaurants, and groceries.

    In my personal experience, I’ve hosted both longer & shorter-term stays: grandparents in town to welcome a new grandchild, preferring to stay in the same neighborhood as their children; journalists or academics in town for conferences or a sabbatical; actors in town to audition; filmmakers, writers, and other creative professionals who work on a project-by-project basis. In other words, individuals who need a place to stay for a few weeks or months at a time, who contribute to the local economy, and who have a vested interest in the well being of the neighborhood.

    Forcing these people to stay in an Embassy Suites in Glendale or a Marriott downtown does nothing for your local community, your air quality, or your parking, because they still have to drive to Silver Lake to hang out there or to visit their kids who live on your block.

    I’ve also hosted guests who need a short-term place to stay while they search for an apartment in the neighborhood; in other words, people who like pretty landscaping and quiet streets and want to be your neighbors: not unruly hooligans stacked in multi-unit flophouses throwing beer cans out the window.

    I think the community needs to hear more from responsible Airbnb hosts, and perhaps take a moment to contemplate the benefits of such a service.

    • The fact remains that according to existing zoning codes short term rentals are illegal in R1 (residential) and R2 zones. There have been serious incidents due to AirBnB. A woman in Silver Lake was bitten by an uncontrolled dog from an AirBnB guest. There was a house renting out 5 rooms – how is that any different from a hotel. There are houses in which there are owners who do not live at the property but rent it out with a continuous stream of “guests”. There are apartment owners taking units off of the rental market so they can make a bigger profit without the hassles of tenancy laws. All of these issues need to be addressed and AirBnB has no desire to do so.

      • Thank you Bubbleburster for your rational response. It’s frustrating, and a little like that Ionesco play, Rhinoserous, to hear one commenter after another clumsily defending dishonorable behavior. The arguments in support of Airbnb’s – there’s nowhere else to stay (there are several legit hotels in Silver Lake, the guests are really nice (terrific, but t’s illegal), the website said we could do it (it’s still illegal), etc., are all covers for the real motivator: MONEY. As San Francisco tenant-rights attorney David Crow said, “Almost all dishonorable decisions these days are made in the name of saving or making money”.

      • the person renting out 6 rooms was shut down. that was a gross violation. In 3 days 3900 people in LA and 975 in Silver Lake alone signed a petition supporting airbnb rentals. You are citing one extreme situation as if all long-term tenants are never an issue. The rent control laws in LA are so strong that it’s just not possible for a landlord to kick people out to turn it into a short term rental. yes, there are people that do it continuously and there are people that do it occasionally.

        And actually Airbnb is working on it, as is Peers.org and STR Advocacy, among others. Airbnb just delivered a petition with 220,000 signatures to the legislature in NY supporting short-term rentals. It’s here, it’s happening and we all need to come up with regulations.

    • “…….the economic factors that necessitate the need for short-term rentals in Los Angeles.” are exactly what the anti Airbnb people are in denial of or worse, don’t care about. This is a class issue, those who own their property outright and/or leverage it’s equity want to live among people like themselves…….people who are financially well off enough to need some extra income to make the next month’s mortgage payment. They look down on those less affluent and resent that they reside and own property in Silver Lake. They act like entitled royalty looking down on their plebeian untermenschen. How do they refer to our children when speaking to their own kids, these fascists?

      You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear
      You’ve got to be taught from year to year
      It’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear
      You’ve got to be carefully taught

      You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late
      Before you are six or seven or eight
      To hate all the people your relatives hate
      You’ve got to be carefully taught

      Careful the things you say,
      Children will listen.
      Careful the things you do,
      Children will see.
      And learn.
      Children may not obey,
      But children will listen.
      Children will look to you
      For which way to turn,
      To learn what to be.
      Careful before you say,
      “Listen to me.”
      Children will listen.

      How can you say to a child who’s in flight,
      Don’t slip away and I won’t hold so tight?
      What can you say that no matter how slight won’t be misunderstood?
      What do you leave to your child when you’re dead
      Only what ever you put in its head
      Things that your mother and father had said
      Which were left to them too.
      Careful what you say, children will listen
      Careful you do it too, children will see and learn.

      Guide them but step away,
      Children will glisten.
      Tamper with what is true
      And children will turn,
      If just to be free.
      Careful before you say,
      “Listen to me.”
      Children will listen…
      Children will listen!
      Children, children will listen

      • This is so clearly not a class issue. The majority of those renting out houses/guest houses paid well over $1,000,000 for their houses. You can go to the AirBnB website right now and cross reference with property sales within the past 2 years. And if you do want to play the “class” card ask yourself how many apartment units have now been taken off the market so that greedy owners can get a higher rate from short term “guests” as opposed to having to adhere to existing tenant laws?

        Nonetheless the law still remains short term rentals are illegal in R1 and R2 zones.

        • The majority of new purchases in SL are over a million dollars, especially those with guest houses. It’s not what they paid for their houses that concerns the SL elite, it’s where and/or how they get their money. Are they deserving of the privilege of living in the holy commune of Silver Lake? Are they good enough? Lets eliminate those who need to subsidize there income to make the mortgage or rent payment. If they belonged here, they wouldn’t have to grovel. You don’t want them living on your street. They are not like us, are they?
          Shame on you!

          • I’ve been in Silver Lake for 20 years. I ain’t rich at all, and I oppose AirBnBs vehemently. Not because of your assumptions about anti-Airbnb people, Jocko, but for selfless reasons: Airbnb, a multi-billion dollar company, takes housing off the market, raises rents, deprives LA of tax revenue and favors tourists and greedy hosts over locals. I don’t make much money, I could Airbnb my place, but I would never screw over my neighbors, prospective neighbors, nor the city of LA for quick cash. Pro-Airbnb people are just plain greedy. There is no sharing in the Sharing Economy. It’s Orwellian double-speak. Zipcar came up with Ride Share to describe short-term rental. And the name caught on. There is NO SHARING in the sharing economy. It’s just unregulated buying and renting. It’s dishonorable to engage in these black market dealings. And if someone needs to subsidize the mortgage on their million dollar home perhaps they should move into a cheap apartment…except there are none…because they’ve been taken off the market. Mark’s post at the top is exactly right: short term rentals are illegal in residential zones in LA. These laws predate the frickin internet. And if it makes some posters cackle, perhaps they’re experiencing the deceiver’s delight: the giddiness a sociopath feels when they’re getting away with something they know is wrong. The law is clear. If you’re determined to behave dishonorably and Airbnb your, or your landlord’s, property, at least have the balls to admit you’re doing it for money, you know it’s wrong and you don’t give a crap for money is more important to you than law, honor, or community. But to attempt to argue that these things are legal is idiotic.

          • ride-sharing is now legal and regulated. CA is the first state to do so and the vote was unanimous. Short-term rentals are next. In any case, 30 days and over IS legal so you can still have 12 different tenants a year if you want. So your concerns are not addressed by the current laws regardless. That’s why they need to be regulated.

          • Doublesaw what are you talking about? Air B&B income is taxed just like hotels income is taxed and the money is spent by people living in the neighborhood who are more likely to spend it in the neighborhood than a hotel chain. Not sure how wanting to make some extra money makes you greedy.

            Hotel laws did not have the AB&B business model in mind. The potential problems could easily be addressed with a few regulations. Also what difference does it make if someone rents to 12 people a year or 30? Ultimately this will be legalized

        • And how exactly do you know what people paid for their houses? AirBNB doesn’t give out exact addresses unless you book — they just show the general area. And sale records for the last two years in my part of Silver Lake show houses selling from $145,000 to $875,000. That’s a pretty far cry from a million.

          • It’s very easy to compare photos on AirBnB to listing photos in real estate postings. (BTW $875,000 is still an expensive house.) As for AirBnB being for the little guy, why are tenants associations in San Francisco so upset about apartments being turned into de facto hotel roomshttp://www.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancisco/sf-landlords-could-face-legal-fight-over-rentals-on-airbnb-other-services/Content?oid=2722068

          • Mike, what I’m talking about are facts. The facts that led to Airbnb being banned in Berlin, highly restricted in France, under investigation and illegal in NYC, San Francisco, etc. I’m talking about laws on the books. I have yet to see any evidence that any Airbnb people in LA, other than those that are zoned for commercial use, are paying any TOTs. If you have any actual facts at your disposal, I and all of Silver Lake would love to see them. I find it hard to believe that someone would have a room on Airbnb for $130 a night with 6- 12% going to Airbnb, and, entirely on the honor system, would voluntarily cough up 14% to TOT, and let’s say 18% to 1099 taxes. Effectively handing over nearly half of their take.. And even if there was evidence to support this idea, the shortterm rentals are not allowed due to current zoning regulations which are in place to keep residential lots residential. The city issued a memo: Airbnb is illegal in virtually every case. Re-zoning hundreds of lots is not going to happen, no matter how many Airbnb Peer thugs show up at neighborhood council meetings. As far as why its greedy for people to want to make a little extra money, well, it’s really a matter of scale, and fallout, I suppose. If a $2200/month two-bedroom apartment is illegally removed from the longterm housing stock because the owner, or tenant(s), want to rent it out for $180/night, that’s a markup of 250 percent. It’s illegal and yet its done. The place could be rented longterm, but instead the dishonorable, illegal, and damaging choice is made…..for money. If that is not the very definition of greed than I do not know what is. And as far as tourists spending money in the area, Silver Lake is not hurting for business from Angelenos. One could say its booming, no thanks to tourists. I find it very telling and troubling that this Yours Not Ours collective so rabidly favors non-local, polluting (air travel is one of the biggest contributors to global warming) tourists and a craven, middleman, billionaire-backed enterprise like Airbnb over their own neighbors. It’s astonishing what people will defend when their pupils turn into cartoon dollar signs. And what’s the difference between renting to 12 rather than one person in a year? I happen to know, like and rely on my neighbors. We share keys, We look after each other. That could not happen with tourists. And 12? What tourist stays in a place for a month? I would suspect a busy unit would take in several dozen tourists in a year.

          • Wow Doublesaw that was quite a rant your hysterical assessment about dollar signs motivating pro short term rental proponents is clearly wrong. I dont own a home and if I did I probably wouldn’t want the hassle of an Air B&B unless I really needed the money. But anyway lets start with
            ” The place could be rented longterm, but instead the dishonorable, illegal, and damaging choice is made…..for money. If that is not the very definition of greed than I do not know what is.”
            Actually the definition of greed is easy enough to look up
            “intense and selfish desire for something, esp. wealth, power, or food.” wanting to make money some money off an extra room or being pro legalization is not greed or anything close to it actually.

            As far as businesses go I’m pretty sure if you asked them if they would appreciate the revenue of more tourism despite your knowledge of their “booming businesses” i’m pretty sure we both know what they would say I wont even get into the debate about the need for tourism dollars in many economies.

            As far as taxes go I meant that all income is subject to tax. Even illegal income. If someone decides not to pay it that doesn’t mean the law’s a bad idea it means people need to pay their tax.

            The Air B&B model is for people in their community who think they have a cute place to rent and something homespun to offer. They are generally as invested in the neighborhood as anyone. Nobody wants an inconsiderate guest less than the person doing the renting. It’s their property and they have the most to loose. This is also why the rating system works. Like Ebay, Amazon, Lyft, etc. people are more likely to behave themselves because they are accountable and don’t want a bad rating. Also tourists are generally not criminals

            Bottom is this would be easy enough to regulate. Simply limit it to private homes and rooms not apartment complexes, have them pay taxes and call it a day. The anti short term rental people are the same Nazi Nimby’s who fought for years to “protect the meadow”. In any event short tem rentals will be legalized it’s just how will it be regulated and when

  4. Correction: This is a class issue, those who own their property outright and/or leverage it’s equity want to live among people like themselves…….people who are financially well off enough NOT to need some extra income to make the next month’s mortgage payment.

    I beg you pardon.

    • This is a legal issue, not a class issue. I’m a renter in Silver Lake. I’m not even remotely rich. I have absolutely nothing to gain or lose in this battle except the quality of my neighborhood. I know all of my immediate neighbors and they are not rich. They struggle. They’ve lived in the same apartments for years. They obey the laws and add value to Silver Lake. Airbnbs are illegal in almost all cases in almost every city. They’re profitable BECAUSE they’re illegal: no hotel taxes, no business licenses, no inspections, no zoning hearings, and in some cases no permission from your landlord. It’s very handy, very tempting, and very harmful. The neighbors and the city loses and the greedy win. And the biggest winners are a couple of propagandists up in San Francisco preaching Sharing Economy lies while lining their pockets by skimming profits from black market transactions.

      • Double Saw you are TOTALLY wrong. all that income is taxed! All income is 1099′d so they are paying their federal and state taxes on that (income much needed in California) and because they are 1099′d the Dept of Finance knows who they are and they also pay a 14% TOT tax to the City. Again, much needed income by the city that helps pay for many services that you enjoy. And because of all that, then LAHD wants their piece and charges anyone who rents in any capacity a yearly fee. And THEN anyone who earns 1099 income has to get a City of LA Business Registration Certificate and report all income and pay taxes on that.

        • Correct me if I’m wrong, but you seem to be saying that all Airbnbs in Silver Lake pay Transient Occupancy Tax, which means that they are licensed for short-term rentals, which means they have all managed to have their properties (some of which they don’t even own) re-zoned. I’d love to see hard evidence that these hundreds of units fit your description or fit some exception to the rule, described in a city memo last week, that single-family residential zones and “lower-density” residential areas (zoned R1, R2, RD, R3, RAS3) are prohibited areas for Airbnb-ing. You seem fairly certaiin that Airbnbs are all on the up and up, do you have any evidence of this?

          • The city happily collects the transient occupancy tax despite the ambiguity of the zoning laws. Does the city knowingly collect a tax on illegal activity? Doubtfully. There is an enormous demand for short term rentals in the Silver Lake area; it would be in the best interest of the city, the community, and Airbnb to revise the zoning laws to be more compatible with our contemporary economy.

          • It’s all AirBnB smoke and mirrors. AirBnB does not REQUIRE any “Host” to fill out a W-9 – which would then allow them to issue a 1099. They only state on their website that a”Host” MAY fill out a W-9 if they wish to receive a 1099. I doubt many do – nor do they pay the city transient occupancy tax. BTW the city can collect taxes on criminal activities even if they don’t sanction them. Furthermore I doubt any of these homeowners have bothered to let their homeowners insurance carriers know that they are currently using their properties for short term rentals.

  5. Someone got bit by a dog of a guest? who gives a $#!+ That has nothing to do with whether people should be allowed to rent a room on a short term basis. Bottom line If individuals want to rent a room or even two out it should be there legal right. Clearly Air B&B’s are not hotels and the city could institute simple rules limiting private home owners to rent a room if they want.

    Right now what we have is SLNC vilifying and tattling on their neighbors not because of a moral conviction but because they feel entitled. The current SLNC is not in Sync with their constituents. The voters really need to get out this time and make a statement.

    • I fear that the SLNC know exactly who their constituents are and what they want because they are one and the same. Silver Lake likes to think it’s liberal and progressive because of the “diversity” of their little protectorate but they are, in fact, elitist snobs when it come to economic diversity. They would like to gate it off and charge homeowners dues like a condo with the SLNC as the board. People sacrifice to afford a home in SL so their kids can go to the “good” schools. Then the learn of the caste system. It’s a toxic hypocritical borough that creates it’s own comfortable concept of morality.
      Class card indeed!
      They, my neighbors, delight in calling themselves progressive, the shameless self absorbed bastards.

      • Not sure how a comment filled with such name-calling made it through the moderators, but welcome to the neighborhood! I’ve been here twenty years. I’m an artist and musician who, believe it or not, doesn’t supplement his income with an illegal business. And I rent. And I’m not rich. Your assumptions about the SLNC are just assumptions. I would suggest you seriously look into the motivations of the self-titled Yours-not Mine people. If they are enthusiastically pro- illegal short term housing, then what other selfish acts are they capable of? Not all who resist cashing in on the black market, I mean sharing economy, are stinking rich. Some of us, and this may be hard for you to believe, prefer neighbors to tourists, community to money, and obeying the law to breaking it. To defend Airbnb, a billionaire-backed, cynical exercise in libertarian take-over tactics, over the objections of a neighborhood council that is simply complying with existing Los Angeles law seems misguided.

        • I don’t own either grew up here (30 yrs) and am pro shot term renting. Pro short term rental proponents are not “pro- illegal short term housing” they are pro lobbying to make it legal. As far as their motivations as far as I know none the Yours not Ours group have or plan to have illegal air B&B’s so it clearly not about them personally.

          Your right joko there is an organized vocal group who the SLNC represent. Most people in SL don’t really think too much about the neighborhood council. or its influence But with the recent decisions I think people are waking up.

    • Many people are confusing multiple issues here. My next door neighbor rents out a room to a tenant but long term, usually a few months at a time. I think that is fine and it is legal. If she were to do AirBnB, I would not be ok with that as there would be different people coming and going all the time. She gets money from her current tenant to help her pay her mortgage, and she is doing it legally. Air BnB is disruptive and illegal in my part of Silver Lake, but it is more profitable so this is really about $$$. People can rent out their rooms legally but only for more than 1 month at a time. These rules are there for a reason. This is not about class or property rights or anything else. It is about $$$$.

      • I totally agree. Think about people who’d like to live in Silver Lake long term but can’t find affordable housing thanks to those who take the crooked path for big profits.

        • Think about people who’d like to live in Silver Lake long-term but can’t find affordable housing because of all the upper-middle-class renters who pay below-market rents for their rent-controlled apartments – and who won’t leave because they have such a sweetheart deal.

          My tenant began renting on a year’s lease, and then it changed to a month-to-month tenancy. A few years later, when I was ready to move to his unit, which was much nicer than the unit in which I was living, he refused to leave unless I paid him close to $10,000 in relocation fees. He’s been there since 1998. I refuse to pay him a bribe when he has benefited from a below-market rent for so many years. As long as the LAHD rent-control ordinance is so unbalanced and hostile to landlords, there are going to be folks who try to circumvent rent control.

          The best analogy I can think of is the teacher’s union; for years UTLA didn’t respond to complaints that they were protecting ineffective teachers, and by being inflexible, they ended up empowering the charter-school movement.

          • The overall effect of rent-stabilization lowers rents. It does not make rents higher. And if it weren’t for rent stabilization, only the rich could rent here. There wouldn’t be limited affordable housing, there would be none. And, believe me, James, as a 20 year resident of Silver Lake, the profile you describe is not the typical long term rent payer. There is real poverty in Silver Lake and without rent stabilization working poor would be forced out of their homes.

  6. AirB&B solves an inventory problem that silver lake hasn’t botherered to solve yet: Where the hell is anyone going to STAY when visiting silver lake?
    I’m willing to bet if the Ace Hotel (etc.) wanted to take over that run down, vacant motel across from Malo it would be voted down pronto! Let me know if I’m wrong and somewhere is in development for a single hotel?

    • I agree that Silver Lake needs more hotels, and certainly the area around Sunset Junction would be ideal and legal since it is a business district. The fact that there is a need for hotel rooms does not automatically make it ok to operate your home in a residential street as a hotel with AirBnB. The ends does not justify the means.

  7. OK, citizens of Silver Lake.
    From what I have gather the high holy Guru and his little friends with the groove drums, the limo liberals who walk out of meeting screaming at the board as little children do who don’t get what they want and their tribe member who have no respect for the process.
    This little group wants to be perceived as open and liberal and like to tell the police to leave their guns at the door if they want to attend these meetings.
    They are the real elitist, totally alienating and discriminating against seniors and other residence who have lived here, raised they families here and want to live out their lives in this community, they are the ones that are being Bullied and called names and other degrading things by this Not Not group.
    So will the real community of Silver Lake just STAND UP to these Bullies who only want what they want and if you don’t agree they will ripe your heart out.
    We must make our views of our community know and have a place at this so called “shared community” table.

    • Wondering if anyone here can speak to the rumor that a member of the Yours Not Ours slate wanted to have a drum circle at a council meeting?
      I also heard they? he? she? made a request to open a meeting by singing “Age of Aquarius”.
      As I am certain there are members or at least a member of Yours Not Ours making comments here, please confirm or deny, I am dying to know if there is truth to this.
      At any rate, please everyone check out the agendas of Empower Silver Lake and Yours Not Ours and please vote!

  8. Attention C. PHYLIS
    Do you believe everything you hear?? even without fact checking? And making a judgment call without ever attending a meeting, ok You like to review movies and give your opinion without even checking them out. ??

  9. this is city policy it has nothing to do with SLNC.. Neighborhood councils do not legislate or regulate. Air B&B is testing / challenging laws in cities they do big business in. Air B&B is a major corporation making major $$$ are they funding this “slate” It seems like they have the most to gain …follow the $$$$$

  10. Gilbert & Sullivan

    How about the words to “Some Enchanted Evening” or a few songs from Guys & Dolls ??
    Get Miss Clark to accompany you on the Drums to “Wash that Man right out of my Hair”.
    Love those show tunes……………….

  11. Airbnb is already banned in Berlin for causing rents to spike, This just in from France:

    A NEW law bringing in a raft of measures affecting the housing market, including several governing landlords and tenants and owners who rent out their second homes to tourists in certain areas, is due to enter the statute books this month.
    The so-called Loi Alur is aimed at encouraging more and easier long-term rents and could have an impact on holiday rentals by making shortterm furnished holiday lets in areas experiencing housing shortages more difficult than annual leases.
    Owners, or their agents, will also have to obtain permission to offer furnished short-term rental from the majority of other owners in blocks of flats (copropriétaires) as there have been rising complaints from neighbours in properties with holiday rentals.

    While holiday rentals may be profitable for the owner, the government wants to free up secondary homes for year-long furnished rental to help tackle the severe shortage of housing.

    The situation has been brought into focus by the sharp rise in the use of internet rental sites such as Airbnb and HouseTrip which are seen as costing hotels business, with the hoteliers claiming some holiday rental owners are not paying national and local tourism taxes.

    Rental agencies will in future have to get a signed statement from property owners that they are abiding by the law.
    The penalties for not getting authorisation are heavy: up to €25,000.

  12. AirBnB will become a total blight on this community if the Yours Not Ours slate gets their way. In addition to being a long term resident and homeowner in Silverlake, I am a partner in a Real Estate LLC in the Bay Area. We have a few single and multiple unit properties that we rent out to long-term tenants. As a landlord, you have to adhere to a host of rent control laws, building and zoning codes, pay taxes, etc. I am not allowed to evict someone without Just Cause, I am not allowed to discriminate based on race, gender or sexual orientation. Sometimes these regulations are a major pain, but I see why they are there and I approve of these laws.
    If short-term rentals become legal in Silverlake residential zones, what is to stop me from simply buying up valuable housing stock that could go to families and community members and create unregulated AirBnBs? It would be in my economic best interest to do so. But would it be in the best interest of the community? No Way!
    Pro-AirBnB activists like to portray themselves as people who are using their resources to survive in this economy. But what they are really doing is opening the floodgates to rich investors who know how to spot a gold-mine.

  13. Thera:

    I’m running as part of the Yours Not Ours coalition. It seems you bring up two valid concerns;
    1. How would we as a community protect short term guests from discrimination and protect their safety?

    If this is determined to be impossible to do with Short Term Rentals, the solution is to disallow them completely. If Short Term Rentals are inherently more discriminatory, and we can’t mitigate the damage that bad actors can have to our community, I don’t think there’s as much disagreement between candidates on this issue. I understand I’m one of the residents who (most publicly) supports short term rentals, but that support is not unwavering or without condition. I hope that we can leverage the existing protections against discrimination and safety for long term rentals and make them apply to short term rentals, but if we can’t, I’m unwilling to compromise on discrimination and safety.

    2. If we as a community concede that some types STRs can be beneficial, how would we protect ourselves from the types of speculators you speak about?

    I’m not so blind that I can’t admit that there are people who do this (today) in Los Angeles and Silver Lake. But I believe that hosting someone in your home while you travel, or hosting someone in a part of your home while you are there is a completely different animal than someone who buys multiple properties (or owns them already) and begins to convert them into STRs. I respect that you, Anne-Marie, Scott and many (but not all) of the Empower Silver Lake slate feel differently–that both are equally undesirable. My support of STRs is really contingent upon them being in someone’s home. It’s the same reason I feel like landlords need to be regulated to remove asbestos, but that homeowners need not. My opinion is that if someone lives in a place, and sleeps under that roof regularly, they are going to make these improvement for their own health and wellbeing, whereas if it is only an income property they may (not always) not have the same concern. If a STR host wasn’t living next to his neighbors, and talking to them while pulling in the garbage cans on Thursday morning, would they be as mindful of their neighbors as someone who lives in the area? I’m not convinced.

    My greater concern is that I don’t think people who are against STR are “wrong” or “bad.” I don’t think it’s nefarious or malicious to be against them. And I would hope that you wouldn’t think I’m an evil shill, sponsored by an evil corporation. I’m completely against this idea of reporting neighbors anonymously without speaking to them or being affected by what they are doing. When I got reported, I initially thought it was because one of the guests I had had done something, parked somewhere, etc and bothered a neighbor. I later discovered that this report was part of a coordinated strategy to eliminate STRs. Initially, I was very anxious and upset. While $15,366 wasn’t money I had sitting around to pay to move toilets 1/2″, re-do electrical wiring and outlets etc, I don’t believe that the people who created the complaints had any intent to cause that financial burned for me. I still talk to and exchange emails with several of the people who were involved in the whole thing. They are good people. I just think that the whole anonymous reporting is the wrong way to go–it emphasizes putting distance between us and our neighbors. Personally it’s the same way I feel about anonymous internet posting.

    • The size and power of Airbnb and its popularity among those lacking in ethics do not make up for the fact that there are laws on the books in LA, SF, NYC, New Orleans, Boston, Berlin, Tennessee, Texas and virtually every city on earth that strictly prohibit short-term rentals in ALL the scenarios Matthew describes. The story should end there, but hosts and Airbnb want that easy money, and they seem to believe that because it’s on the internet, rules do not apply.

      Fortunately, those on the just side of this issue do not have to bow down to greed. The city of LA would like to know who is breaking the law.

      To report any violators in your neighborhood, go to this link: http://www.prozinsl.org/resources-and-where-to-file-a-complaint.html
      Many thanks to the Yours-Not-Ours (hard to type that with a straight face) candidate who provided me and many others with the above link.

      • Oh the time will come up
        When the winds will stop
        And the breeze will cease to be breathin’
        Like the stillness in the wind
        ‘Fore the hurricane begins
        The hours when the ship comes ind.

        And the seas will split
        And the ship will hit
        And the sands on the shoreline will be shaking
        Then the tide will sound
        And the wind will pound
        And the morning will be breaking.

        Oh the fishes will laugh
        As they swim out of the path
        And the seagulls they’ll be smiling
        And the rocks on the sand
        Will proudly stand
        The hour that the ship comes in.

        And the words that are used
        For to get the ship confused
        Will not be understood as they’re spoken
        For the chains of the sea
        Will have busted in the night
        And will be buried at the bottom of the ocean.

        A song will lift
        As the mainsail shifts
        And the boat drifts on to the shoreline
        And the sun will respect
        Every face on the deck
        The hour that the ship comes in.

        Then the sands will roll
        Out a carpet of gold
        For your weary toes to be a-touchin’
        And the ship’s wise men
        Will remind you once again
        That the whole wide world is watchin’.

        Oh the foes will rise
        With the sleep in their eyes
        And they’ll jerk from their beds and think they’re dreamin’
        But they’ll pinch themselves and squeal
        And know that it’s for real
        The hour that the ship comes in.

        Then they’ll raise their hands
        Sayin’ we’ll meet all your demands
        But we’ll shout from the bow your days are numbered
        And like Pharaoh’s tribe
        They’ll be drownded in the tide
        And like Goliath, they’ll be conquered.

        Bob Dylan
        Don’t rat on your neighbors! They are your neighbors.

        • Jocko (aka Charles?)
          Can you please post the words to “Age of Aquarius”?

        • If my neighbor is doing something that harms me, I will first try and reach an amicable agreement with them. If that does not work, I will do something (legal) about it. That’s not ‘ratting’. That’s standing up for yourself.

          • Anonymously “dropping a dime” on your neighbor is cowardly and reprehensible.

          • Agree, ‘really.’ If a neighbor is causing harm to you, your process seems reasonable. I might suggest that the Neighborhood Council should be a resource that assists somewhere in between #1 and #2 because I’ve learned that #2 isn’t good for anyone.

            Forget about the host for a second. I met a homeowner at the elections who felt vilified for anonymously reporting his neighbor before talking to them, and while he has apologized to the hosts repeatedly, he’s not ‘whole’ either. This upset me because I think the Neighborhood Council failed (not deliberately) by guiding him to option #2 when it was in his best interests to more deeply explore #1. I’m not suggesting he should have just lived with the harm, but perhaps by even threatening #2 if concessions weren’t immediately made the relationship between those two neighbors wouldn’t have been as strained as it is now. Perhaps some hosts would stop hosting entirely, or reduce the impact on their neighbors if they knew it bothered them. If we advertise the City and anonymous reporting as a final solution for the anti-STR neighbor, we do a disservice because no one is invested in the other options. Contacting the City should be described as the nuclear option–it will hurt everyone. I’ve seen that the anonymous system doesn’t work–all it takes is a court filing fee and a subpoena fee to force the DBS to release the unredacted copy of the complaint.

            Philosophically, I don’t know many of the same property owners who are against STRs but are in favor of anonymously reporting other ordinance violation unless they affect them directly. Doublesaw in an exception, and I believe he would be consistent in reporting other types of zoning violations (electrical, landscape, plumbing, deck repairs) even if they didn’t impact him, but because he’s is a purist that believes that breaking any ordinance is immoral and deserving of reporting. I disagree with him, and I’m hopeful that he doesn’t measure my tires distance from the curb, or the setbacks of my trees, but I can’t argue with someone who loves the law and wants to live by it. It’s actually very honorable, and if we all lived this way, I think we would demand changes to the ordinances instead of just ignoring them, which Doublesaw would support. I’ve just learned about several of the ordinances on file and while I’ve found areas where my friends are not compliant, I doubt that they are even aware.

          • I’ve been called a Nazi NIMBY (Hitler? Really?) and a property owner on this thread. I’m neither. The meadow is fantastic and I can’t wait for Silver Lake Beach. No idea where Matthew got the idea that I was a property owner. As an almost 20-year renter in Silver Lake with a good landlord, Airbnb will have little effect on me. But Airbnb will effect people moving here and finding sky-high rents. It is for them, for this city, and for fairness that I waste time on this website with its ill-advised name (eastside of what? We’re west of downtown. Go tell Guillermo at East Side Luv in Boyle Heights that Silver Lake is the east side. What does that make East LA? The Far East?). The neighborhood council is now made up of many people who have a lot to gain or lose regarding illegal short-term rentals. It is uncool that anyone on that council could profit from depletion of the housing stock and sky-rocketing rents. Illegal short-term rentals are great for the few and bad for the whole. The SLNC should be, on principal and in line with the city of Los Angeles, opposed to Airbnb hosting.


          • You’re right DoubleSaw. I should have specified “neighbors” instead of “property owners” because there are quite a bit of renters who are affected by increasing rent. I believe that some of these concerns can be addressed–eg, if LA only allowed a maximum of 10 days of STR each year while a home owner or renter was traveling, you could prevent any loss of housing because you haven’t added much value to a property (10 days/year of STR) and you have created a scenario where owning multiple properties isn’t profitable. This is just an example of an extreme regulation that (in my opinion) helps hosts without affecting neighbors.

            I know this example would not fulfill the bigger concern that you raise–compliance with the ordinances. I agree that my example would still violate the ordinance. Again, I think that if most people were as concerned about ordinance violation as you are, as opposed to being concerned about the effects that those ordinance violations have, we would be in a better place as a society because people would have demanded that the reCodeLA project start 15 years ago. Instead we build ordinance-violating decks, bathrooms, pools, roofs, etc. I think that many (most?) neighbors don’t have a problem with these decks, bathrooms, pools, etc being installed without city permits. I think most owners realize that if anything happens, they are going to be the most affected and most neighbors don’t feel the desire to complain unless they are affected.

            I believe you would feel differently, if I’m reading your opinions clearly. Each time I suggest mitigating the impact you seem unwilling to discuss this mitigation because it’s still in violation of the ordinance. Would you support a crackdown in the City on all ordinance violations? It would raise a significant amount of money which would be a boon to the City budgets. It might even eliminate/condemn a few properties. I fear that the bigger impact would be on the vast majority of people who would face fines for construction and modifications that are unpermitted (in violation of several ordinances) or prohibited. These people may not have performed the add-ons themselves, but they would be responsible for their cost. They would suffer from such a strict enforcement of the building code, despite their being no impact to their neighbors. Would you support such a wide scale crackdown? Perhaps incentivizing reporting neighbors with a 30% commission on any fees that are collected? I think that would be a most effective way to enforce the code as we could immediately commission 41,000 inspectors.

            My point is that, whether or not STRs are prohibited today or allowed at some point in the future, some have the potential to be nuisances, with negative impact to Silver Lake. But some have the potential to be quiet, hidden, and lacking in any impact to anyone besides a benefit to the home owner. Similar to an unpermitted washer or dryer hookup in a garage.

            PS. Whoever compared you to a Nazi was wrong. I didn’t see a reference to Hitler, but calling you names isn’t going to foster any type of dialogue. Usually when people call me names, I just get angry and completely shut down. I *think* the original use was meant to refer to your perceived attention to the letter of the law, a la Seinfeld’s “Soup Nazi” as opposed to the more dark associations with the WWII Nazi movement, but it’s an ill advised analogy.

  14. IsthistheTwilightZone?

    It puts a smile on my face to know smart and rational people like Doublesaw , Kevin and llama still exist in this crazy world we live in today.

    And Doublesaw, I have to say hats off to you my friend for wording the issue we face today exactly on-point , GREAT JOB!! – “Airbnb, a multi-billion dollar company, takes housing off the market, raises rents, deprives LA of tax revenue and favors tourists and greedy hosts over locals. ” I am backing you guys 100% , I live in WeHo in case I can help. Good luck!

    I will be bringing this issue up

  15. At least with Occupy Wall Street its members were fighting *against* rampant corporate greed in favor of the common good.

    In Silver Lake we ended up with Yours Not Ours, a group of opportunistic foot soldiers organized solely in the name of personal rental profits, to the greater benefit of corporate greed in Silicon Valley.

    Burbank, Venice and Malibu are legislating and regulating this greedy acrimony out of their neighborhoods. Silver Lake, it’s time to do the same before these idiots get in bed with even more lobbyists and further destroy our neighborhoods.

  16. Airbnb is about people helping people. Shame on the government and selfish people and stupid people for taking away such privilege, obviously those who are against short term rentals don’t care about our economy .

    • Obviously, Airbnb is about making money and doing it illegally. The laws are very clear. Airbnb and the hosts are the selfish ones. They have broken the laws that already exist. That is how Airbnb became worth billions of dollars. I am a law abiding homeowner in Silver Lake who does not want an illegal hotel on my residential street. It is NOT a privilege to rent out your room, apartment or house illegally. It is against the law. You are believing the propaganda that Airbnb spouts. And I hope the City of LA is not also believing the propaganda as well.

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