Airbnb Banned in California Due to Short Term Rental Law Violations


Airbnb banned in California after regulators cite the company for allegedly violating rules regarding short-term rental sites

A California company has been blocked from opening new hotels and condos in the Golden State following complaints that it violated housing state law by operating Airbnb-like sites. Airbnb said in a news release that it closed the company’s location in Northern California and shut down the San Francisco-based company’s Los Angeles location last month. The company did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The state’s Civil Rights Commission is investigating the complaints.

The company has been under investigation over its operations of website hosts to provide short-term rentals in California. Last year, the city of Los Angeles said a host who had rented out more than 500 units had broken the law by making it possible for residents to stay for only one night a week. Airbnb countered that, in most cases, the host was renting out apartments because the owner of the apartment was displaced.

Airbnb, the worldwide online sharing economy that allows people to rent out empty homes and apartments, drew criticism in San Francisco, where it had been operating, on issues of consumer protection.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that state regulators had recently visited Airbnb hosts in Northern California who had allegedly violated their residency laws. The visit, though, does not mean that the company will be shut down; it just gives regulators the opportunity to speak to people who have violated regulations through Airbnb.

California’s lodging rules have been modified in recent years in response to the rise in short-term rentals and the concerns raised by Airbnb. For example, Airbnb is banned from operating businesses located adjacent to city buildings or highways, and it must comply with local laws concerning the parking of trailers and motor homes, among other requirements.

The company has also been criticized for violating a ban on “non-dwelling housing” based on the premise that it can only provide lodging for those people who live in the units, not others who may come to the facility during the night and not stay at the facility throughout the day.

In May, a California judge ruled that Airbnb had violated the state’s rules when a host who had rented out 500 units in a neighborhood to guests, including minors, was not registered with Airbnb. The judge said the company had been misleading the city and its authorities by claiming that her guests were not renting the units themselves. She also warned that Airbnb would face potential penalties, including a $100,000 fine. That judgement was vacated last month after the company appealed.

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