LA alleges vacation rental company violated law

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said on Monday his office would sue HomeAway, an online rental company, after it repeatedly failed to adhere to the city’s home-sharing policies.

Roughly 30 percent of at least 776 short-term property rentals across Los Angeles between Nov. 7 and Dec. 7 lacked a valid home-sharing registration number or a pending registration status number as required by a city ordinance that took effect in late 2019, according to a release from Feuer.

“Such data suggests that HomeAway has completed thousands of prohibited transactions since the Ordinance took effect,” the release added.

The city is seeking $5,000 in penalties for each of the 229 violations.

Feuer said in a statement, “When online platforms and hosts refuse to play by the rules, it allows them to compete unfairly with those who do, as well as depriving the City of much-needed revenue for basic services.”

“We’re in the midst of a housing crisis. The Council found that unregulated home sharing worsens our extreme housing shortage and contributes to increased rental costs, along with undermining the residential character of neighborhoods and increasing nuisance activity,” he added, demanding that “HomeAway’s alleged flagrant violations of City law must end now.”

The lawsuit comes over three years after the city council approved new regulations for Airbnb, Vrbo and other rental sites. Those policies allow short-term-rental hosts to rent some or all of their primary residence but not investment properties or second homes, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The Hill has reached out to Expedia Group, which acquired HomeAway in 2015, for comment.