Motels, short-term rentals in LA required to get police permit under proposed ordinance

The Los Angeles City Council approved a draft of a new housing ordinance aimed at hotel developments replacing lost permanent housing, but one provision has motel owners and people who run short-term rentals like Airbnbs worried.

The Council voted 14-0 Tuesday to continue with the Responsible Hotel Ordinance, co-authored by Council President Paul Krekorian. Under the ordinance, any hotel development would be required to obtain a permit from the Department of City Planning. But another stipulation would require motels and short-term rental properties to get a police permit in order to operate. 

It's not yet clear what would merit a permit denial under the system, but Ray Patel with Northeast Los Angeles Hotels that if motels like the Welcome Inn in Eagle Rock are denied that permit, "you have a building like this sitting empty in the city of Los Angeles and the employees who work here are out of work."

Short-term rentals like Airbnb rentals would also need the new permit on top of the other city requirements to operate. The move is an effort to limit short-term rentals that turn into party houses. 

SUGGESTED: Airbnb party ban becomes permanent

But to Steven Jones, who hosts on Airbnb, the requirement is "quite a bit of an overreach."

"It's my understanding that a small, small percentage of Airbnb hosts really have these places that hosts these large parties," Jones said. "Like, less than 1%."

Councilmember John Lee tried to get the permit requirement removed from the ordinance with no luck, saying that "the whole police permit review process has not been adequately fleshed out."

Other councilmembers like Traci Park, stressed the burden the requirement would place on police officers. During Tuesday's City Council meeting, Park asked LAPD Lieutenant Scott Moffitt about the infrastructure necessary for these obligations, Moffitt said "I think the key on that is we would be draining from existing department resources."

The new regulations would go into effect on July 20, 2024. FOX 11 has reached out to Council President Krekorian's office but has not heard back.