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Los Angeles short-term rental hosts required to register by November 1

  • Oct 29, 2019 | Jennifer Sokolowsky

Los Angeles, California

The City of Los Angeles, California, is scheduled to start enforcing its new short-term rental rules on November 1. Hosts who operate or advertise short-term rentals without a city registration number after October 31 will be in violation of the law.

The new regulations, which were passed last year, allow short-term rentals only in the operator’s primary residence, defined as a property where the host lives for at least six months of the year. Short-term rentals are banned in all rent-stabilized apartments under the new law.

Hosts are allowed to rent out their short-term rental properties for a maximum of 120 days a year. However, operators have the option to apply for an exemption that would allow them to rent their homes out for short terms beyond the 120-day cap.

Short-term rental hosts are also required to:

  • Register with the city and pay a fee
  • Display registration number on advertisements
  • Get permission from landlords to home-share if they are renters
  • Keep records for city inspection
  • Make sure they meet safety requirements such as working smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and information on emergency exits

While the law went into effect July 1, enforcement was delayed until November 1. Airbnb and HomeAway/Vrbo have requested a further delay in the enforcement date, but so far, the city has not taken any action on changing the date.

The new ordinance also places requirements on short-term rental platforms such as Airbnb, HomeAway, and Vrbo. They are not allowed to process bookings for rentals that are not registered with the city or that have exceeded the annual number of permitted rental days. Violating these rules can result in daily fines of $1,000 for platforms. Platforms must also provide information on hosts to the city.

When the law was passed last year, some council members suggested another law that would allow hosts to rent out more properties in addition to their primary residence, but nothing has been drafted.

Los Angeles short-term rental hosts must also register for a city Transient Occupancy Tax Registration Certificate, collect occupancy tax from guests, and file occupancy tax returns with the city.

Currently, Airbnb and HomeAway/Vrbo collect and remit transient occupancy tax on behalf of their Los Angeles hosts. However, hosts are still responsible for registering for a tax certificate, as well as filing monthly returns with the Office of Finance. Operators should deduct the amount of tax collected and remitted by their short-term rental platform when they file their returns.

Airbnb warned recently that it might not renew its tax-collection deal with the city without an agreement over the enforcement of the new ordinance. If Airbnb lets the tax-collection agreement lapse, Airbnb hosts would be responsible for collecting and remitting lodging taxes themselves.

MyLodgeTax can help short-term rental hosts automate and simplify short-term rental compliance. For more information on short-term rental tax obligations, see our California Lodging Tax Guide. If you have tax questions related to vacation rental properties, drop us a line and we’ll get back to you with answers.

Lodging tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Avalara Author
Jennifer Sokolowsky
Avalara Author Jennifer Sokolowsky
Jennifer Sokolowsky writes about tax, legal, and tech topics. She has an extensive international background in journalism and marketing, including work with The Seattle Times, The Prague Post, Avvo, and Marriott.