Irvine bans Airbnb, Vrbo from transacting in the city
- Feb 23, 2021 | Jennifer Sokolowsky
The city of Irvine, California, has passed a new law that prohibits short-term rental platforms such as Airbnb and Vrbo from processing short-term transactions for properties within the city. Platforms must also report the names and contact information of anyone within the city attempting to use the platform for a short-term rental transaction.
The measure, which went into effect February 12, is the latest effort by the city to enforce its ban against short-term rentals in residential districts.
The city passed the ban on short-term rentals in 2018, but as of May 2019, as many as 1,500 vacation rentals were still operating in Irvine. The city strengthened its enforcement efforts, including public outreach, an administrative citation process with increased fines, and a contract with Host Compliance, a company that identifies short-term-rentals for cities.
As of 2021, the number of short-term rentals had decreased to around 500, but the city passed the latest law with the aim of reducing that number even further.
A number of other Southern California coastal cities have taken action on short-term rentals recently.
- Huntington Beach passed a law allowing “hosted” short-term rentals — where the host stays on-site during guests’ stays — throughout the city.
- In November, Costa Mesa placed a moratorium on short-term rentals that was later extended until at least November of 2021.
- The California Coastal Commission approved Laguna Beach’s short-term rental law, which was passed last year. The ordinance bans new short-term rental units in residential neighborhoods, but allows residential properties in commercial areas to operate as vacation rentals.
- A new Malibu short-term rental law went into effect in January. The ordinance requires short-term rentals to obtain a permit from the city and to include the permit number in any advertising. Vacation rentals that advertise or operate without a permit can face fines of $1,000 per day.
- In Long Beach, a new law allows unhosted short-term rental stays, limiting the number of permits for these types of vacation rentals to 800 within the city.
Irvine follows Denver’s lead
Irvine isn’t the first city to try cracking down on illegal vacation rentals by targeting short-term rental platforms. In November 2020, the Denver City Council approved a measure making it illegal for short-term rental platforms to receive payment for unlicensed vacation rentals, with fines of $1,000 per violation per day. Denver and Airbnb had been in negotiations on how to deal with unlicensed rentals since 2018.
Platforms including Airbnb and Vrbo have fought these kinds of measures in court in other cities in the past, but they’ve taken a more cooperative stance and are expected to abide by the Denver law.
In a settlement last summer, Airbnb agreed to provide more information on its properties to New York City in order to support the city’s short-term rental enforcement efforts, ending two years of legal battles.
More recently, Airbnb and Expedia Group (parent company of HomeAway and Vrbo) made agreements with Honolulu and Kauai to require hosts to provide government-issued property identification and tax registration numbers.
MyLodgeTax can help automate and simplify tax compliance for California hosts. For more on lodging taxes in California, see our state Vacation Rental 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.