Los Angeles City Planning has launched a new online system that makes it easier to identify and take down illegal short-term rental listings. The system incorporates technology to enable the department to automate the collection and verification of short-term rental listings.
The system, called the Application Programming Interface or API, implements the agreement, developed by City Planning, that Airbnb entered into with the city. The agreement provides additional recourse for Los Angeles to initiate actions against platforms that allow unregistered or illegal listings to continue to advertise online. A notable feature of the API is its ability to remove unregistered properties across the city that are not owner-occupied but operating as party homes.
Until recently, cities did not see the need to regulate short-term rentals. With the growth of the internet and the sharing economy, and particularly with Airbnb’s launch in 2008, the home-sharing model took root. Today, individuals and families seek out homes, condominiums and apartments for nightly rentals, as opposed to simply booking hotel accommodations – prompting the City Council to establish a regulatory framework in Los Angeles.
Since the start of enforcement in November 2019, Los Angeles has witnessed a 64% decrease in short-term listings, amounting to over 23,000 fewer citywide listings as of Aug. 1.
In addition to assisting with enforcement, the API provides Los Angeles with the ability to monitor many of the world’s short-term rental websites using secure artificial-intelligence algorithms that link multiple listings for the same property across hosting platforms.
Airbnb will be the first hosting platform to pilot this program. Once fully operational, Airbnb listings that are ineligible or without a registration number will be removed on a daily basis. These ineligible listings include rent stabilized and affordable housing units, as well as units that were either subject to recent evictions under the Ellis Act or have been registered on the “Proactive Prohibition” list by the landlord or manager in charge of the property.
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