Update: Short-Term Rentals
EDIT: Planning Commission final public hearing 1/20
Housing Commission Strengthens Recommendations for Local Law
Berkeley’s Housing Advisory Commission sent a follow-up to their earlier short-term rentals recommendations. The HAC did this both because the draft ordinance does not seem to reflect their recommendations and because there were additional issues to address.
“During the meeting, Darrow expressed concerns that current regulations could allow owners to turn rent-controlled housing units into short-term rentals by evicting all tenants in a building under the Ellis Act, a state law that allows property owners to evict tenants in order to “go out of business.”
According to the new language approved by the commission at the meeting, if an owner evicts a tenant from a unit through no fault of the tenant, the owner must wait five years before the property can be turned into a short-term rental. Additionally, owners must obtain a business license through the city and list their license number in their rental listings.”
Draft Law Making Final Rounds
The draft of Berkeley’s Short Term Rental (STRs) ordinance is now available to the public. The next step is for the Planning Commission to hold a final public hearing, then the law will go back to the City Council, which last discussed the matter in July. Unfortunately, the staff report specifically says they did not address concerns from the Housing Commission in the draft.
It is also unfortunate that the draft law seems to contravene two Council referrals (one on ADUs and one on STRs) by allowing accessory dwelling units (ADUs) on the same property in which an owner occupies another unit as her primary residence to be used as hotel rooms. As usual, the language in the draft law is unclear:
“Host present” means the host is living at the premises of the dwelling unit that is being used for STRs during the short-term rental period or living in the Primary Residence or the Accessory Dwelling Unit.”
Read the Draft: 2015-12-16_Information_Item_Draft Short Term Rental Ordinance-Combined
The Planning Commission is expected to hold a public hearing on January 20 or February 3rd.
Berkeley Owners Sent Warning Letters
At the 4×4 Committee meeting in December, Planning Director Eric Angstadt told Council leaders and Rent Board Commissioners that the City Manager’s office sent warning letters to several STR operators who are violating Berkeley’s current ban on rentals of less than 14 days. BTU has done a public records request to see if letters were sent to the 4 owners BTU filed complaints about in May and June of 2015.
STRs in the News
Ousted Tenants Sue In Los Angeles
“Their rent-controlled building allowed them to enjoy below-market rents of less than $2,000 a month for their two-bedroom pads in the upscale neighborhood. That came to an end in late 2013 when the owners evicted them under the Ellis Act, a state law that allows landlords to get out of the rental business….Within weeks, their apartments began appearing on Airbnb — a short-term rental site geared at tourists — for nightly rates that could total $15,000 a month, they said.”
Airbnb Fined for Offering Lodgings Without Permits in Barcelona
“With the aid of a software programme, the town hall detected listings for 1,891 lodgings that did not have proper permits on Airbnb, and another 3,929 on HomeAway, it said in a statement. Each have been issued a fine of €60,000 ($65,000).
Since taking office in June, Barcelona mayor Ada Colau, a former anti-eviction activist, has kept her pledge to try to curb a boom in visitor numbers that she fears could drive out poor residents and spoil the charm of Spain’s second largest city.”