Housing Advocates Celebrate California Coastal Commission Decision To Allow Santa Cruz To Regulate Short-Term Rentals

Redondo Beach, CA –  In a move hailed by housing advocates, the California Coastal Commission voted Wednesday to allow the City of Santa Cruz’s home sharing regulations to go into effect in a decision that sets the precedent that determines whether coastal communities  retain the right to adequately regulate short-term rental platforms like Airbnb.  Santa Cruz voted to ban any new short-term rentals by absentee landlords and capped hosted short-term rentals (where the primary resident lives on site at least half the year) at 250 units. Coastal Commission staff had recommended that the Commission stop Santa Cruz’s rules from going into effect in the coastal zone.

“We are thankful the Costal Commission chose to stand up for our neighborhoods and endorse Santa Cruz’s law” said Judy Goldman, and activist with Keep Neighborhoods First, which has fought to pass short-term rental regulation in the City of Los Angeles.

Activists are concerned about the effect Airbnb has in exacerbating California’s housing crisis by removing units from the market, particularly in coastal areas. For example, in LA’s Venice neighborhood, according to a 2015 report by the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, 12.5% of units had become Airbnb units.  The same study found that rent increased 4 percentage points more in areas with high concentrations of Airbnb rentals.

“We are very pleased with this decision. The Coastal Commission honored the true spirit of the Coastal Act by reaffirming that the coast belongs to the people, not developers and corporations. Coastal communities like Santa Cruz and Santa Monica have done what is necessary to protect their affordable coastal housing stock, and the Commission affirmed their right to do so. We hope that Venice and Los Angeles will be joining those cities soon by passing tough regulations that put peoples’ human right to housing before corporate greed.” said Bill Pryzlucki of People Organized for Westside Renewal, a community organizing group that works on housing issues in West Los Angeles.

Santa Cruz’ housing crisis and ownership structure puts its housing stock at particular risk from short-term rentals.  A 2017 Demographia study found that Santa Cruz was 4th most unaffordable city in the world. According to city statistics presented at the Coastal Commission, 56% of its housing stock is owned by absentee owners.

“On behalf of our thousands of members who live, work, and play near the coast, we thank the California Coastal Commission for protecting our housing stock and prioritizing real home sharing, not profiteers looking to make a quick buck at the expense of our communities”  said Alex Weyman, Research Analyst for UNITE HERE, the hotel workers union.

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