Santa Monica City Hall (Daniel Archuleta

The City Council has voted to support state legislation to regulate vacation rentals like Airbnb.

Mayor Kevin McKeown, Mayor Pro Tempore Tony Vazquez and Councilmember Gleam Davis asked that Council support Senate Bill 593 at their July 14 meeting.

The bill is sponsored by State Senator Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg), who represents District 2 in Northern California. The bill requires that hosting platforms provide quarterly reports including the address of each property offered and rented, the total nights a property was rented and the amount paid for occupancy. It also prohibits rentals if they are illegal under city or county rules and establishes fines for non-compliance. Under the rules, the hosting platform would also be required to collect transient occupancy tax if requested by the city or county.

The bill was amended at Santa Monica’s suggestion to preserve local control over vacation rental ordinances, while requiring Internet platforms to share appropriate booking location and price data.

“As cities and counties have witnessed, online vacation rental businesses are often about one-way sharing. They share all the benefits of a local community’s services, but they often share none of the responsibilities. Local governments are left to shoulder the burden of enforcement and expense associated with this expanding industry,” McGuire said. “Our bill is simple: All it does is make online vacation rental businesses follow local laws, just like the rest of us.”

Santa Monica made national news this year when it revised rules for vacation rentals in the city. The new rules reinforce existing regulations outlawing short-term rentals but add additional staff to enforce that prohibition. Santa Monica’s rules legalize home-sharing but require those who wish to do it get business licenses, pay transient occupancy taxes and notify city officials when tenants will be sharing their homes.

“When I met with McGuire, he is very committed to the idea that the purpose of the bill is to give us the tools to regulate short term rentals,” Davis said. “That this is not about obviously creating a state system that we have to fit into, but giving us the tools that we need in order to maintain an ordinance that is appropriate for us … ”

Five individuals filed paperwork to speak about the proposal, but only one endured the 6-hour meeting to comment after midnight.

Cara Brown spoke against the proposal. She said she didn’t understand why the council would consider supporting the state law and criticized Santa Monica’s rules for criminalizing residents who need supplemental income to remain in the city.

“I’m pretty sure this bill will be struck down before it gets going or will invite a lot of lawsuits,” she said.

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