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Part 3: Is Los Angeles The Next Target in the Airbnb Battle Following NYC’s New Regulations

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As NYC implements strict Airbnb regulations, LA homeowners and hosts might be next in line.

By: Brad Greiner, CEO of Open Air Homes and OpenAiRE Brokerage

This is a four-part series on the crackdown of Airbnbs in NYC. The first delves into the hotel lobby’s efforts to curtail affordable options for guests visiting the city. The second urges the hotel lobby and industry to look inward about how they can create experiences that guests truly want, instead of spending their lobbying dollars to influence politicians to create draconian regulations.  The third will explore if Los Angeles could be next on the hotel lobby’s list, as they attempt to shepherd travelers back into traditional hotels. The fourth, our recommendation for choosing the path of medium term, or Month+ rentals, for NYC residents, as we have done in Los Angeles successfully.

This post was inspired by the great NY Times podcast, Hard Fork. We highly recommend listening to the first segment of this podcast to hear Kevin Roose and Casey Newton’s take on the crackdown. And yes, we are purposely linking to their Threads instead of Twitter.  The lesser of two evils. 

How the Big Apples’s STR Decision Could Impact Los Angeles

On September 5th, 2023, New York City will usher in rigorous regulations against short-term rentals (STRs), chiefly targeting booking platforms like Airbnb and VRBO. 

While city officials and supporters believe this will address the housing crisis, the real driving force behind these stringent measures appears to be the powerful hotel lobby. Their objective? To reduce the supply of alternative housing options and drive more tourists back to hotels.

LA’s Thriving Rental Scene – The Economics and Vibrancy of Short-Term Rentals

Los Angeles boasts a bustling short-term rental industry that not only contributes significantly to its coffers via taxes but also stimulates the local economy through tourist spending.  Our regulations are fair and balanced, and give both guests and homeowners the ability to legally rent their home, to offset the high cost of homeownership in the state.  

With New York’s latest clampdown, there’s a growing apprehension that LA might be next on the hit list of the hotel lobby.

Offsetting the High Cost of Homeownership in California

 Many homeowners, including partners of Open Air Homes, invest in properties with the dual intent of personal use and earning from STRs to offset the cost of homeownership. Offset the costs is the key here.  Our homeowner partners buy second homes in Los Angeles because they often wish to retire in the city, and they know full well that there will still be significant costs involved with ownership, even when they monetize their home when not in residence. 

These homeowners often reside in their properties for part of the year and list them as rentals when away, optimizing the potential of their assets. This strategy enables many to live in dual cities, making the most of both. However, if the hotel lobby, with its vast resources, continues its crackdown on such setups, countless homeowners may see their dreams derailed.

Casa Santa Fe by Open Air Homes

The Power of Choice – Where Travelers Prefer to Stay

Travelers today aren’t merely looking for a place to sleep; they seek experiences, the feel of living like a local, especially during extended stays. And they’ve made their preference clear, with the resounding growth in alternative accommodation bookings. In homes people can gather, cook healthy meals, and shop in the local community. 

As of today, August 26th 2023, the average stay duration at Open Air Homes is an impressive 9.5 days, a testament to this trend.  

Is Los Angeles Next On The Hotel Lobby’s Chopping Block?

Los Angeles is a vibrant city for tourists.  We have some of the best concert venues in the world, amusement parks, Hollywood, the upcoming Summer Olympics, and thousands of additional reasons to visit this great city.  

Although profits are up for these large hotel chains, they seem to believe that short-term rentals are to blame for their woes of lower-than-desired occupancy.  Instead of looking inward to see how they can create a better experience for guests that truly rivals that of rental properties, they have decided to spend a portion of their vast profits to influence regulations that force us all back into hotels. 

If Los Angeles is the next target, Open Air Homes will continue to adapt, and continue to offer homeowners a legal and alternative path forward to help them craft a plan that works for them. 

The Path Ahead

It’s undeniable that travelers have cast their vote with their dollars, preferring homestays over traditional hotels. One study showed that for guests who have used both Airbnbs and Hotels, 60% of them prefer Airbnb to hotel accommodations.  

While hoteliers have their concerns, it’s crucial to ensure that the voices and choices of homeowners and travelers aren’t stifled. The tussle between hotels and platforms like Airbnb is more than just about accommodations; it’s about the freedom of choice, flexibility, and the evolving idea of what ‘travel’ truly means in today’s world.

In the fourth part of this series, we dive into Open Air Homes’ push to convert a significant portion of our portfolio to medium-term rentals, over 1 month of time.  We see this as a potential path forward for New Yorkers at this time but also wish to caution them of the potential risks of converting their short-term rentals into Month+ homes. However, with the continued rise of remote work, we believe that Month+ bookings will continue to grow in demand, as people around the world have the ability to work from home, year-round. 

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