Potential short-term rental regulations worry Long Beach hosts

Long Beach residents are divided on what exactly the city should do about short-term rentals, but officials might be coming to a solution soon.

With bright blue shirts donned with the message “We share Long Beach,” Airbnb hosts and supporters of short-term rentals dominated a large community workshop on Saturday.

According to Airbnb, Long Beach has a total of 960 active hosts. The city estimates there are about 1,300 total hosts in the city, including other sites used for the service.

Friciveri Cari ,a writer and Airbnb host, fills out a survey on potential regulation elements. The city of Long Beach hosted a community workshop to get input from residents on how to regulate short-term rentals Saturday, July 21, 2018. Photo by Valerie Osier

City officials presented case-studies from four other cities that have successfully implemented regulations: San Francisco, Santa Monica, Sacramento and Newport Beach. Some of those regulations include limiting how many nights per year a host can have guests, limiting pool hours and requiring that hosts be in the home while they have guests.

While the rentals are currently banned in Long Beach, officials lack the ability to enforce the ban, so now they are trying to figure out what they can do to keep neighbors, hosts and tourists happy.

While some want an outright ban, many just want better regulations and enforcement of those regulations.

Theresa Marino, a Bluff Heights homeowner, has watched an apartment building across the street from her house turn from affordable housing units to all Airbnb units over the past two years.

“I got an illegal motel across the street from me,” Marino said. “It makes me upset.”

Now she sees trash littering her street and an already impacted parking problem become worse, she said.

Many hosts try to be non-obtrusive in their hosting activities.

Susan Bailey and her husband split their time between Long Beach and Denver. When they don’t need their home in Belmont Shore, they are able to rent it out via Airbnb. She has her sister-in-law meet every guest when they arrive.

“I have a team in place, I’m sensitive to being a neighborhood person,” Bailey said.

Susan Bailey and her husband rent out their home in Belmont Shore while they split their time between Denver and Long Beach. The city of Long Beach hosted a community workshop to get input from residents on how to regulate short-term rentals Saturday, July 21, 2018. Photo by Valerie Osier

Any regulation requiring a homeowner to be in the home while guests are there wouldn’t work in her home — it’s a small two-bedroom and most guests want a home to themselves, she said.

Some suggested regulations include requiring hosts to rent out their spaces for less than 90 or 185 days out of the year.

But for hosts who depend on the income, that doesn’t work.

“It’s a great opportunity to help the community,” said Wrigley resident Theresa Jaques. “Why restrict it to 185 days a year? I gotta pay my mortgage 365 days per year.”

No regulations are set in stone yet, said city consultant Jennifer Daugherty, who has been leading a team compiling the research and organizing the workshops.

At the next workshop on Oct. 10, the consultants and city officials will present to residents possible “regulation packages” using information gathered from surveys taken Saturday.

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Valerie Osier is a breaking news and crime reporter for the Long Beach Post. She’s a Riverside native who found her love for journalism while at community college. She graduated from the Cal State Long Beach journalism program in 2017 and covered the Palos Verdes Peninsula for the Daily Breeze prior to coming to the Post. She lives in Long Beach with her husband and two cats.