Long Beach will use a lottery system to decide who will get to operate short-term rentals that are not primary residences.

The city is allowing up to 800 non-primary residence short-term rental units under an ordinance adopted last year.

The city will begin accepting applications for the short-term rental program starting Thursday, Jan. 28, with the window for the lottery closing at noon on Feb. 17. It will allow those who want to list their units on sites like Airbnb to do so legally, if their application is picked in the lottery process.

The winners of the lottery will be given a reservation to be used to register the unit as a legal short-term rental with the city.

“Short-term rentals can provide many benefits and opportunities for residents and visitors,” said Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement. “This program will help ensure that short-term rentals and leases across the city are safe and maintain the livability of our community.”

If more than 800 people apply for a spot in the lottery, a waiting list would be established in the order that they’re selected, according to a city statement. If a wait list is necessary, the order of that list is expected to be posted to the city’s website.

All previously unregistered short-term rental units have until April 22 to register with the city or be in violation of the ordinance.

Creating a short-term rental ordinance for Long Beach took years and underwent multiple revisions in 2020, including adoption of a cap on the number of non-primary residences being reduced from 1,000 to 800 and the council voting to lift a temporary ban on un-hosted stays in the city in November.

The latter was due to the coronavirus pandemic and fears that requiring hosts to be on site while guests stayed in their homes could lead to greater spread of the virus in the city.

More information about the upcoming lottery and other requirements to be eligible for the lottery can be found on the city’s website.

Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or @JasonRuiz_LB on Twitter.