City of Los Angeles threatening My Airbnb listings What do I do?

Hi all,

I’m in a predicament. I have two Airbnb listings at a duplex I own in Los Angeles. I have been doing this since March 2017 and it has been great! However I just had a building inspection from the city to see if I am up to code ( I am and was even told so by the inspector the building is perfect).
HOWEVER he did mention that he thinks my units are Short-term-rentals aka Airbnb listings and that he would be sending over my address to his supervisor to open up an investigation.

I didnt think much of it and thought it would blow over because there are simply too many listings in LA for anything to happen. We just received a letter in the mail warning that a case has been opened and that our “violation” (short term renting) needs to be addressed.

I dont know what to do here in this predicament. I could cancel all my reservations and make it seem like it is a regular rental, or perhaps just make it a regular rental but I really want to avoid that and continue my airbnb business model.

Any advice from anyone that has gone through this in Los Angeles???



Are you sure that the building inspector was a real building inspector? When we went to a Los Angeles City Council meeting a member of the Planning Commission said that contrary to widespread belief, Airbnb is legal in most of Los Angeles. Who exactly was the letter you received from?

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Thanks for the reply. The letter is from the Systematic Code Enforcement Program Central Regional Office. Also has a HCIDLA icon on the top left of the letter.

Return address was: 3550 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 1500
Los Angeles, 90010.

Airbnb IS legal in LA? The information on that seems cloudy at best from my online searching…cant find the “laws” anywhere that say it is definitely illegal.

The Systematic Code Enforcement Program Central Regional Office inspects rental units when there are more than one on a property. Are you registered as a landlord? Did the letter you received give any more information about short term rentals being a “violation”? My guess is that your units are under the City of Los Angeles’ rent control ordinance. There are regulations about taking rent controlled properties off the rental market to rent them via Airbnb.

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I’m not sure if I am yet registered as a Landlord. I will research my paperwork to see if I missed anything. The letter gave no additional information regarding the violation, its nature or what I can do to correct it per se. The unit I have is in Leimert Park 90018. There might be an ordinance I just wish I had a reliable resource on the subject especially the currently active laws!

You are renting on Airbnb and don’t even seem to know what local laws apply to you? This is concerning and really irresponsible, especially for your potential guests facing last minute cancellations- the biggest issue facing the brand we all rely on at present. I suggest you get legal advice ASAP and comply with the relevant local laws, especially if you are renting rent controlled apartments, designed to support low income people access affordable housing, at inflated Airbnb prices. Surely you checked all of this before purchasing???


It is fairly easy to find out about the zoning laws. (Rent control I know nothing about). Go to your towns web site and find the zoning ordinance. Then review the ordinance for your zoning classification. Your zone could be residecial, commercial, ag, or other. But go to your section and see what the rules say. In many many localities in the US rules limit short term rentals to 30 days. So 31 and greater would be legal. Our town has rules like this but our home is in an Ag zone (agriculture) and the short term rental is only illegal in R ( residential). So go look it up. Also pay attention to the definitions section near the beginning of the zoning ordinance. Good luck. Regards. Cury

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What you do is educate yourself on what the laws are - the laws you agreed to abide by when you listed your properties on Airbnb - and if that doesn’t bring clarity, get a lawyer to guide you.

As Los Angeles has yet to set legal guidelines for Airbnb rentals it is not simple to find out what the laws are. As I stated, I’ve heard a Planning Commission member state that contrary to popular belief short term rentals are legal in much of Los Angeles. I’ve read newspaper articles that contradict that.

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