Home » Free Content » Vacation Rental Websites Flouting The Law

By Alan Egan

As of this past Monday (15th of June 2015) it is illegal to rent short term rentals (STR) for less than 30 days in Santa Monica, California.

The debate and ensuing arguments are over.

It’s simply against the law.

This was announced weeks ago so here at Rent More Weeks we have been wondering what actions would be taken by the big listings companies regarding properties advertising in the city.

English: The Santa Monica Pier and beach in Sa...

English: The Santa Monica Pier and beach in Santa Monica, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So what have the big sites done about it?

I just logged on to a few of the big listings sites to see their response.

215 properties remain listed on Tripadvisor

196 properties remain listed on Flipkey

350 properties remain listed on Homeway

335 properties remain listed on VRBO

+1000 properties remain listed on Airbnb

2355 properties remain listed on Tripping

You get the idea. These companies haven’t removed any properties.

No matter how you look at it they are helping people break the law as with the exception of some Airbnb properties most of the above rentals are now illegal.

To be honest we really aren’t that surprised about this and can pretty much foresee the lame excuses that they will be rolling out when push comes to shove later down the line but there are a number of issues that need airing here,

It only took me 5 minutes to visit the above sites to see what’s available in the area and it won’t take city officials a whole lot longer to draw up a list of law breakers and subsequent court orders (including the above companies probably) .

This is going to happen as sure as eggs is eggs.

Now if John and Jane Doe wants to break the law and list their house on one or all of the above sites that’s up to them.

But what if I, as a visitor to one of the above sites,  booked John’s and Jane’s house for my only vacation of the year?
Let’s say that I book two weeks, plus car hire and flights – But between booking my vacation and the actual holiday, officialdom catches up with the Doe’s, fines them and shuts them down.

Where does that leave me and my family, the travellers?

And what’s it going to do to the reputation of the VR industry as a whole and these companies that are promoting illegal rentals?

[bctt tweet=”#vacationrental Websites Flouting The Law ” via=”no”]

The news media will lap this story up.  Ghost rental headlines, articles and TV segments are already bad enough.
What will Fox News be calling these properties?

Prohibition, speakeasies and bootlegging spring to mind.

Santa Monica Mayor Kevin McKeown

Santa Monica Mayor Kevin McKeown (above) said he stands by his city’s decision. McKeown said he hears the complaints, even those about homeowners needing the extra money an Airbnb rental can provide. But he said,

“there’s lots of ways to make extra money by running an illegal business, and we don’t condone any of them.”

McKeown has a point.

He also has the law on his side and whether you agree with the moratorium or not, the law is the law – And it’s about time that the listings companies faced up to their responsibilities, set an example, complied with the law and had travellers interests at heart.

UPDATE

Since I published this article an hour or so ago…

I was on Facebook when this hit my stream

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 16.09.06

2 thoughts on “Vacation Rental Websites Flouting The Law

  1. Nancy says:

    Alan; A lawyer who owns vacation rentals in a popular year round vacation area told me he circumvents the 1 month rental rule by leasing his units to his LLC yearly and then has paying guests come for 3 or more days. Is this legal?

    1. Alan Egan says:

      Hello Nancy, thanks for getting in touch. Sorry for the delay in replying, I somehow missed your comment.

      I’m no lawyer so can’t really say one way or another (but if sounds a bit flakey). If it’s illegal to rent for less that 30 days and he (or his company) rents for 3 days surely that’s breaking the law. I don’t see that it matters who you rent from, it’s the timeframe that matters.

      But as I saw – I’m no lawyer.

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