A little over a year after enacting one of the strictest short-term rental laws in the U.S., the city of Santa Monica has issued 893 fines to local property owners and the online platforms that display short-term rental listings, and has collected $20,000 from Airbnb.
Santa Monica's law, which took effect last June, restricts its property owners from renting out their homes and apartments on a short-term basis. Those who violate the law can face fines of up to $500. The online platforms are also prohibited from posting listings for short-term rentals in Santa Monica.
The City Council unanimously approved the restrictions last year after residents complained that Airbnb rentals were spreading throughout the city, leaving fewer traditional apartments available for residents to lease, which in turn brought up rental prices in an already expensive market. Shortly after approving the restrictions, the city set up an enforcement wing to identify people who were violating the law.
Of the 893 fines issued, 618 of them went to the online platforms, which include Airbnb. Councilman Kevin McKeown confirmed that Airbnb has paid $20,000 in fines so far.
While that amount is tiny for a startup now valued at $30 billion, it appears to mark a rare capitulation for a company that continues to strongly oppose the Santa Monica ordinance and has taken a more adversarial route in other cities. Airbnb filed suit against its hometown of San Francisco last month over the city's demand it turn over information about hosts.