City Committee to Address Proliferation of Airbnb, Other "Home Sharing" Properties in Pasadena

Published : Wednesday, September 14, 2016 | 8:09 PM

Pasadena Councilmembers Victor Gordo (left) and Andy Wilson (right)

As America grapples with disruptions wrought by the new “sharing economy” that has seen everyone become a taxi driver for hire and homes become hotels, a Pasadena city committee is addressing the explosion of Airbnb properties in Pasadena.

Recommendations by city staff to develop an ordinance that would officially legalize and regulate the short-term rentals of private residential homes will go before the Economic Development & Technologies (EdTech) Committee on Thursday, according to the Committee’s agenda.

In recent years, businesses such as Airbnb have caused Pasadena homeowners to step into the world of home-sharing entrepreneurship by allowing temporary guests to rent rooms in their homes — or the entire home itself — for profit.

Due to this uptick in home sharing popularity, many Pasadena residents have called for regulation on this new business model as it has sometimes led to disruption of peace and parking problems.

“It’s become a mess, it wasn’t like this before Airbnb,” said Nina Chomsky, President of the Linda Vista-Annandale Association. “All of these parties destroy peacefulness of our single family community.”

The memo calls upon the EdTech Committee to recommend requiring those who wish to rent their property on a short-term basis to register with the city,  obtain a license and keep logs of their listings and transactions.

Councilmember Andy Wilson of Pasadena’s 7th District said he’s been waiting for months for the city to craft reasonable policies pertaining to home-sharing.

“I’m somebody who’s an advocate for thinking about how the world changes and how we can change with it in a thoughtful, mindful way,” Wilson said. “The sharing economy is here to stay whether we like it or not. As policymakers, it’s critical we understand what the trends are. We can’t deny the incoming tide but we need to be thoughtful about how we manage that so we can provide innovation without disrupting neighborhoods.”

Victor Gordo, a Councilmember of Pasadena’s 5th District, said that because Pasadena is a “‘destination city,’ we have to find a way to tailor our municipal code to both protect families living in single family residential neighborhoods and take advantage of what home-sharing has to offer the local economy.”

“I will be looking to see if the staff’s recommendations address all of the considerations we should be taking into account to ensure that we’ll protect the single residential neighborhoods and the quality of life they currently enjoy,” Gordo said.

Gordo went on to stress the importance of differentiating between Airbnb-type rentals and those renting out vacation homes.

“We have to be thoughtful about it because there are different types of home-sharing — one involves vacation rentals and other involves guests. We have to treat those differently because they present different challenges,” Gordo said. “I think there can be benefits to the economy if we handle it responsibly, particularly if we distinguish between vacation rentals and true home-sharing opportunities.”

As of June 2016, about 470 properties in Pasadena were being advertised for home-sharing, according to the memo. If the city were to tax short-term rentals, it would get a minimum of about $90,000 per year.

However some citizens believe the home-sharing business should not be regulated and instead a plan should be put into place that will help home-sharers peacefully co-exist with neighbors.

“We are Pasadena residents — not absentee property owners, professional property managers, or real estate developers. We believe in home sharing responsibly to protect the character and tranquility of our neighborhoods,” said Liana Enkelis, member of the Pasadena Home Sharing Network in a presentation to the city.

The Special Economic Development & Technologies Committee meeting will be held on September 15, 2016 at 8:00 a.m. at City Hall Council Conference Room S246, 100 N Garfield Ave. Pasadena.  To view the agenda visit:

http://ww5.cityofpasadena.net/commissions/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2016/09/2016-09-15-Economic-Development-and-Technology-Committee-Agenda-Special-Meeting.pdf

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