City lifts enforcement ban on short-term rentals

Tiobe Barron, Ojai Valley News correspondent

Tuesday, the Ojai City Council joined the ranks of California communities attempting to regulate short-term rentals.

Across California, legislative battles have broken out between community governments and online, short-term-rental corporations including Airbnb or VRBO. Earlier this year, Los Angeles officials issued a memo declaring rentals for fewer than 30 days in residential zones illegal, Santa Monica banned unhosted residential rentals for less than 30 days, and Proposition F — an attempt to regulate these rentals — lost by 10 percent of the vote in San Francisco. Airbnb reportedly spent $8 million to thwart the measure.

In the end, (corrected version ) Ojai Council members voted 4-1 to direct City Attorney Matthew Summers to investigate developing a legislative subpoena that would allow the city to obtain host information from short-term rental hosting sites and for staff to develop a possible licensing plan and regulations to regulate short-term rentals. The Council's vote did not lift the moratorium on issuing C.U.P.s for short-term rentals, however.

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