Short-term rentals up for discussion

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By Jonathan Smith

The city of Culver City is scheduled to host a community forum related to short-term rentals next week in hopes to gain the community’s feedback on the issue. In recent years, short-term rental websites, like Airbnb and HomeAway, have operated within the city limits, to fanfare and resentment. Short-term rentals allow guests to stay in homes and apartments owned by residents in the city, similar to hotels and hostels.

The meeting, scheduled for Sept. 20, will be held to “learn more about issues and potential policy regulations regarding short-term rentals,” according to city officials.

The city has been exploring collecting taxes on short-term rentals. The Council directed staff to seek negotiation contracts with rental websites like Airbnb during a meeting this year. The city will ask that these types of businesses pay a transient-occupancy tax voluntarily through an agreement. The agreement will be similar to how the city collects taxes from hotels.

City staff said that Culver City can collect on these taxes even though such rentals are illegal within city limits.

Staff, through research, has found that more than 200 short-term rentals are operating in the city, according to a report. Staff also said Airbnb has similar transient-occupancy tax agreements with other surrounding cities.

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