Airbnb’s John Choi shares testimony at LA City Council Committee hearing

On Tuesday, April 10, John Choi, Southern California Policy Manager for Airbnb, testified in front of the Los Angeles City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee on behalf of the Los Angeles Airbnb Community. Below is the testimony he shared with the Committee underscoring the benefits home sharing brings to the City and its residents:

❝Good afternoon, I’m John Choi with Airbnb.

Home sharing puts thousands of dollars in the pockets of LA residents, contributes $1.4 billion dollars to LA’s local economy, and to date has generated more than $65 million dollars in new tax revenues to the City. Home sharing is also now playing an even greater role in stabilizing our neighborhoods — 33% of local hosts now rely on this income to avoid eviction or foreclosure from their own homes — this represents a 10% increase from just a year ago. We remain committed to supporting fair and reasonable short-term rental rules that support economic empowerment while also addressing legitimate neighborhood concerns.

We urge you today to consider the community that will need to abide by these rules — the vast majority of our hosts that share their primary homes. These are senior retirees on a fixed income or often no income at all,  middle-class empty nesters who have converted a child’s bedroom or a backhouse, parents, husbands, and wives, who have faced medical emergencies or come upon hard times. These aren’t commercial operators.  These aren’t corporations or landlords with attorneys and consultants.  These are retired school teachers and artists. Costume designers, electricians, and plumbers who will be directly impacted by the recommendations for thousands of dollars of permit fees, a process that pits neighbor against neighbor, and dozens of hoops to jump through.

The staff recommendations for an administrative review process before you today is too complicated, expensive – and creates layers of needless red tape. And while we support a way for neighbors to voice valid concerns, these cannot be arbitrary and should be balanced with the privacy and property rights of hosts. The City can enforce on problem behavior with a streamlined single permit system that allows responsible hosts to share the homes they live in year-round if they have not had any violations. I’d like to thank the members of this committee and the City staff for the hard work and focus on this issue. We look forward to our continued discussions on this important issue and thank you for your time. ”