Council lengthens minimum lease for condos, houses to one year

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City Council on Monday shot down a proposal to lengthen the initial minimum lease term for condominiums and single-family residences from the current requirement of 31 days to 60 days, opting instead for a year minimum.

“This notion that we have to be the saviors of people who are coming here for short-term stays — I don’t buy that,” Councilmember John Heilman said.

The ZTA hoped to capitalize on the economic and demographic trends influencing housing needs in West Hollywood, particularly in sectors like entertainment and healthcare. The city’s proximity to major healthcare centers and its role as a hub for creative industries underpin significant temporary housing demand.

The councilmembers felt the amendment catered to non-permanent residents at the expense of long-term renters.

“The fabric of neighborhoods change when people move in for just 30 or 60 days,” Councilmember Lauren Meister said. “These people for the most part don’t want to be a part of the neighborhood.”

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The proposed Zone Text Amendment (ZTA) stemmed from a directive issued by the City Council in 2020, instructing staff to work with the Planning Commission to evaluate the possibility of increasing minimum lease durations for certain housing types.

In July 2020, the City Council adopted an ordinance establishing a one-year minimum lease term for most residential units, excluding individually owned condominiums and single-family homes, which were set at a 31-day minimum. The ordinance exempted specific housing types like transitional and emergency shelters.

The Planning Commission recommended the 60-day minimum lease term, citing a need to balance long-term residential stability with the flexibility required by the city’s significant entertainment and healthcare sectors. The sectors often attract temporary residents, such as gig workers and medical tourists, who contribute to the demand for shorter-term housing.

Council felt that the city should instead be encouraging such renters to stay in local hotels, which are generally more affordable than leases and would force renters to contribute to the city’s reserves via the Transient Occupancy Tax.

The amendment was subject to public scrutiny, with the city leveraging its Engage WeHo platform to solicit community input. Despite mixed feedback, with some residents advocating for no change and others supporting longer lease terms, the majority opinion from the public engagement process favored maintaining the current 31-day requirement.

The councilmembers chided city staff for deriving data from an unscientific survey source.

“Why are we being presented with this data as if it’s actually reflective of the (public) sentiment when it is completely invalid from a statistical standpoint?” Heilman asked.

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Kevin
Kevin
1 month ago

Is this even constitutional given property rights and it smells of UniteHere for sure. I know 3 families over the last few years who were here for extended treatments at Cedars and did want to stay in a hotel, but wanted a residential setting. Is that now an impossibility.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
28 days ago
Reply to  Kevin

Why can’t they just find a unit in Los Angeles?

Jimmy palmieri
Jimmy palmieri
1 month ago

I’m so glad Heilman questioned staff. So much of staff, making six figures, have gone rogue and have the “let’s do the least we can” attitude I’ve heard staff complain about their day to day workload, their disdain for boards and commissions, their absolute hatred of special events and their “let’s slip this past council” attitude. If they deny or lash back…I’ll start naming names. Unlike most, I have the receipts.

Peter Buckley
Peter Buckley
1 month ago

Interesting that the very people who were calling anybody opposing the Wetherly project “NIMBYs” (including Andy S) are now trying to stop lower income earners renting in their buildings for a few months while trying to find permanent housing and a job.

Andrew Solomon
Andrew Solomon
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter Buckley

Hi Peter, I think you’re a bit confused. I’m against short-term, weekend airbnb rentals. These listings aren’t rented out by “lower income earners”; they’re used by tourists who are visiting town for a short period of time and avoiding paying hotel occupancy taxes (the biggest source of revenue for the city).

I think a 1 year minimum is probably too long of a minimum period. I would have probably voted for 60 days, the staff recommendation.

Build more housing. Don’t turn existing housing into hotels.

WehoQueen
WehoQueen
1 month ago

Lauren Meister is completely off base to suggest condo owners #1 goal is to provide housing for people who want to “be part of the neighborhood”. Seriously? You think there is some obligation to rent out only to people who are not going to “change the character of the neighborhood”? How about let the free market decide who rents out condos, and for how long. I recall many years ago when it was being debated if a Costco or a Target store should go into the Gateway Mall project. No doubt, a Costco would have brought in perhaps 1,000 times… Read more »

WokeIsBS
WokeIsBS
1 month ago
Reply to  WehoQueen

Part of the neighborhood! What century is Meister living in? Looking at those five members of that City Council confirms that then that can’t do go into politics. Which is now at the bottom of the barrel regarded how people consider who these people are. At least we can hopefully vote Shine and Erickson out in November. Talk about two enemies of the citizens of West Hollywood. Then we have Byers as mayor… That refugee from Arizona.⁹

Bastian
Bastian
1 month ago

Short term and intermediate term rentals are a huge nuisance to neighbors and contribute to reduced supply and higher rents for long term tenants. On the other hand anyone now forced to leave their home vacant for months for work opportunity, education or take care of a sick relative faces a huge financial burden. There is likely ulterior motives here by the Unite Here puppets to benefit the hotels and thus the union workers. There’s no easy answer, but I think 4-6 month minimum term would have been a good compromise.

WehoQueen
WehoQueen
1 month ago
Reply to  Bastian

Sure. Higher rents for landlords is really a huge problem for landlords. I’m sure they cry about it nightly. There are nuisance laws and rules. Are you saying police are ineffective at stopping these, and HOA’s are unable to fine offenders? And I’ve got news for you: I’m certain long term nuisance neighbors you can’t get rid of, are worse than short term offenders you know will be gone.

McGuire
McGuire
1 month ago

Oh, please. The clown car that is the pathetic incompetent city council can make all the rules they want, while half of the condo and apartment units in weho are Air BnB cuz that’s the “entrepreneurialism” of Millenials and Gen Z to make it in this modern economy that makes it impossible for younger people to get ahead with high rents and stagnant wages. Gas-powered leaf blowers are “illegal”, too, according to “city ordinance” but you hear those constantly. The City Council is a joke with unenforceable rules that let them masturbate their Egomaniacal Power Trip over the Little People… Read more »

JennyTR
JennyTR
1 month ago

So, individually owned condos and single family homes can do what they want? While those are ALSO the most expensive housing? So, let me get this right: the RICHEST and the most privileged are exempt from laws that apply to everyone else? What kind of privileged BS is that? There’s no difference in living atmosphere of a building of apartments versus “individually-owned condos”; the “disruption” to collective living for move-ins and move-outs is the same! Once again, the Rich literally live by different rules encoded into actual black-letter law of the City. Gotcha. Time for the working and middle classes… Read more »

Jim Nasium
Jim Nasium
1 month ago
Reply to  JennyTR

You’re just a bit misinformed. Calm down, take breath and read the article again.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
1 month ago

Maybe the next step is to fine condo associations if they tolerate short term leasing. Most HOA’s prohibit it but there are some egregious exceptions.

Andrew Solomon
Andrew Solomon
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

We hate it in my building. I don’t know any HOAs that would actually welcome airbnb listings in their building, unless it’s a board member that is renting out their own place.

But as Heilman pointed out last night, HOAs are pretty hamstrung when it comes to enforcing a ban of anything greater than 30 days due to Civ. Code § 4741(c). I don’t really think you can fine the HOAs when state law is pretty murky on their ability to actually enforce bans greater than 30 days.

Bastian
Bastian
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Solomon

My HOA has move in/out fees, this can make it less lucrative for would be hoteliers.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
1 month ago
Reply to  Bastian

I have taken a few minutes to calm down before writing this but your HOA is insane and majorly overstepping! Do you count the number of personal guests other homeowners in your building have? Why do you want to make a neighbor’s work-from-home business less lucrative? What is the difference if these would-be-hoteliers got roommates who would be coming and going all day and night and taking up parking spaces?
I suggest you do a little self examination of your screwed up thinking on this.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Solomon

Why do you hate it? Why does it bother you so much?
Lots and lots of people work out of their homes which may involve a client or colleague coming into the building to see that neighbor of yours.

Peter Buckley
Peter Buckley
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Solomon

Gosh you really have a strange carpetbagger mentality towards this city. You want to build Moscow style apartments everywhere but forbid your neighbor renting to cover his costs while he’s out of town for a couple of months.

Last edited 1 month ago by Peter Buckley
Andrew Solomon
Andrew Solomon
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter Buckley

Hi Peter, what is a “carpetbagger mentality”? Renting out your unit for several months is a different story, we have plenty of renters in our building. However, residents are opposed to airbnb listings with weekend renters coming in treating the building like a party hotel. We’ve had several incidents in the past. It’s not a controversial take.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Solomon

This is the NIMBYist comment yet from the YIMBYist commenter.

Last edited 1 month ago by Alan Strasburg
Andrew Solomon
Andrew Solomon
1 month ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

Hi Alan, very glad to be thought of as the YIMBYist commenter. That’s quite the compliment!

The pro-housing movement (aka YIMBYs) are generally opposed to weekend, short-term airbnb rentals. The main focus is more housing, not the conversion of existing housing into private hotel rooms. This removes the number of long-term rentals from the market. It’s a decrease in supply and rental rates subsequently go up. That’s part of the reason why you’ve seen airbnbs banned in a number of cities.

Build more housing. Don’t turn existing housing into hotels.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew Solomon

So, then, these neighbors are short-term renting out their unit that they don’t live in, I assume. That is against the law and should be reported to codes and compliance at city hall. The person who owns the unit must live there if they are going to regularly do short term rentals, with the main reason being to control partying out-of-towners. Airbnb has shut down all would-be hosts who haven’t proven that they own the home they are inviting guests to and that it is also their residence. They would have been given a license number, without which they can’t… Read more »

McGuire
McGuire
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Those HOA Board members would just be voted out by the condo owners who are making too much money using their units for Air BnB. They look the other way. Who’s gonna know? There are no City mechanisms for enforcement of anything so it’s all moot. Robberies are illegal in weho, too, but there’s no stopping those.

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Are you referring to short term leasing of an empty unit, or a resident of a unit taking in guests as a source of income? Most people would agree that a unit that would otherwise be on the open rental market creates a housing shortage and drives up the cost of renting, but if a full-time resident wants to take in paying guests, that resident is doing nothing more than working from home. It appears you are one of those who wants to regulate everything and everyone by government fiat which smothers innovation and individual freedom. Government intervention seems to… Read more »

Gimmeabreak
Gimmeabreak
1 month ago

It seems that every time city council meets I lose another of my freedoms.

Live And Let Live
Live And Let Live
1 month ago

Houses, condos and apartments to be used for residential living. Wow what a concept! Good move by the CC. Now someone has to explain what “housing” is to the Planning Commission.

WeHo Mary!
WeHo Mary!
1 month ago

The “size matters” public comment was creepy and inappropriate. It doesn’t matter that they’re both gay, the Mayor doesn’t deserve to be sexually harassed.

WaspInWeho
WaspInWeho
1 month ago
Reply to  WeHo Mary!

The mayor is a totally creepy joke. Taking a look at that council meeting online. It took at least an hour to finally get to the meeting after they give away certificates to everything from trannies to some Iranian holiday. This is all to benefit the most corrupt group in the United States called politicians.

JF1
JF1
1 month ago
Reply to  WaspInWeho

That’s why sane people stay away from these meetings because they’re a joke. The first hour is typically given to pat themselves on their back, to hear the sound of their own voice or pontificate about world problems before they actually get down to the business of this local small size city. Then they don’t listen to the residents, they do whatever they want anyway. Throw the likes of Annie Vicente into the mix and you have a real three ring circus.

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
1 month ago
Reply to  JF1

The first hour is audition time when they get to preen, prattle, and prance about performative crap to burnish their portfolio of soundbites for use in future campaigns for other offices. The current majority are the most boisterously abusive of dais time that I have seen in my 32 years in West Hollywood. They need to focus on doing the people’s business of sound municipal governance. The current titular mayor plays histrionic game show host his non-stop audition. It’s embarrassing and cringey to watch, and the snark is unending. A couple of amateur buffoons.

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