The City of Santa Monica Achieves Victory in Court Against Online Vacation Rental Services



(Santa Monica, CA) For several decades, the City of Santa Monica, maintained a very strict policy, or city ordinance, of not allowing short term vacation rentals.  However, this coastal city in the Los Angeles, California U.S.A., area eased some of those restrictions in the year 2015.  For the most part; a type of vacation rental business was permitted with a special license, and, it was deemed to be home-sharing.  In the year 2017, Santa Monica’s Home-Sharing Ordinance was strengthened.  As a result, businesses like Homeaway.com, Inc., and, Airbnb, Inc. became unlawful.  Unlawful is due to the fact that, these businesses cannot be engaged in vacation rental services, and/or, collect fees providing booking services for vacation rentals.  Recently; Homeaway.com, Inc. and Airbnb, Inc. revealed that, they had filed a lawsuit in U.S. Federal Court against the City of Santa Monica.  Specifically, the lawsuit went to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  Through the lawsuit; Homeaway.com, Inc. and Airbnb, Inc. attempted to challenge, Santa Monica’s Home-Sharing Ordinance.  Regrettably, for the aforementioned businesses the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, upheld Santa Monica’s Home-Sharing Ordinance.

            Santa Monica’s Home-Sharing Ordinance, when it was upheld, confirmed the right that city government has to regulate vacation rentals.  Specifically, the argument for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, is that the City of Santa Monica can protect its limited housing stock for its residents.  Furthermore, the court’s decision was unanimous.  The unanimous decision was made by a panel of three Ninth Circuit judges.  The panel of judges also confirmed the legal logic that, it is lawful to preserve housing stock, and, maintain a level of quality for its residential neighborhoods.  For the lawsuit in U.S. Federal Court, the City of Santa Monica was represented by the, Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office.  Lane Dilg is the City Attorney for the City of Santa Monica.  Through a press statement, Mr. Dilg said the following.  “The Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office is pleased that the Ninth Circuit has unanimously upheld the City’s Home-Sharing Ordinance.  This critical local law prevents residences in our community from being converted into de facto hotels; it protects affordable housing and it helps residents stay in their homes.  As the Ninth Circuit itself has said, the Communications Decency Act does not ‘create a lawless no-man’s land on the internet.’  We look forward to collaborating and cooperating with technology companies to advance the community’s best interests, but the platforms’ broad assertions of immunity in this case simply go too far.”

            Specifically, Homeaway.com, Inc. is a vacation rental marketplace.  This internet based business reports, more than 2 million vacation rentals in 190 countries, around the world.  Overall it is comprised of 50 individual websites, and, 23 languages are used in the day to day business operations.  Through Homeaway.com a traveler can rent a cabin, a condo, a castle, a villa, a barn or a farmhouse.  Specifically, Airbnb, Inc. is an online marketplace and hospitality service.  Through the online marketplace, a traveler can reserve lodging accommodations or home stays.  Furthermore, the hospitality service is usually tourism or travel experiences.  Homeaway.com, Inc. and Airbnb, Inc. cited the following, as the rationale for the lawsuit in U.S. Federal Court.  These two businesses said that, Santa Monica’s Home-Sharing Ordinance violated the Communications Decency Act and the First Amendment. 

            To end, city officials of the City of Santa Monica did release a press statement.  Gleam Davis is the Mayor of the City of Santa Monica.  Through a press statement, Mayor Gleam Davis said the following.  “We are thrilled to have confirmation from the Ninth Circuit that our balanced approach to home sharing is working at a time when housing and affordability continue to challenge the region.”  Mayor Gleam Davis also said; “This is a big win for Santa Monica residents and our residential neighborhoods.”  As previously stated; Homeaway.com, Inc. and Airbnb, Inc. recently revealed that, they had filed a lawsuit in U.S. Federal Court against the City of Santa Monica.  Specifically, the lawsuit went to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  Through the lawsuit; Homeaway.com, Inc. and Airbnb, Inc. attempted to challenge, Santa Monica’s Home-Sharing Ordinance.  Lastly and regrettably, for the aforementioned businesses the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, upheld Santa Monica’s Home-Sharing Ordinance.



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Written from Press Release

Registered Writer at

PR Newswire Association, LLC

03/16/2019



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