Council opposes short-term rentals

By Brett Callwood

At the City Council meeting on the evening of Tuesday, August 22, Departmental Item 13A called for the introduction of ordinance 1851, severely restricting how people can rent out their own homes.

The item read, “An Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Gardena, California Amending Title 18 and Adding Chapter 5.76 to Title 5 Relating to Home Sharing Rentals and finding the action exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act Pursuant to the Commonsense Exemption of CEQA Guidelines Section 15061(B)(3).”

Staff recommended a public hearing, followed by the adoption of an ordinance that has already been much discussed at previous meetings.

Back in September of last year, the council opted not to ban short-term rentals (STRs) outright when a motion by Mayor Pro Tem Paulette Francis didn’t get a second and quickly failed.

Staff suggested some provisions that the council could place on short-term renters, including, “Allow home share only – owner must be present during rental; Limit the type of properties where STRs are allowed, ie single-family homes and duplexes, not apartments; Require that this be the person’s primary residence; Limit the number of STRs one person can have; Limit the number of people per bedroom.”

Ordinance 1851 states that, “The City Council wishes to make clear that short-terms rentals of an entire home are not permitted in the City. The adoption of this ordinance is not meant to indicate that short-term rentals were previously allowed in the City… Short term rentals can create problems in residential areas due to such things as the potential for increased traffic, noise, parking issues, and can cause a change to the residential character of the community which can also lead to safety concerns. The City desires to alleviate these impacts to residential neighborhoods caused by short-term rentals.

It goes on to say that, “Home sharing does not create the same adverse impacts as unsupervised short-term rentals when the home-shares are hosted by the owner or a qualifying resident who lives on site and is present to regulate guests’ behavior… Imposing time requirements for owners and tenants to have owned and lived in the property helps ensure that those individuals who are home sharing have a long-term interest in the community.”

All of the public speakers at the meeting were very much against the ordinance, with some saying that the council is restricting their ability to make money. 

Council Member Wanda Love agreed with them, but she was the one “nay” vote as the item passed 4-1.