Santa Monica Lookout
|Lawsuit Claims Santa Monica’s Short-Term Rental Ban Unconstitutional||
By Jonathan Friedman
July 12, 2016 -- An 81-year-old retired LAUSD teacher who says she and her husband need the money earned through renting their Santa Monica house short-term filed a lawsuit against the City for its ban on the practice, which has spiked recently worldwide because of advertising websites such as Airbnb.
Arlene Rosenblatt, represented by Los Angeles attorneys Robert and Jordan Esensten, filed the class-action suit late last month alleging the ban approved by the City Council in May 2015 violates the U.S. Constitution.
The complaint says the ban “substantially burdens interstate commerce and discriminates in favor of Santa Monica businesses and interests at the expense of non-Santa Monica residents and interests” and “constitutes an unreasonable restriction on the use of privately owned property.”
City Attorney Marsha Moutrie did not respond to The Lookout’s request for comment on the suit prior to the publication deadline. She is scheduled to talk about it with the council during the closed session portion of its meeting on Tuesday.
Rosenblatt and her husband had been renting their two-bedroom home for $350 per night while they were on vacation, according to the complaint.
Rosenblatt’s suit alleges the real reason for the ban was “to steer travelers back to more expensive Santa Monica hotels and to prevent interstate competition from negatively impacting hotel revenue and the revenue the City receives" from transient occupancy taxes.
By making an overnight stay in Santa Monica more expensive, the ordinance reduces tourism and other interstate activities within the city, Rosenblatt alleges.
“Santa Monica residential property is one of the most expensive in the country, due in large part to its attractiveness to potential renters and tourists,” the complaint states.
The fine for violating the Santa Monica ordinance is $500 per day.
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