As if overpaid Hollywood white people, beneficiaries of a recent plan to infuse the industry with nearly $1.6 billion of your tax money, need more cash, it turns out they've found a way to supplement their incomes.

Airbnb this week unveiled a study that concludes, among other things, that nearly half of those local folks who rent their homes to vacationing strangers work in city's vast entertainment industry.

Makes sense, since a lot of entertainment folks do have to leave town for work these days. The study dropped as City Hall is taking a closer look at regulating and taxing “short-term housing rentals.”


Besides skirting the city's hotel tax, short-term rentals, such as those facilitated through Airbnb's platform, have drawn complaints from neighbors in Venice, Silver Lake and other residential areas that aren't necessarily zoned for this kind of business.

What's more, recent TV news reports have highlighted allegations that some short-term renters were using their hosts' homes for sex parties and prostitution. 

This week L.A. City Council members Mike Bonin and Herb Wesson asked staffers to come up with new rules for Airbnb and similar “sharing economy” businesses. Bonin, who represents Venice, says:

The current system, which turns a blind eye to an important industry and its impact on our neighborhoods, our rental stock, and the city treasury, works for no one. We need a regulatory model that will put neighborhoods first while paving the way for short-term rentals to thrive in an appropriate fashion in Los Angeles.

Credit: Airbnb

Credit: Airbnb

Bonin continued:

 … In some instances, neighborhood character is being threatened. Commercial ventures have purchased large numbers of rental units or even entire apartment buildings and converted them into de facto hotels, reducing and threatening the City’s stock of rental housing and affordable housing, and that is wrong.

Airbnb this week said that 42 percent of its L.A. hosts worked in “arts, entertainment and recreation,” and that its users have had a $312 million economic impact on the city from May, 2013 to April, 2014.

The company says that this has supported 26,000 jobs locally. Without Airbnb, the firm declares, 37 percent of its guests say they wouldn't have visited Los Angeles.

As it is, slightly more than half of L.A. Airbnb guests participated in “daytime spending” in the neighborhoods where they were staying, the study said. That was worth about $946 per guest in hyperlocal spending, the company said.

Bill Lee, senior partner for the research firm Land Econ Group, which conducted the study, said:

Many hosts are aspiring stars in the entertainment industry, and the additional income from Airbnb is what allows them to keep their L.A. dreams alive.

With reporting from City News Service. Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow L.A. Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

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