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Holiday rental homes closing down in Santa Monica

Holiday homes have long been an excellent way of exploring a new place whilst avoiding hotel prices, but has this luxurious Los Angeles neighbourhood taken a step back?  

When British citizens visit the USA, we now opt more and more for holiday apartments or houses instead of hotels. In fact, the whole travel process is easier and less stressful than it used to be. Flights are more affordable and frequent, and as part of the Visa Waiver Programme, we can visit the USA without paying for a visa, and instead travel with a simple ESTA authorisation.

However, the legendary LA neighbourhood of Santa Monica has recently enforced the strictest regulations on short-term holiday rentals in the country. Holiday rental sites like AirBnB and Wimdu have experienced huge popularity in recent years, yet there is certainly mixed sentiment as to their effects on communities (and business!).

Hosts in Santa Monica must now be present throughout their guests stay, which means properties will not be able to be purchased purely for holiday rental purposes. Each host will have to register for a business licence, and pay the 14% occupancy tax for guests. In practice, such regulations have already shut down 1400 of the listings in this neighbourhood, which represents an unbelievable 80% of the rental options there.

From the perspective of the local community, it is understandable that residents may fear a loss of local identity resulting from mass tourism and a reduction of permanent residents. From the perspective of hotels, tourists are no longer choosing them as a first choice, and are now increasingly more scattered across different areas. However, this is arguably quite justified, and the tourism industry is always destined to change over time. And yet, the other side of the coin would argue that beach rentals have existed ever since there have been houses by the beach, and that the legislation being enforced is overly harsh.

Whatever your opinion on holiday rentals, the effects of this legislation in Santa Monica is bound to have a ripple effect across the state, and will be observed closely by other popular tourist destinations. Realistically, it will be a matter of months before the rules are fully enforced, and so it’s not too late to book that summer trip to the golden coast in a holiday home! Santa Monica is a fascinating and much-celebrated part of LA, and can be very easily visited no matter which part of the city you stay in, as well as the many other beautiful beach towns down the west coast. Just be sure to order your ESTA online before you travel!

Travelling to the United States? Do you have your pre-planning checklist in order? Visit our ESTA Guide for more information about obtaining your travel permit. We'd love to hear from you. Send us your comments or questions for travel assistance.