Councilmembers Koretz and Ryu Fight Party Houses

In the midst of an apparent wave of house parties, Los Angeles City Councilmembers Paul Koretz and David Ryu introduced a motion on Aug. 12 to prevent short term “party house” rentals. The motion instructs the L.A. City Planning Department to draft an ordinance that would prevent the kind of raucous affairs that have drawn the ire of communities trying to battle the ongoing pandemic.

“For too long Home Sharing and Short Term Rentals have been opportunities for privately-held parties and large gatherings at the expense of neighborhoods and communities,” Koretz said in a statement. “Especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, those kinds of parties are a perfect storm for exponentially spreading the virus through both attendees and staff, most of whom do not physically distance nor wear masks.”

The motion takes aim at loopholes in the current regulations around short-term rentals that allow renters to turn the properties into ad hoc nightclubs. Short-term rental and home-sharing services through sites like Craigslist and Airbnb often find themselves linked to the parties.

The motion instructs the Planning Department that the ordinance should include bans on valet and catering services, DJs, live entertainment, and dance floors. Additionally, the ordinance should ensure consequences for property owners, lessees, and property managers as well as the party-goers themselves.

Ryu, whose district includes the Hollywood Hills, has spoken out about party houses in the past. Following a house party in Koretz’s district of Beverly Crest on Aug. 4 that turned deadly when three attendees were shot, one of whom died, Ryu introduced a motion in the City Council to increase penalties for violations of an existing party house ordinance passed in 2018. In response to the same incident, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti proposed shutting off utilities to houses found violating the ordinance.

Despite a pandemic that has killed thousands in Los Angeles, some homeowners are choosing to put everyone at risk by renting out their homes to massive house parties,” Ryu said in a statement on Aug. 5. “This is irresponsible bordering on deadly and it must be stopped. Whether it takes shutting off utilities or revoking their permits, we must do what it takes to shut down these parties.”

Beverly Hills has also seen an uptick in large residential gatherings. “We have seen an increase in calls regarding large gatherings, including house parties,” Beverly Hills City spokesperson Keith Sterling previously told the Courier. “As health officials have said, any gathering of people in a confined space currently presents a danger and risk for the spread of COVID-19.”

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