March 3, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Federal Court Dismisses Class-Action Suit Against Santa Monica’s Vacation Rental Ban

Ninth Circut rejects claim that City’s regulations violate Commerce Clause of Constitution

By Sam Catanzaro

A federal court has upheld the City of Santa Monica’s short term vacation rental ordinance in the face of a class-action lawsuit.

Santa Monica has some of the strictest home-share regulations in the United States. Santa Monica’s ordinance prohibits property rentals of 30 days or less with an exception for rentals where a primary resident remains in the dwelling.

The plaintiff in the class-action case is Arlene Rosenblatt, a Santa Monica resident and homeowner who, prior to the ordinance’s passage in 2015, rented out her house on Airbnb for $350 per night when she and her husband traveled. After the City of Santa Monica enacted the ordinance, Rosenblatt sued the city and Santa Monica City Council to repeal the ordinance and recover damages on behalf of herself and a class of similarly situated individuals, claiming that the ordinance violates the dormant Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, which denies the States the power unjustifiably to discriminate against or burden the interstate flow of articles of commerce.

Rosenblatt claimed that the development of the online marketplace for short term rentals allowed tourists to opt for less expensive residential rentals over luxurious, highly occupied and pricey hotels in Santa Monica. According to Rosenblatt, Santa Monica’s real reason for enacting the vacation rental ordinance was to prop up demand for the city’s high-end hotels and thereby reverse a decline in revenue from the City’s 14 percent transient occupancy tax, which the hotels paid but the vacation rentals did not.

In her opinion, however, Judge Jacqueline Nguyen, a federal judge for the United States Court of Appeals 9th Circuit, said the ordinance is not a per se violation of the dormant Commerce Clause because it does not directly regulate interstate commerce.

“The panel rejected the plaintiff’s argument that the ordinance violates the dormant Commerce Clause by directly regulating booking and payment transactions that may occur entirely out-of-state. The panel held that the ordinance applies evenhandedly and does not directly restrain interstate commerce.”

Judge Jacqueline Nguyen, United States Court of Appeals 9th Circuit

“The ordinance penalizes only conduct in Santa Monica, regardless of whether the visitors are in-state or out-of-state. The panel rejected the plaintiff’s argument that the ordinance violates the dormant Commerce Clause by directly regulating booking and payment transactions that may occur entirely out-of-state. The panel held that the ordinance applies evenhandedly and does not directly restrain interstate commerce although it may regulate transactions with an interstate component,” Nguyen wrote.

In August, the Ninth Circuit reaffirmed its rejection of Airbnb, Inc. and Homeaway.com’s challenge to the City of Santa Monica’s Home-Sharing Ordinance in a separate case. Airbnb, Inc. and Homeaway.com argued that the City’s ordinance ran afoul of the Communications Decency Act and the First Amendment because it required the platforms to monitor the content of third-party listings on their sites and remove listings for unlicensed properties.

Related Posts

Construction Alert: Topanga Canyon Boulevard Faces Nightly Closures Starting March 4

March 1, 2024

March 1, 2024

Caltrans Announces 18-Mile Project Spanning Chatsworth to PCH Commuters in the Los Angeles area should prepare for significant delays as...

Film Review: Nyad

February 29, 2024

February 29, 2024

FILM REVIEWNYADRated PG-13121 MinutesReleased November 3rdOscar Nominations: Best Leading Actress, Best Supporting Actress “I failed many times, but I can...

Security Officers Being Deployed at Big Blue Bus Stations and Routes

February 29, 2024

February 29, 2024

The Guards will be provided by a firm with other security contracts with the city of Santa Monica  By Zach...

Leap Day Brings Once-in-Four-Year Deals at Popular Restaurants All Day Long

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

Krispy Kreme, Dunkin’, and More Roll Out Special Offers to Mark the Occasion Leap Day, that rare additional day occurring...

Sweet Lady Jane’s Social Media Tease Continues As Locations Sport Hiring Notices

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

Mysterious Posts Leave Fans Eager for the Return, But Questions Linger By Dolores Quintana After resurfacing on social media, the...

Upcoming Ice Cream Shop on Montana Ave. Will Serve Multitude of Vegan Flavors

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

The Company Has Come a Long Way Since Its Humble Beginnings as a New York City Food Truck By Zach...

(Video) Pro-Palestine Protest at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

Protesters were there to protest the arrival of U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi Counter-protesters drove by in a car. @smmirrornews Pro-Palestine...

(Video) Restaurants Replace Glass Front Doors After Late Night Robbery Spree in Del Ray

February 28, 2024

February 28, 2024

Seven restaurants and small businesses in Del Rey and Venice, including Nick the Greek and Dudley Market, were robbed. Council...

SMMUSD Appoints New Asst. Superintendent of Education Services

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

Dr. Williamson Will Assume Her Role on March 8, Bringing 17 Years of Education Experience In a special board meeting...

Hollywood Royalty to Shine at 96th Oscars: First Wave of Star-Studded Presenter Lineup Unveiled

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

Incredible Lineup of Actors and Previous Oscar Winners Announced Executive producer and showrunner Raj Kapoor, along with executive producers Molly...

Vote Smart, Vote Early: Streamlining Your 2024 Presidential Primary Experience in L.A. County

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

Skip the Lines and Save Time – Your Guide to Early Voting Options  In preparation for the upcoming 2024 Presidential...

Iconic Venice Beach Sculpture and Landmark to be Removed, Returned to Artist’s Property

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

Since the Money, Effort or Desire to Purchase the Piece Appears to Not Be There, the Artist Wants It Back...

(Video) Heartfelt candlelight vigils in Westchester and West Hollywood for Nex Benedict

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

The non-binary 16 year old student with Choctaw ancestry died in Owasso, Oklahoma after being beaten by three older high...

Sweet Lady Jane Sparks Hope of Return – Popular Bakery Hints at Reopening Across LA

February 27, 2024

February 27, 2024

After Abrupt Closures, Beloved Bakery Hints at a Comeback, Leaving Fans Intrigued  Sweet Lady Jane, a Los Angeles cake bakery...

Waymo’s LA Expansion Hits Roadblock: CPUC Temporarily Halts Self-Driving Company’s Plans

February 26, 2024

February 26, 2024

California Public Utilities Commission suspends Waymo’s service expansion for 120 days. California’s Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has put a temporary...