It's About Damn Time

C.C. de Vere

C.C. de Vere

· 4 min read
Screenshot of LA Times article on lawsuit over short-term party house rentals

No one needs to tell Angelenos that short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods can be a serious nuisance. Most of us know that far too well.

Previous complaints about STRs (and quite a few other problems) were pretty much disregarded; we can thank disgraced former City Attorney Mike Feuer for that.

The city passed ordinances under the guise of managing the STR problems, none of which seem to have ever been enforced. As we've recently seen from the Lourine Court saga, unenforced laws are useless.

I'm not generally a fan of HOAs (if I am ever able to buy a house, nobody's going to tell me I can't have a leopard-spotted front door), but this 2016 letter from the Los Feliz Oaks HOA rightly points out that even with then-new regulations on "party houses" - arguably the worst kind of short-term rental there is - enforcement was an issue.

One unfortunate Silverlake resident found himself surrounded by FIVE short-term rentals hosting "multiple large group parties, mixed family gatherings (during Covid-19), film shoots, and pornography film shoots. These events run day and night with intrusive noise, music, extreme lighting and truck and passenger bus traffic noise on a street that is a single 20 feet lane."

This would be bad enough, but the city ignored years of complaints instead of enforcing the STR ordinances.

Well, it's 2023 now, and Feuer's out. New City Attorney Hydee Feldstein-Soto is suing The Nightfall Group, notorious for short-term rentals of large high-end properties.

Feldstein-Soto stated “These party houses have deleterious and serious effects on the quality of life for our city...They disrupt communities, violate noise ordinances until the wee hours of the morning, clog evacuation routes, and take valuable housing off the market. I expect this is the first of the enforcement actions we will need to bring.”

LAPD has responded to more than 250 noise complaints at Hollywood-area Nightfall properties over a two-year period. That's two or three per week.

Here's a very telling tidbit from the article linked above:

"The suit mentions two residents of the Hollywood Hills Bird Streets enclave who said music from a Nightfall party was so loud, it made their house shake. When they tried to exit their home, their driveway and street were blocked by partygoer traffic."

Prolonged exposure to too-loud music isn't good for anyone's health, but blocking residential streets is straight-up dangerous.

In the event of a medical emergency - such as a resident having a heart attack from stress or a partygoer overdosing - car-blocked streets could easily lead to an avoidable tragedy.

If an especially ill-timed fire were to break out, it could have much deadlier consequences - especially in areas with winding, narrow roads and relatively few quick escape routes like the Bird Streets.

Oh, and I'm sure I don't need to point out this McGill University study on STRs in Los Angeles. TL;DR: nearly half are illegal, over 40 percent are from hosts with multiple properties, and STRs are contributing to inflated rents and homelessness.

And you'd think the city would WANT to enforce the STR ordinances; it's leaving anywhere from $56.8 to $302.2 MILLION in uncollected fines on the table.

I, for one, am hopeful that City Attorney Feldstein-Soto will indeed finally crack down on this nonsense. Homes are for living in, not for throwing wild parties (if you do want to throw a massive rager in LA, certain hotels are notorious for that).

C.C. de Vere

About C.C. de Vere

C.C. is a fourth-generation Angeleno and is horrified at what greed and hubris are doing to Los Angeles.

This website was built by her preservation pals at Esotouric.

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