A Santa Monica homeowner has been placed on probation and ordered to pay fines under a plea agreement with the City Attorney’s Office for allegedly illegally operating his single-family home as a short-term vacation rental.

The Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office recently announced it has completed its first prosecution of a case involving the alleged illegal operation of a home at 804 Navy St. as a vacation rental.

Bruno Vavala, the then property owner, was suspected of operating the single-family home in a low-density residential area as a hotel for months by renting it to large numbers of vacationers for short-term stays, Deputy City Attorney Yibin Shen said.

Short-term rentals of homes are generally prohibited by the city’s zoning code, which, among other things, seeks to maintain and protect the existing character of residential neighborhoods, and prevent undue burdens on limited public facilities within those neighborhoods.

The city initiated this enforcement action after repeated complaints from neighbors of excessive noise, traffic, and safety concerns regarding the Navy Street home due to its use essentially as a hotel, Shen noted.

The city then commenced prosecution after Vavala allegedly refused to heed repeated warnings by the city’s Code Enforcement Officers.

Vavala pleaded “no contest” Aug. 2 to illegally using his residential property for an unpermitted use in violation of the Santa Monica Zoning Code, Shen said.

As part of a plea agreement, Vavala was put on probation and will pay fines, court costs and reimburse the city’s enforcement costs for a total of approximately $4,000, Shen said.

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