Los Angeles Seeks Injunction Against LAX Car Rental App

The City of Los Angeles requested an injunction against Turo Inc. to stop them from “operating an unauthorized car rental business” at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). They filed the motion for an injunction against the company, Turo, and some of their “high volume hosts.” Turo is represented by Cooley and the City of Los Angeles is represented by Loeb & Loeb in addition to the city attorney’s office.

“Turo has built its business on trespass at LAX, and it has no basis to claim hardship if it is ordered to stop,” the motion claims, saying the business adds traffic to an already congested airport and has a “significant operational advantage” over other car rental companies operating at LAX. They claim although Turo is a peer-to-peer rental service, some high volume hosts have a large number of cars available and are car rental companies themselves, naming Eric Kwan who allegedly has 280 vehicles he rents around LAX and has made 32,000 car rentals through Turo since 2016.

Turo is a company that allows individuals to rent their cars to others who are vacationing or need a car in the area temporarily. It is often cheaper than car-rental services. The city claims the company is not following Los Angeles laws and the hosts are trespassing on LAX property, with the aid of Turo. The City of Los Angeles claims they only need to demonstrate the “balance of hardships tips in its favor,” not irreparable harm, to get the requested injunction and claims they are “likely to prevail.” A Superior Court Judge in Massachusetts recently concluded Turo hosts are trespassing at Logan Airport in Boston with aid from Turo.

“Turo and the High Volume Hosts are violating the Los Angeles Administrative Code and the Ground Transportation Rules and Regulations in effect at LAX. Those provisions forbid Turo and the High Volume Hosts from conducting commercial activity at LAX without authorization from the City, and Turo and the High Volume Hosts have neither sought nor received the City’s permission to operate their rental car business at LAX,” the motion for preliminary injunction states. They claim without an injunction the city will not be able to enforce the trespassing and there will be additional delays and congestion at the airport. 

The lawsuit began with Turo filing a complaint against the city after the city asked them to obtain an LAX rental car company permit. “This makes no sense as Turo is a software company and website operator, not a rental car company,” Turo states in the complaint. If registered, they would need to pay charges including 10 percent of each booking charged to Turo and its users for meeting at or near the LAX airport. The 10 percent fee and other charges for an LAX Turo rental would in most cases be much higher than the $4 per ride paid by Uber and Lyft for airport pick-ups. “This would be a pure revenue grab from local car owners that is totally unconnected to any benefit provided to, or service used by, Turo and its Users, or any supposed burden those Users cause by exchanging cars at or near LAX,” Turo claims.