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Malibu City Council Considers Outright Ban on Short Term Rentals

City Hall was packed on Wednesday March 26th, with people on both sides of the Short Term Rental saga.

Residents secured their time slots for public comment, over two hours worth, making sure their voices were heard by a very attentive City Council.

The pro preservation majority, Mayor Rick Mullen, council members Skylar Peak and Jefferson Wagner stood strong supporting Malibu’s Mission and Vision statement, and agreed on an outright ban on Short Term Rentals, adhering to the guidance given to  by our founding members in Council Policy #15 and the rules of the City Charter.

Council’s next step is to discuss the legal ramifications with City Attorney Hogin, who has been successful in defending bans in other coastal cities, before finally deciding the ban should go into full effect for the City of Malibu.

Previously, the STR ordinance, which has been on Council’s agenda former than two years, went through a fine tooth comb at the Malibu City Council meeting on July 9th, addressing many issues and many hours of deliberation. The current draft of the revised ordinance did not resemble Council’s instructions from the July 9th meeting and was rejected by the pro preservation majority.

The ordinance was pushed to September in order to incorporate the revisions as instructed by Council to Planning staff, who failed to do so, instead putting forth a draft that grandfathered in the existing STRs and other “Airbnb “fixes” as local advocate Michael Lustig referred to in his message to City Council before the Sept. 26th meeting. The result of the Planning staff’s inability to listen to council’s direction, was the majority deciding to move toward a complete ban on STRs.

If the suggested regulations were put in the ordinance as directed by Council to Staff at the July 9th meeting, the ordinance would have likely passed and gone into effect in March 2019.

According to Airdna, LLC as of May 2018, there are 585 active rentals in Malibu, with 86% of those being the entire home. Most do not have on site hosts which has resulted in behaviors by occupants such as late night parties and other activities, not to mention a high turnover in a residential neighborhood, leading to a loss of quality of life by permanent residents.

Council members Lou La Monte and Laura Rosenthal continued to represent the contingency of residents against an outright ban or strict restrictions on Short term Rentals.

The proposed ban would be a win for the community who has been overtaken by Short Term Rentals. Our neighborhoods can go back to being real neighborhoods, filled with families and children, instead of commercial zones disguised as neighborhoods filled with tourists.

As a result of impending regulations such as costly septic inspections and the host required to be on site – if not a possible ban altogether, has seen owners of multiple properties in Malibu actively engaged in preparing to sell their properties or turn them into long term rentals.

The effect of Council’s decision is preempting an increase of inventory already hitting the market in properties for sale and for rent.