City Council Takes Steps Towards Tighter B and B Rules

Written by on December 4, 2019

Malibu has a B and B ordinance … almost.


“This is the moment where we define our city moving forward.”

Malibu city council member Mikke Pierson … last night … just before the city council approved a stringent set of limits on the overnight rental of houses and apartments.

By a 5 to nothing vote … the city council approved restricting the B and B type rentals … similar to the ordiannce that exists in Santa Monica…

But the city council is taking th slow but sure route … and it rejected the quick and dirty alternative of slapping an immediate ban on Malibu landlords.

Rather … the city will amend its Local Coastal Prigram … which means takign the ordinance to the Coastal Commission for approval.

That commission has already approved an identical ordiannce in Santa Monica … and the assumption is it will O-K the malibu version also.

Some Malibu residents have argued strenuously that renting out one’s house like a motel room is illegal under the city’s zoning codes.

testifying last night … Graham Clifford.


“I believe even right now … all the S T Rs are operating illegally anyway.

“We could actually make more money fining them … than taking in their tax.”

Other residents said they are good neighbors … and no one knows that they are operating short term rental operations right next door.

Andrew Gombiner criticized the ban on short term rentals during winter months … unless a host is present.

He testified that the loss of tax revenue will hurt.


“The independent study performed by Raftellis points out that a partial ban will result int he elimination of the city’s reserves in just 10 years.

“And the study did not even consider the loss of sales tax reveues generated by the visitors who stay at short term rentals.”

But others said … the tax flow doesn’t matter.

Bruce Silverstein.


“It doesn’t matter.

“If brothels are not permitted in malibu …you can’t consider how much money they bring into the city in deciding whether to enforce the law against them.

“And I don’t think you would allow offshore drilling just because it would make money for the city.”

Adopting an immediate ban on short term rentals would not work … according to the city’s lawyer … Trevor Russin.


“Right now we can’t stop people from renting on a short term basis.

“If we walk into court and say ‘you know our code only allows listed uses.’

“And they’re going to say ‘well … this is the same as a long term use … and it’s been allowed … and and you’ve taken my registration.’ 

“We’re going to lose that case in court.”

So the answer … the city council decided … is to give short term rental owners a grace period… to find long term tenants or make other financial arrangements.

The city’s lawyer says he would not be surprised by a lawsuit challenging the change in city policy … from a landlord.


“Someone can always allege a taking … but in this case we are moving to give people plenty of notice that the change is coming.

“They still have other uses that they can make of the property.

“You’re not entitled to permanently zoning … having a certain type of zoning or use in the city.”

Assistant city attorney Trevor Russin.

So what’s the bottom line here???

The city Council has just voted five to nothing to start the process of drafting an amendment to the local coastal plan.

The idea … require on-site hosts to be present in most year-round rentals.

Unattended rentals can happen only during half the year … and guests must meet a behavior code.

Three strikes and the home is off the list.

The new S T R ordinance will have to be drafted by city staff … scrutinized by the planning commission … passed by the city council … reviewed by the coastal commission staff … and possibly voted on by the coastal commission.

The Malibu ordinance is envisioned as being nearly identical to the Santa Monica ordinance … which has already passed scrutiny int he courts and before the Coastal Commission.

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