Planning Commission Recommends Stringent Fines For Onite Rental Violators, Doesn’t Remove Requiring On-premise Hosts

Written by on July 30, 2020

Malibu’s planning commission has sent the short term rental ordinance up to the city council … after putting some additional teeth in it.

The commission is recommending that landowners be given two verified nuisance complaints … before yanking the permit for overnight rentals.

But the biggest change proposed by the Planning Commission would be a legal strategy suggestion made to the city council:  don’t take this to the Coastal Commission.

Their stated logic: the current Coastal Commission rules for Malibu – the LCP – do not mention short term rentals … so that means nothing in the Local Coastal Program needs to be changed.

And the Coastal Commission does not get to make decrees on Malibu’s general codes …

In other words … do not poke a sleeping bear with a sharp stick.

But … the Coastal Commission staff has just indicated it is not unhappy with the proposed Malibu ordinance.

A letter arrived at City Hall from the Coastal Commission yesterday …

In it .. a coastal commission staffer actually made some helpful edits to tighten up the city’s proposed code language.

City staff said they would review the commission staff’s helpful hints.

Last night … there was a lot of discussion on what to do about overnight rental houses that turn into party houses..

Complaints about public urination and other drunken loutish behavior.

Commissioners grappled with the issue … how do you tie the performance of rental guests to a specific house.

Commissioner David Weil:


“This is the only way concretely that we have of making the host-owner whoever it is look out for the kind of people he rents to..

“I mean if he (the renter) writes a bad check should he (the owner) be responsible for that??  Well, obviously not.

“But if does things while he is short term renting the property … causing a disturbance to the neighborhood … I don’t mind at all … holding the owner responsible for that.”

But the commission decided -not- to recommend any changes on the controversial matter of hosts.

Does a resident manager have to be on site inside most residential units that are rented out overnight??
The current draft of the ordinance says yes.

About a half dozen homeowners spoke last night.

Their common complaint … requiring an on-site host to be present at vacation rentals is not fair.

Many said they rely on guests to cover their kids college costs … the mortgage and taxes.

And it is impossible for them to be at their houses when they are out of town on vacation.

Planning commissioners said they realize … those homeowners may not be able to rent out their property for vacation rentals anymore.

The Commission recommended that the city council put more teeth into the proposed ordinance … by instituting thousand dollar a day fines or twice the daily rent … whichever is greater … on the second offense for a major violation.

Commissioners said waiting for three violations … before implementing the big fines … is not tough enough.

The commissioners recommended adding a clause: allowing a short term rental permit does not also authorize some other use … like a wedding or film shoot.

Those types of events need different types of permits … and those are limited to four per year per property.

And the Planning Commission recommended that the city policy that does not allow anonymous complaints be waived …

They recommend that Malibu residents be allowed to make anonymous complaints about bad neighboring rental houses.

Under a controversial city policy … the city will not accept a complaint about a zoning matter unless there is a name attached.

And those complaints are public records …

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