The City’s newly formed Vacation Rental Enforcement Task Force has scored a major win against a Los Angeles-based vacation rental operator.

Early last year the Task Force began investigating Globe Homes for operating illegal vacation rentals in Santa Monica. City code only allows homeowners to share homes in which they reside and prohibits turning a house or apartment into a vacation rental.

Salvador Valles, Assistant Director of Planning and Community Development, said Globe’s actions were in direct violation of the city’s rules.

“They were doing a variety of things, so they were both facilitating – they would be similar to an Airbnb – but they were also renting units on their own.”

Instead of coming into compliance, Globe tried to deceive Task Force investigators.

“They were evasive and not cooperative and worked very hard to avoid complying with our law,” said Valles. “We made many efforts to educate them about the law and help them understand what their activities meant and they chose to ignore that.”

On March 6, 2017, the Court issued its judgment, affirmed 35 out of the 36 charged violations.

Valles said the ruling validates Santa Monica’s approach and is a sign local agencies can withstand the pushback from large companies over vacation rental rules.

“Our law provides for true home-sharing of a person’s home, however, the proliferation of vacation rentals, operated within residential dwellings like a hotel, do substantial harm to this housing diversity,” said Valles said. “Long term rent-controlled tenants can be displaced and we lose the integrity of our neighborhoods.”

Globe is a vacation rental management company that helps homeowners convert their property into rentals in Southern California and New York. Their agents manage logistics and maintenance, evaluate homes and provide damage waivers. During peak season, there is a five-night minimum stay for guests.

A representative from Globe could not be reached for comment on this story. They have filed an appeal in the case.

Santa Monica is not currently listed as a destination on Globe’s booking website. In 2015, Santa Monica passed the current ordinance in order to preserve the current stock of housing for long-term renters. Soon after, the City created a task force to track down illegal vacation rentals and shut them down.

“In a community where 70 percent of residents are renters, it’s important to maintain our housing for permanent residents while also preserving the rich character of our neighborhoods,” Mayor Ted Winterer said in a statement to the Daily Press. “This action against Globe does just this while also demonstrating that we are very serious about enforcing our home sharing ordinance.”

kate@smdp.com

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