California Coastal Commission staff believe Malibu’s proposed vacation rental rules “would unduly restrict the rental of residential units to visitors and diminish the public’s ability to access and recreate on the coast” and, as such, they are formally recommending commissioners deny a new land use plan amendment that would dramatically restrict short-term rentals (STRs). The amendment is up for a vote at the upcoming Coastal Commission meeting in Calabasas later this week.

Malibu’s proposed STR amendment is modeled after Santa Monica’s “home-sharing ordinance,” which has been in place for seven years. That rule allows bedroom rentals in occupied homes, but prohibits property owners from renting out entire private homes for periods less than 30 days if they are not living on site during that time. 

But, whereas Santa Monica is host to more than 3,000 hotel rooms (based on a 2017 survey), Malibu offers less than five percent of that — about 130 hotel rooms citywide. That is the basis for Coastal Commission staff’s recommendation to deny Malibu’s version of the home-sharing ordinance.

“Despite being a significant visitor-serving destination, Malibu’s lodging options are significantly limited compared to similar coastal towns in California. While there are several hotels and motels in cities surrounding Malibu, the approximate 21 miles of Malibu coastline is only serviced by approximately 130 hotel rooms, 142 RV sites, 35 tent sites, and the City’s existing short-term rental stock,” a staff report for the item describes. “According to the City, approximately 414 properties remitted transient occupancy taxes for STRs in 2018 (which is the most current tax data provided by the City). As of June 15, 2021, which is the most current data provided by the City, the City has approved 202 STR permits … Of the approved 202 STR permits, 71 multifamily units and 173 single-family units have been approved for use as STRs. Thus, most Malibu STR-approved permits are for single-family residences by a wide margin.”

From Wednesday through Friday, Aug. 10-12, the 12-member statewide commission will meet in Calabasas with the Friday agenda including Malibu’s proposed LCP amendment placing limitations on short-term rentals in the coastal city. Nearly all of Malibu is located within the Coastal Zone, meaning the Coastal Commission has ultimate jurisdiction over land use policies and development in the 21-mile-long city.

At present, Malibu is operating under an interim ordinance that limits STRs through a permit system; the proposed new rules, referred to as a “hosted ordinance,” require an onsite host present on the property for the duration of each rental period, for a single-family home, condominium or duplex. Different rules apply to multifamily rental properties.

For its part, Malibu argues that the proliferation of STRs disrupts neighborhoods and removes “some of the most affordable housing options in the City.” Some have argued the popularity of STRs can account for part of the reason Malibu has seen decreasing school enrollment over the past several years. Following the Woolsey Fire, which burned nearly 500 single-family homes in Malibu, further depleting the already tight housing stock, calls to limit such rentals increased.

The California Coastal Commission meeting takes place in person at King Gillette Ranch, 26800 Mulholland Hwy, Calabasas, with the hearing set for Friday, Aug. 12. The meeting will also be live streamed at coastal.ca.gov. 

emily@smdp.com