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Malibu Cracks Down On Short-Term Rentals, Subpoenas Companies For Records

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MALIBU (CBSLA.com) — Malibu is cracking down on short-term rentals amid the surging popularity of websites like Airbnb and VRBO.

Malibu City Council members discussed tightening enforcement on an occupancy tax similar to those required of hotels, something Mayor Skylar Peak calls a matter of fairness, at Monday night’s meeting.

Speaking to KCAL9’s Dave Bryan, Peak said he intends to make sure the tax is more strictly enforced.

“Our city has subpoenaed those companies to get their information to educate and collect the tax from people that not been paying it,” he said. “It’s a fair tax to collect. There’s many other cities that do collect it, our city included. And we’re going to go ahead and get everybody to come in compliance with that.”

City officials say executives from the companies are discussing with them how best to provide rental records pertaining to the occupancy tax, which Peak says is necessary because the rental units require city services.

“One of the reasons for the tax was the added things that the city has to deal with in regards to noise and different fire and sheriff calls, traffic mitigation and those kinds of things,” Peak said.

Some Malibu residents say the short-term rentals are sometimes used for weekend party houses in quiet neighborhoods, destroying the tranquility and forcing residents to call in police.

The news was welcome to homeowners Alan and Diana Armstrong, who live next door to a property they rent through VRBO.

The Armstrongs say they run their rental unit like a business, and urge other renters to be respectful of their community.

“We are registered and we pay the taxes. We pass them on to the tenant, and the tenant reluctantly pays them, but they do pay them,” Diana Armstrong said.

She hopes a few irresponsible renters don’t spoil it for everyone.

“Please: register, pay your taxes, make sure the business stays viable for all of us and doesn’t get shut down. And pay attention to your homes so that they don’t become an imposition in the neighborhood and don’t kill the goose that lays the golden egg,” she said.

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