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Malibu vacation rentals will need city permits starting January 15

  • Jan 12, 2021 | Jennifer Sokolowsky

Malibu, California

A new short-term rental law in Malibu, California, goes into effect on January 15. The new ordinance, passed in September 2020, requires short-term rentals to obtain a permit from the city and to include the permit number in any advertising. Vacation rentals that advertise or operate without a permit can face fines of $1,000 per day, or double the property’s daily rental rate, whichever is higher.

City officials are encouraging short-term rental hosts to apply for permits soon because they can take up to 30 days to review.

Short-term rental operators must notify their homeowners associations when they’re applying for a short-term rental permit, and homeowners associations have the power to prohibit vacation rentals within their areas. Hosts are also required to install safety equipment, such as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, in their properties and observe rules on occupancy limits and guest “nuisance activities.”

Vacation rental operators must also designate an agent who can be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in case of problems.

Short-term rentals will be prohibited in Malibu as of January 1, 2023, unless operators have already received a short-term rental permit or have a compliance agreement with the city.

Hosts are also required to collect the city’s transient occupancy tax (TOT) from guests and file quarterly TOT returns with the city. In November 2020, Malibu voters increased the TOT rate from 12% to 15%.

While Airbnb automatically collects TOT on behalf of its hosts in Malibu, Vrbo does not. MyLodgeTax can help automate and simplify tax compliance for California short-term rental hosts.

Malibu also passed a law in November allowing hosted short-term rentals in the city, but the regulations will not go into effect until they’re approved by the California Coastal Commission, because they affect the city’s Local Coastal Program.

Under that measure, hosted short-term rentals are defined as short-term stays during which the host lives on the rental property. Operators may only offer hosted stays at their primary residence, meaning they’ve lived at that residence for at least 185 days the prior year. The law allows some short-term rentals in multifamily buildings.

This ordinance also requires short-term rental platforms such as Airbnb and Vrbo to collect TOT on behalf of their hosts and offer identifying data on their listings to the city to help with enforcement.

For more on lodging taxes in California, see our state Vacation Rental Tax Guide. If you have tax questions related to vacation rental properties, drop us a line and we’ll get back to you with answers.

Lodging tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Avalara Author
Jennifer Sokolowsky
Avalara Author Jennifer Sokolowsky
Jennifer Sokolowsky writes about tax, legal, and tech topics. She has an extensive international background in journalism and marketing, including work with The Seattle Times, The Prague Post, Avvo, and Marriott.
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