The popular lodging website Airbnb said Monday that it would begin to charge Malibu's 12% hotel tax on April 20 on behalf of residents in the coastal city who turn over their homes to visitors for short-term stays.
Malibu joins San Francisco, Chicago, Washington and other cities where Airbnb, a "sharing economy" pioneer, has negotiated deals to counter criticism that it has dodged taxes to get an edge on traditional hotels, inns and B&Bs.
Los Angeles is wrestling with how to regulate Airbnb. Housing activists say the phenomenon of offering apartments and houses as short-term rentals has reduced the supply of affordable housing. Such rentals are banned in large areas of the city, but enforcement has been lax.
Last year, Malibu's City Council authorized officials to issue subpoenas to websites that advertised short-term leases for Airbnb, Vacation Rentals by Owner and other entities. Councilwoman Laura Rosenthal said at the time that "some neighborhoods … have turned into hotel zones." Rosenthal has registered her house with the city and occasionally rents it out.
The subpoena threat prompted Airbnb to begin negotiations on the hotel taxes, said Reva Feldman, assistant city manager. In 2015, she said, Malibu anticipates collecting about $450,000 in transient occupancy taxes from residents who have registered dwellings for short-term rentals with the city.
Malibu Mayor John Sibert said the city welcomed Airbnb's decision to collect and remit taxes.
By collecting taxes, he added, Airbnb would contribute toward the cost of services such as fire and police and the costs of maintaining roads and clean water projects.
For information about Malibu's hotel or occupancy taxes, see the city's website.