Most people know Malibu has long been sought after as a destination to visit or to make one’s home with miles of beautiful sandy beaches and endless canyons and trails for exploring. Now, according to the home sharing website Airbnb, Malibu has been identified as one of its 15 “hotspot” cities to visit.
In a new report just released by Airbnb, Malibu as a destination for a family vacation is up in demand 186 percent in 2016, the last 12-month reporting period. The popular home rental site conducted an online survey among its family users by Harris Poll. Family travelers were defined as parents of children under 18 who have ever taken a family vacation. The survey found more than two in five (43 percent) say their family prefers to travel to a new destination every year, while 45 percent say they like a mix of both new and repeat destinations. The 15 top trending family destinations based on an increase in Airbnb guest arrivals in the past year include properties in Japan, Australia, Europe and in nearby Anaheim, among others.
The City of Malibu has certainly seen its Transient Occupancy Tax collections increase due to short-term home rentals. The latest available numbers show a jump of more than $300,000 from 2014-15 to 2015-16. However, it is not certain those numbers can be attributed to more responsible lessors reporting and paying taxes or an increase in private rentals overall.
City Manager Reva Feldman did not respond to requests to comment on the increase in revenue.
If you are going to rent your home through a website or on your own, be aware that you should be properly insured for short-term rental usage to avoid what one local agent called “a messy situation.”
The Malibu Times spoke with Farmers Insurance Group agent Bart Baker of B.W. Baker Insurance in Malibu to get information about short-term rentals here in town.
“It’s really important that the home owner speak to their agent regarding short-term rental of their property. Some carriers are okay with it, some not. Some require you place an endorsement on the policy,” Baker explained. “It’s a situation that’s evolving very quickly. For that reason, a conversation with your agent is warranted. We have this conversation a couple times a week with clients. You don’t want a surprise. It could potentially end up being an under insured or and uninsured situation depending on the carrier in the event of a claim with an Airbnb or other tenant.”
Short-term rental regulation is a hot topic around Malibu, where in October City Council discussed new ordinances to cut down on disruptive properties. Then-Council Member Joan House went so far as to say at that meeting, “The quality of life in our different neighborhoods is at stake. If we don’t act on it now it’s just a wave that’s going to come and submerge us.”
While many residents complain about loud tenants, parking issues and the disappearance of neighborhood unity, many more silent residents are stepping into the market.
Baker said popularity is increasing.
“We’ve seen a probably 30 percent increase in our clients that are renting out their homes,” Baker estimated. “Some people do it on their own. Malibu is a destination place. It’s practically a daily conversation.”
One former Malibu Airbnb host who didn’t want to be identified told The Malibu Times, “I started with Airbnb two years ago when I needed help to make ends meet. I had a two bedroom on the beach and I put one of my rooms up, so I shared my place with somebody.
“Everyone I rented to over the course of a summer time was fantastic,” they continued. “I had a great time with them. It was like a party every weekend with meeting new people from around the world ... All of them were polite and gracious because Airbnb actually polices itself by the reviews they post. So people act as if someone is looking over them — which they are. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a fantastic thing.”
Airbnb agrees. Asked why Malibu made the hot list, spokeswoman Jasmine Mora responded, “Many families travel to Malibu for the beautiful beaches and state parks and they want to explore the region through the eyes of a local. Malibu is a great destination site for family travelers — from mothers and fathers to children and grandparents.”