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.
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