SANTA MONICA—On Thursday, March 30, the city of Santa Monica revealed its victory in a year-long enforcement case against Globe Homes LLC (Globe), a Los Angeles-based vacation rental operator that helps homeowners convert their properties into rentals and find vacation tenants.
The decision was made in Los Angeles Superior Court on March 6, affirming 35 of the 36 violations the city filed against Globe in relation to its operation of illegal vacation rentals. The company fought against the Santa Monica’s evidence in administrative court and won one judgment in its favor.
The case was investigated by Santa Monica’s Vacation Rental Enforcement Task Force, a unit of the Code Enforcement Division trained to target illegal vacation rental companies in the city, according to a press release. The Task Force began working with Globe in early 2016, after noting the company’s purchase of units to convert to vacation rental properties. Task Force investigators attempted to educate Globe about the city ordinance passed in May 2015, which prohibits the rental of a dwelling unit for 30 consecutive days or less, a practice known as exclusive transient occupancy. Instead of cooperating, Globe continued to deceive officials and operate illegal vacation rentals within units meant for permanent residential occupancy.
“In a community where 70 percent of residents are renters, it’s important to maintain our housing for permanent residents while also preserving the rich character of our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Ted Winterer in a statement. “This action against Globe does just this while also demonstrating that we are very serious about enforcing our home sharing ordinance.”
The case went to trial in December 2016, after investigators tracked Globe’s activity and confirmed multiple vacation rental violations. The violations included failure to pay a transient occupancy tax, failure to obtain a business license, and renting out permanent residential dwellings for transient use, among others. According to the Santa Monica Lookout, most of the rental properties that were violating city laws were apartments and condominiums, or multifamily rental units.
Unlike the San Francisco-based Airbnb, a hospitality service that enables people to share their homes with short-term lodgers, Globe offers leasing, management, and maintenance services for their guests.
“Illegal corporate vacation rental operators run counter to the City’s longstanding prohibition against vacation rentals and the true spirit of sharing one’s home to earn extra income, which a person may do legally in Santa Monica,” said Salvador Valles, Assistant Director of Planning and Community Development, in the statement. “Our law provides for true home-sharing of a person’s home, however, the proliferation of vacation rentals, operated within residential dwellings like a hotel, do substantial harm to this housing diversity. Long term rent-controlled tenants can be displaced and we lose the integrity of our neighborhoods.”
To report an illegal vacation rental business, contact the Task Force at (310) 458-4984.