When people experiencing homelessness take shelter on hillsides, it presents a very sensitive public safety issue. While these individuals should not be criminalized for conditions of poverty or mental illness that can lead to homelessness, illegal warming or cooking fires cannot be allowed as they endanger the individual and our community. With more than 21 miles of hillside to monitor in Malibu, everyone must play a part in reducing the threat.
If you see an encampment fire in the brush, always call 911 immediately. The Sheriff’s Department can cite individuals for starting illegal warming or cooking fires, and the Fire Department will extinguish the fire. If a homeless individual has been arrested or cited for any offense, Sheriff’s Deputies cannot prevent them from returning to Malibu once released from the court system.
Encampments on private property should be reported to the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station at 310-456-6652 or 818-878-1808. If you report an encampment on your property, Sheriff’s Deputies can cite them for trespassing and remove the individual(s). If you are reporting an encampment on someone else’s property, the Sheriff’s Department can identify the property owner, check for a Letter of Agency on file, and/or contact the property owner to see if they want them removed. Sheriff's Deputies cannot remove a homeless individual camping on private property if the property owner is not interested in having them removed unless the individual is causing a disturbance or committing a crime.
Property owners may file a Letter of Agency, which permits the Sheriff's Department to remove trespassers from their private property. If your property is vacant or you do not live on your property full-time, the Letter of Agency empowers Deputies to remove trespassers when they are reported by someone else and Deputies are unable to contact you. For business owners, clearly posted “No Trespassing” signs also facilitate the timely removal of trespassing individuals.
Another way to remove encampments from private property is through the Malibu Municipal Code (MMC) Section 8.28 (Nuisance Abatement). The City of Malibu defines a nuisance as any condition of property that is injurious or potentially injurious to the public health, safety, or welfare of the community, as well as adjacent properties. Any accumulation or storage of trash, biohazards (including human waste), or articles of personal property on undeveloped or vacant land that creates, or creates the conditions for, a fire or safety hazard to nearby persons or properties, is a public health hazard and is therefore prohibited.