Nearly 200 homeowners received citations in the city of Palm Springs in the crackdown on violations of the city’s vacation rental ordinance. But are other desert cities doing the same?
There is no doubt about it. Vacation rentals is a hot button issue throughout the desert. Palm Springs is ground zero for the debate and it may be why the city has the highest number of citations issued for short term vacation rentals.
"It’s an issue that hits people very close to home. Literally," said Ryan Stendell, director of community development for the city of Palm Desert.
Whether you’re in Palm Springs, Palm Desert or Cathedral City, there are two sides to the argument.
"I think it’s good. It’s good for the desert, that we promote visitors to come here. It’s good for the economy. We need them," said Palm Desert resident Lucrezia Landes.
"Some of the other areas where there just no control, it becomes party central. Some people who are permanent residents, next thing you know they have a party residence next door," said Sun City resident Malcom Porter.
According to figures released Monday, of the 2,100 short term vacation rentals in Palm Springs, 185 of them have received a citation since the beginning of the year. Eight have been suspended and six are in the process of being permanently revoked.
"People just going in their for party usage some of these houses. I think there are some out by where I live that basically just what they are. They’re their for parties. Especially during Coachella and Stagecoach," said Porter.
Palm Desert has 1,200 short term vacation rentals. Only 26 of them have received citations and no suspensions have been issued. To address the growing concern over vacation rentals the Palm Desert city council implemented a 12 month moratorium.
"The increase in those complaints, in what was going on around California really, made us just take a quick look at it and say we need to hit the pause button. Lets take a time out," said Stendell.
Cathedral City has 254 vacation rentals. The fewest of the three cities mentioned. No citations or suspensions have been issued in Cathedral City at all.
Due to the high number of vacation rentals in Palm Springs and the fact the city has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to violations, it’s no surprise the city has the highest number of citations, suspensions and permit revocations. Palm Desert and Cathedral City have fewer rentals which explains why their numbers are proportional. Those cities are also slightly more flexible. Complaints are worked out with rental owners and their management company before going to the city.
In Palm Springs, stakeholders will have a chance to share their input on the new ordinance and hear an update from the Vacation Rental Compliance Department on June 20th at the convention center.