Palm Springs is a House Divided on Vacation Rentals (Part 1)

Palm Springs is a House Divided on Vacation Rentals (Part 1)

Lauren Day Connect

There are nearly two-thousand registered vacation rentals in the City of Palm Springs. If you own one of them, you know it can be a good source of income. But if you live next to one, it can be a living nightmare.

Palm Springs, it’s a renowned destination city, hosting tourists from all over the world. Palm Springs tourist Paddy Hannon says, “we’ve come out every month for the last year or so.”

Erich Redder rents out his home to some of those tourists. “I think that I’m like so many other people here who do a great job at being hosts. We love what we do,” he says.

But not everyone loves living next to a vacation rental. Palm Springs resident Rich Fearns says, “I don’t have a sense of security, don’t have a sense of belonging, don’t have a sense of neighborhood.”

Fearns says when he bought his home in 2004, these was a sense of community, “my neighborhood has essentially been converted to a hotel district.”

Fellow resident Mike Garibaldi-Frick says, “we’ve had lots of nights where we can’t sleep and we’ve been woken up in the middle of the night.”

“I don’t think people realize how disrupting it is until they have one next door,” says Garibaldi-Frick.

But Redder says those were problems in the old days. It all changed with the vacation rental ordinance was adopted last year.

“You have to have the right safety regulations in the house, you have to ensure that you meet every guest when they check in. I think that ordinance is really working. It’s great,” he says.

Some, however, don’t quite agree. “You’re already disturbed, so why? It’s not working because it’s not preventing neighbors and residents from being disturbed. So the initial disturbance is already happening,” says Garibaldi-Frick.

But the vacation rental hotline data shows the number of qualified calls for the first 3-months of 2018 were down 35%, compared to before the ordinance went into place.

Noise is the largest violation and nine properties have had their permits revoked. “We will respond to every call, we will dispatch the officer that’s on duty,” says Vacation Rental Compliance Official Suzanne Severin.

“Statistically speaking, 1 out of 5 calls, we find a violation and we issue an administrative citation. And when we go out there we look for parking, for people playing music, and we also look for the type of complaint that was filed,” says fellow Vacation Rental Compliance Official Boris Stark.

OK, so complaints are down, but they still exist. And if you live in one of those neighborhoods, it’s not the Palm Springs paradise you envisioned.

“We have 7 houses now in our neighborhood that are short term vacation rentals in our small little neighborhood and everyone is on edge,” says Garibaldi-Frick.

Fearns adds on, “I don’t know my neighbors anymore. I don’t have any neighbors.”

But those who rent out their homes see it another way. “So I’ve been able to recoup the costs of over $200,000 in renovations. So buying the worst house on a really great street, I think that’s done nothing but benefit my neighborhood,” says Redder.

It’s not just neighborhoods that are divided. The city, business owners, and the entire Coachella Valley could face some big financial challenges if Measure C passes.

For Part Two of the story, tune into KMIR News Wednesday Night (5/9) at 6pm.