Residents who wish to report a problem with a short-term rental are encouraged to call the City’s Code Compliance Department during business hours at 760-346-0611 or call the Short-Term Rental Hotline at 760-862-6900.
After studying the impacts of Short-Term Rentals (STRs) within the City of Palm Desert, on December 14, 2017, the City Council approved amendments to the existing STR Ordinance. The amendments focused on enforcement, communication between owners and neighbors, operational standards, and zoning requirements. Below is a summary.
The goal was to increase its enforcement efforts by proposing to increase the fines for any type of violation. The fines will extend to the operator, occupant, and owner. The existing ordinance had fines in the amounts of $250, $500, and $1,000. The new fines are as follows.
• First citation is $1,000.
• Second citation for the same offense within a 12-month period of the date of the first offense is $3,000.
• Third citation within a 12-month period of the date of the first offense is $5,000 and an immediate revocation of the STR permit for a period of two years.
The amendments also included a fine for violators who are operating an STR without a valid permit up to $5,000 for the first citation and each additional citation. The City has the right to refuse the issuance of any new or renewed STR permit for the cited property and/or to the cited owner and/or operator anywhere else within the City.
Additionally, the City has a contract with a swing shift Code Compliance Officer who works Thursday through Sunday from 4:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. This officer can respond promptly and assess the reported violation.
Operational and Communication Requirements
Prior to occupancy of an STR unit, the operator must comply with the following:
• Meet and greet the renter on-site and obtain his or her name, address, and a copy of a valid government-issued identification.
• Provide the renter with a copy of the Good Neighbor Brochure.
• Provide the renter with information about the STR regulations.
• Require the renter to execute a formal acknowledgment in the form acceptable by the City that he or she is legally responsible for compliance of all occupants of the STR unit and their guests, with all applicable laws, rules and regulations pertaining to the use and occupancy of the STR unit. Provide the Responsible Person with the Operator’s 24-hour availability information.
The new ordinance prohibits new STRs within the R-1 and R-2 zones. All existing permitted STRs within the R-1 and R-2 zones have until December 31, 2019, to operate. After that date, all STRs will be prohibited within those zones. The City of Palm Desert is currently developing a process to consider requests for extensions under Municipal Code Section 5.10.070, which provides for STR permit renewals past the December 31, 2019 termination date, if necessary, to avoid an unconstitutional tasking. When the guidelines become available, a copy will be provided.
On January 16, 2018, the above amendments along with the rest of Ordinance No. 1332 went into effect.
The City’s new short-term rental ordinance is a compromise that attempts to balance the interests of stakeholders on both sides of this important topic and preserve the qualities that make Palm Desert desirable to residents and visitors alike.
One of the lessons learned during the year-long process of developing and approving the ordinance was that the City’s enforcement of noise, parking, and other vacation rental-related violations has been inadequate.
To address this, the City has created a new Short-Term Rental Hotline – 760-862-6900. Residents, business owners, and visitors are encouraged to call the hotline anytime, day or night, that they experience a problem with a vacation rental. To support the new hotline, the City has hired an additional Code Compliance Officer and expanded patrol hours.
The City recognizes that despite the new ordinance, short-term rentals will continue to impact our community in ways both good and bad. We are committed to doing what we can to reduce negative impacts while respecting the rights of home and property owners and preserving the neighborhoods that help make up the fabric of our community.
For more information about what the City is doing to regulate short-term rentals, please call the Community Development Department at 760-346-0611, ext. 483. To report a problem with a short-term rental, please call the new hotline – 760-862-6900.