La Quinta council to consider changes to its vacation rental ordinance on Tuesday

The La Quinta City Council will be considering some changes to its short-term vacation rental ordinance when it meets today at City Hall.



a sign on a pole: La Quinta is a city in the eastern Coachella Valley.


© Jay Calderon/The Desert Sun
La Quinta is a city in the eastern Coachella Valley.

Staff is recommending some code amendments to streamline the permit process while also toughening the city’s enforcement efforts, Code Compliance Supervisor Kevin Meredith wrote in the report to the council.

Proposed changes to the current ordinance include:

  • Hosting platforms, such as Airbnb, must verify property listings have an active short-term vacation rental permit with city before booking rental transactions through their sites.
  • Short-term vacation rental permit renewal applications must be submitted no more than 60 and no later than 30 days before the permit expires; this would remove the current allowance for permits to be renewed up to 30 days after they expire.
  • The person(s) listed as the local contact person for the rental property must be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week with the ability to respond to the location within 45 minutes to address complaints.
  • Bedroom additions or conversions must be verified and approved by the by the city to ensure compliance with city codes; the short-term vacation rental permit will be reissued to reflect the approved number of bedrooms allowed; a permit will not be renewed if a short-term vacation rental host advertises the number of bedrooms inaccurately.
  • Short-term vacation rental permit applications for properties within homeowners associations must submit a letter from the HOA stating that STVRs are allowed in the community; permits will not be issued for communities that do not allow the short-term rentals.
  • The city must be notified immediately upon a short-term vacation rental property ownership change, which will terminate the existing permit. The new owner will have to apply for a new short-term vacation rental permit, if that will be the continued use for the property.

La Quinta, like other cities in the Coachella Valley and elsewhere, is seeing an increase in short-term rentals — which brought a 267% rise in complaints from neighboring residents from May through July —  prompting the City Council to approve a moratorium on any new permits.

The moratorium is in place until Feb. 2 to allow an ad-hoc committee of residents and property owners and managers on both sides of the issue to study the problems and draft some recommended solutions. The committee is continuing to work on those solutions, but in October presented suggestions during a study session with the council that include stiffer penalties and fines, a two-strike rule and required workshop for potential short-term vacation owners.

The committee is expected to present a full report with recommendations to the council on Dec. 15.

La Quinta currently has 1,295 permitted short-term vacation rentals. While the moratorium is in place, current short-term property owners can renew their permits, if their properties are in good standing.

Council members have said they would like to find a balance between the short-term vacation rentals, which last year brought just under $2.9 million to the city transient occupancy tax revenues, and full-time residents who say the rentals disrupt their quality of life.

“The list of problems experienced by residents has been chronicled repeatedly: noise, trash, traffic, insults and harassment. Each one of these incidents is a cut to one of the threads in our community,” resident Arlene Gotshalk told the City Council on Nov. 17.

Restrictions in other valley cities

La Quinta is not the only Coachella Valley city trying to reign in problem short-term vacation rentals.

The Rancho Mirage City Council on Nov. 5 adopted a ban on short-term rentals not located within neighborhoods where allowed by HOAs. That ban, affecting 121 short-term rentals, goes into effect Dec. 31. On Thursday, the council will consider a fee increase for short-term rental permits within HOAs.

On Nov. 19, Palm Desert extended its ban on short-term rentals within single-family residential neighborhoods to include homes in planned residential zoning districts where not allowed by HOAs, effective Dec. 31, 2021.

The La Quinta City Council meets in open session starting at 4 p.m. at City Hall. The public can comment on the issue, by attending the meeting in person or submitting a request to speak by phone or submit a written comment by emailing [email protected] by 3 p.m.

The meeting can be viewed live at laquinta.12milesout.com.

This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: La Quinta council to consider changes to its vacation rental ordinance on Tuesday

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