Tag: Quinta

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

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La Quinta short-term vacation rentals: Stiffer penalties, fines proposed

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La Quinta is a city in the eastern Coachella Valley. (Photo: Jay Calderon/The Desert Sun)

Stiffer fines and penalties, including a two-strikes rule, plus a required workshop for prospective vacation rental owners are among recommendations for changes to the city’s ordinance an ad-hoc committee is proposing to help address some short-term vacation rental problems in La Quinta.

City officials are studying ways to address and reduce complaints that have led to a moratorium on all new permits in La Quinta. 

The city currently has 1,290 permitted short-term vacation rentals. The moratorium is in effect until Feb. 2 but could be lifted earlier if an amended ordinance is adopted.

“We’ve had short-term rentals since 2008,” Mayor Pro Tem John Peña said, and when problems have come up, the city has addressed them by amending the ordinance.

But COVID-19 brought an increase in short-term vacation rentals when hotels and resorts were closed and people found them to be a safe way to get away amid the pandemic.

“This is the first year we’ve had the kinds of problems that we’ve had and it’s because of the pandemic. People are working from home, kids … can go to school from wherever they’re located as long as they have internet,” Pena said.

In August, the city issued a 90-day moratorium on all new permits after seeing a 267% increase in noise and other complaints over a three-month period, to give its ad-hoc committee time to zero in on the problems and recommend solutions. The council extended the moratorium to Feb. 2 earlier this month, with the hope it can be lifted sooner.

“We are trying to get to the core issue … and solve it,” Councilmember Robert Radi said.

La Quinta is not the only city in the Coachella Valley trying to address increased numbers of short-term vacation rentals and complaints since COVID-19 hit.

Cathedral City wants to phase them out all together by 2023.

Palm Desert, which already has a ban on short-term vacation rentals in single-family residential neighborhoods zoned R-1 and R-2 recently issued a moratorium on permits in areas zoned planned residential, except where allowed by the HOAs.

Rancho Mirage is in the process of eliminating short-term vacation rentals in all but private neighborhoods where they are allowed by the homeowners’ associations.

Palm Springs has also seen an uptick in complaints and citations issued, but currently has no plans to change its ordinance.

More applications, more complaints

La Quinta has received 93 new short-term vacation rental permits from April through June, with 16 more filed and waiting to be processed the day the moratorium was issued, officials said.

The city’s code compliance team reported 310 new cases of possible violations were opened as well, from April through June – a 267% increase over the 67 filed from January through March – all stemming from calls to a city hotline, staff said.

Nine permits were suspended in response to the complaints, officials said.

More than 90% of the complaints

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