Letter to the Editor: July 8
Vacation ordinance done right
Tony Bagato, the principal planner in the City of Palm Desert has figured out the ideal plan for a vacation rental ordinance. He realized that nuisances are nuisances, that they should be dealt with as such. Increasing fees and putting an extreme permit issuance process in place forces rentals underground. Here are his bullet points:
The issue: The community in the Coachella Valley first passed short-term rental regulations that required:
1. Conditional use permits ($500 or more) and a three-day minimum for short-term rentals.
2. Restrictions on parking, noise, the number of renters, and the days a property could be rented annually.
3. Public hearings for all applications. In one case, the Palm Desert Planning Commission denied an application without evidence of wrongdoing.
The California Desert Association of Realtors predicted the permit process would lead to few following the law and paying the occupancy tax. Ultimately, the city agreed.
The solution: In April 2012, a Palm Desert ordinance went into effect for the licensing of all residential short-term rentals. Those rules call for:
1. A short-term rental permit, if the property is rented for 27 days or less. Permits must be renewed annually.
2. An application fee of $25 per property.
3. A fine of up to $5,000 for anyone without a permit or not collecting a 9 percent Transient Occupancy Tax.
The Result: More residents registered, compliance rose and the city collected more transient occupancy taxes.
“We learned that we needed to focus on the dealing with the loss of transient occupancy tax, and to look at a nuisance as a nuisance no matter how the property is being managed or lived in … we decided to create an ordinance that would promote the business side of our rental community establishing a low fee license to encourage registration.”
South Lake Tahoe
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