Is the party over for unruly short-term rentals in unincorporated Riverside County? – Corporate Press

Short-term rental homes in places like Temecula Valley wine country should limit sleeping guests and install noise meters in full overhaul Riverside County rules targeting so-called party houses.

The Tuesday, July 26, Board of Supervisors will consider updating the county’s short-term rentals ordinance, which applies to unincorporated communities. The proposed changes touch on a long-standing, sensitive issue of landlord livelihoods and neighborhood tranquility.

Some of the county’s most popular tourist destinations, including Wine Country and Idyllwild/Pine Cove, are unincorporated areas where the county has land use authority. Short-term rentals are also popular with those attending the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and the Stagecoach Country Music Festival in Indio.

For years, residents of unincorporated areas have complained of loud, late-night revelry, mostly on weekends, at short-term rental homes advertised on websites such as Airbnb and Vrbo for guests looking for a getaway or a venue for weddings, family reunions and other events.

Parties disrupt sleep, engulf neighborhood parking lots and leave litter-strewn lawns in their wake, residents said. Those who live in rural areas prone to wildfires fear that a wildfire could lead panicked guests to clog narrow escape routes.

County-registered rental owners say they want to be good neighbors and don’t tolerate disruptive guests. But they argue the problem is not with them, but with unregistered rentals currently breaking the rules.

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While around 1,000 rentals are currently registered, authorities estimate that 2,000 or 3,000 are operating illegally in the county.

The county has hired a private company, Deckard Technologies, to manage online short-term rental permits and search online listings of unlicensed properties with the goal of getting them licensed.

The new rules increase rental license fees with automatic annual increases of 4%. Initial fees would drop from $250 to $740, while renewals would cost $540 instead of $100.

A request attached to the revised short-term order would set aside 50% of transitional occupancy tax revenue generated from rentals to pay for rent enforcement efforts. Another request asks county officials to consider a cap on the number of rentals in wine regions and Idyllwild.

The revised order also limits those who can stay in a rental to two people per bedroom plus one additional person or 10 people in total, whichever is lower.

“Responsible operators” can have up to 16 people if they file paperwork with the county building and safety department. Rentals with at least five bedrooms located on at least five acres could also accommodate up to 16 occupants.

Alexandra DeCarlo, who owns several rentals in the Temecula Valley wine region and is a member of a group of vacation rental owners, objected to the occupancy limits, saying they would cost her reservations and that the limits do not solve the problem of large groups. for a party.

Rentals should install on-site noise monitors inside and out. Landlords should also post a sign outside the rental with a 24-hour phone number for callers to report problems.

DeCarlo said in March that the signs could encourage break-ins by thieves looking for unoccupied homes.

The new rules include a “three strikes” provision that could revoke a rental certificate if it receives three separate notices of violation from code enforcement. Rentals could be fined $1,000 for their first offense, $3,000 for a second offense within a year of the first, and $5,000 for each additional offense within a year of the first citation.

Over the past year, code enforcement officers have started working nights and weekends.

A special team of code enforcement officers now focus on party house complaints as they arise, and the county also has a 24-hour call center. with a live operator to handle complaint calls and dispatch code enforcement or sheriff’s deputies, according to a county report on rule changes.

IF YOU ARE GOING TO

What: Riverside County supervisors will consider major changes to rules governing short-term rentals in unincorporated areas. The public can comment on the proposal.

When: 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 26

Where: First Floor, County Administrative Center, 4080 Lemon Street, Riverside

Direct: rivcotv.org/BOS

About Michael B. Billingsley

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