CATHEDRAL CITY — I am not unsympathetic to those residents who have experienced a poorly run STVR. I have heard some real nightmare stories. But to me this is an issue of control and oversight. Last July, when the City’s Task-force was created, News Channel 3 reported the City received approximately $600,000 in license fees for the 352 licensed STVRs in the City.
They also reported there were 36 noise-related calls in a five month period against 22 rental properties, with just 6 of those properties accounting for almost two-thirds of the calls. Six out of 352 — less than one in sixty. Yet the Council decided to forgo the $600,000 in license fees and punish the 346 law abiding home owners. Feels like the baby went out with the bath water to me.
I believe this issue can be handled without the City giving up the $600,000 in fees by focusing on oversight and management. Escalate non-compliance fines on owners that do not deal with misbehaving renters. Rescind or do not renew their permits if a property becomes a repeat offender. Limit the number of active STVRs in a neighborhood or by total city-wide. There are far smarter people in the world than me – let’s get them together to create a plan that supports the needs of owners, neighbors, and the city.
I am a Realtor. I sell houses for a living. I was very neutral about the Short-Term Vacation Rental conversation when this all began. Out of 250 transactions in the last five years, we have only represented two Buyers who are using their homes as a Vacation Rental and five Sellers where the new owners are using the home as a vacation rental. As you can see the STVR is an extremely small percentage of the real estate business we represent. But I have had numerous clients who first visited Cathedral City by renting an STVR through AirBnB or VRBO, fell in love with Cathedral City, and decided that this is the place for them to live.0,000 in fees by focusing on oversight and management.
In the past 10 weeks, our lives have changed in a monumental way due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We have seen wide layoffs and desperate people trying to make ends meet. Budgets of all kinds are busted – country, state, city and households. It is not the time to eliminate $600,000 of needed revenue in our city’s coffers. Nor is it the time to undermine a homeowner trying to make ends meet.
I will end with a few points. I am saddened to see social discourse in the US at an all-time low. We no longer have discussions; instead we lob insults at each other without listening to each other’s side. I hope that we can have a conversation on this topic and TOGETHER come to some conclusions. We are better than this. I think Cathedral City could become a leader on the STVR issue. Let us come together and do it the right way. Each side may have to give in on some points; but together we can win. In the end, if we are committed to making it better, I truly believe we can.
- Vacation Rental: Shutterstock