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April 8th, 2021 By Marshall Smith
The Role of Short-Term Vacation Rentals in Idyllwild
02/20/21
Living on the Hill
By Marshall Smith
Idyllwild Association of Realtors

Carefully managed short term vacation rentals, registered as required with a county and/or municipality, having owner/operators who follow governing rules and regulations, can provide a service to visitors and a benefit to the community and its tax base. These rentals are often a first impression for visitors to a community - visitors who may later purchase homes of their own in the community.
Riverside County short-term rental regulations are designed to educate owner/operators about their responsibilities to their neighbors, and to ensure those neighbors have recourse when there are loud parties, late night noise, blocked parking access and other issues that disturb the reasonable lifestyle expectations of neighborhood residents.
Riverside County requires operators of short-term vacation rentals, generally fewer than 30 days, to pay Transit Occupancy Taxes (TOT) just as local owners of inns and lodges are required to do. These taxes help to fund necessary local services including county snow plowing of downtown and residential streets.
In Idyllwild, an unincorporated community, the county regulates short-term vacation rentals through Ordinance 927. A draft revision (927.1) toughens restrictions in important ways: Section 6 B in the draft states, “It is unlawful for any person to advertise, maintain, operate or use a Short-Term Rental in the unincorporated area of Riverside County without a Short-Term Rental Certificate, or in violation of the terms and conditions of the Certificate.” In short, any short-term rental in Idyllwild, not registered and in receipt of the required Certificate, is considered illegal. The draft language is clearer and stronger than in the existing ordinance.
Ordinance 927 states short-term rental owner/operators must also comply with Noise Ordinance 847 requiring quiet hours from 10 p.m. till 7 a.m.
In part, rules require that operators must prominently post in the rental their name and telephone number and/or the name and number for a local contact person; while the rental is occupied, either the owner/operator or local contact must be available 24/7 for the purpose of “responding within sixty minutes to complaints regarding the condition of the rental, its operation or guests’ conduct;” a guest designated as the “responsible person” in the rental agreement is required to execute a formal acknowledgment that they are legally responsible for the conduct of the guests; if the operator or local contact person does not respond within allowable time limits to complaints from neighbors, they are subject to all legal and administrative remedies available to the County for failure to respond; the owner/operator must also comply with Ordinance 495, Uniform Transient Occupancy Tax Ordinance; operator must provide (Section 10 A) written notices to all dwellings located within 100 feet of the rental’s property line that a short term rental certificate was obtained for the property; and each day a violation is committed or permitted to continue shall be viewed as a separate offense for the sake of determining penalties.
Idyllwild residents can report violations by suspected short-term rental operators or guests at a Short-Term Rental hotline (800) 228-5051 or call the County Supervisor’s Office at (951) 955-1030.
More and more incorporated communities in the desert are pushing back and limiting or prohibiting vacation rentals in residential areas because of complaints from residents of noise and disruption.
Idyllwild, other than for a small downtown, is basically all residential. The question is, what role should VRBO short term rentals have in a town as small and quiet as Idyllwild?
Please contact Karen Doshier, IAOR President at karendoshier@gmail.com with column suggestions or comments.
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