Some Cities Tighten Rental Restrictions as Others Remember ‘Isolation on Vacation’

Daytona Everett

As more cities in the Coachella Valley tighten rental restrictions, some people in California’s largest city were fleeing the congestion and seeking shelter in isolated communities like Joshua Tree.

Now, San Bernardo is taking new steps too, issuing restrictions on renters. Full restrictions are shown here.

The city of Palm Springs issued a temporary ban on all vacation rentals and hotel stays on Monday. It applies to hotels and vacation rentals like Airbnb unless those rentals are being used for what’s being called “migration and containment measures related to the spread” of the virus.

Violators can be fined up to $25,000. Meanwhile, Rancho Mirage issued a similar order that bars temporary rentals. That order is set to remain in effect until June 1st unless otherwise amended. Rancho Mirage also put a moratorium on residential and commercial evictions through the end of May.

Still, 130 miles east of Los Angeles stands Joshua Tree which is an L.A. resident’s dream spot for self-isolation.

“It’s just like quiet, you’re away from everybody else and the weather is just great,” nightlife entrepreneur Eli Wehbe took refuge for a couple days at a rental home in Joshua Tree last week. 

“I’d never been to Joshua Tree before,” he said. “That was my first time.”

Wehbe is not alone. Masses of rentals in remote locations had booked nationwide but down the road from the state park the rules are rapidly changing.

Despite Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage declaring a moratorium on all vacation rentals, other Coachella Valley cities like Indio have not passed any restrictions for rentals.

Some owners have actually switched to a longer-term model to accommodate people looking to bunker down, a local homeowner said.

On VRBO, the first thing to pop up is a warning with a link to “a COVID-19 emergency policy” which, in part, asks renters to review local travel recommendations and restrictions.

VRBO: https://www.vrbo.com/

On AIRBNB, one of the first things to come up is a Joshua Tree rental opening.

AIRBNB: https://www.airbnb.com/a/?af=43720035&c=.pi2.pk1295224732334656_80951582495852_c_80951563609475&msclkid=dbce0a9064ef18ed707a54eacce47b05&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=USA%3ADTM%3ABRD%3AAIRBNB%5BEXACT%5D&utm_term=airbnb&utm_content=Airbnb%3AGeneric%2BExact

An option that L.A. residents like Wehbe can’t take advantage of anymore with the new restrictions.

Renters in Palm Springs are being asked to “immediately return to their home communities and shelter in place” according to city manager David Ready. Mayor Geoff Korrs said renters can finish out their booking or extend it. In Rancho Mirage, current renters are allowed to finish out their booking but cannot extend it, according to the city.

As far as refunds go, depending on who the renter booked through, some are doing full or partial refunds and others are not.

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