Palm Springs City Council Approves Moratorium on Short Term Rentals

Kamari Esquerra

“It’s something that works, so why would you want to fix something that’s already working?,” said Jim Franklin, Greater Palm Springs Association of Realtors.

“I think the city is putting the profitability of AirBnbs or vacation rentals over the residents and their concern for the residents,” said a Palm Springs resident in opposition to short term rentals. 

The battle over homeowners’ rights continues in Palm Springs.

In a 4-0 vote on Monday evening, Palm Springs City Council approved a temporary ban on new short-term rental permits. 

“This is really just a hold through November 30 and we will then resume completing the applications that people are filing,” said Mayor Lisa Middleton. 

While the ban is temporary, the council says it gives them time to consider revisions to the ordinance. One of those revisions includes reducing the number of times permit holders are allowed to rent their homes per year. 

“Currently that’s up to 36 contracts per year and now we’re looking at phasing in a reduction that would take that down to 24 times during the year,” said Middleton. “A vacation rental for a contract could be as much as 27 days so this is still a substantial amount of time that someone could rent their home.”

They are also considering implementing a residency requirement. 

“Right now, we’re looking at something in the vicinity of 60-90 days of requirement of residency in the home,” said Middleton. 

Many residents and groups have recommended caps on the number of rentals allowed.. both within the city of palm springs and in specific neighborhoods. While some council members expressed concern that a general rental cap within the city would be unfair. They are looking into a rental cap within neighborhoods. 

“That will probably be in the vicinity of no more than 15-20% of homes in a neighborhood,” said Middleton. “In those neighborhoods, we would not take anybody’s permits away, but we would use attrition to get back down to that cap level.”

The council is also looking into granting junior permits, a low cost license that would allow a permanent resident of palm springs.. to rent their home for half a dozen times per year. 

A compromise between both sides of the aisle is still some time away. 

“If you’re one of those folks who believe vacation rentals should not exist whatsoever, what we’re going to propose is not what you’re going to want,” said Middleton. “If you’re someone who believes there should absolutely be no limits on vacation rentals, we’re not going to make you happy either. We believe that this industry can work when it’s highly regulated, everyone understands the rules, and everyone follows the rules.” 

The council will continue to discuss this topic during its second meeting on Nov. 29 when a permanent decision could be made, and possibly even sooner. 

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