Moratorium on Short-term Leases Draws Flak Among La Quinta Residents

Moratorium on Short-term Leases Draws Flak Among La Quinta Residents

La Quinta, CA is known far and wide as a desert resort city – the Gem of the Desert, as the city’s government and economic thinktanks would refer to it. That said, it’s undeniable that much of the city’s economy rests on its tourism industry.

However, trouble seems to be brewing in the Desert’s Gem with regard to the extent to which its residents should be welcoming the prime drivers of their beloved city’s economy – the tourists.

The Situation

Given the powerful drive of La Quinta’s tourism sector, many of its residents have banked on this opportunity and opened up their respective homes to tourists. This resulted in the rise of short-term vacation rentals even in residential areas of the city.

After complaints regarding STVRs rose by as much as 267% from May to July 2020, members of the city council enacted Ordinance No. 586 in December of the same year. This particular law primarily requires operators of short-term vacation rentals to get a permit to operate and a business license. Requirements for STVR operations were also made more stringent and fines for violations steeper, among many others.

Even more controversial was the passing of Ordinance No. 591 in April 2021 which placed an indefinite moratorium on the issuance of new STVR permits, except in the following:

  • Residences in designated commercial areas of the city
  • Residences in areas with HOAs that allow STVRs
  • Residences covered by the SilverRock Resort Master Plan

The Dispute

The ban on permit issuance in residential areas encountered resistance among several groups of La Quinta residents, among them, Neighbors for Neighborhoods (N4N) and Vacation Rental Owners and Neighbors of La Quinta (VRON-LQ). According to these groups, a permanent STVR moratorium in residential areas is not the wisest decision the City Council can make to address problems stemming from STVR operations.

N4N has been collecting signatures from fellow residents to call for a ballot initiative. This said initiative aims to have a 30-day minimum stay in effect in all residential zones up to December 31, 2024. That way, existing STVR operators in the residential zones will be able to prepare for the impact this move will have on their respective businesses. The ballot initiative places the decision-making on the residents themselves instead of the city’s elected officials.

A representative of VRON-LQ, for his part, suggests that a better system for addressing issues presented by these STVRs be put in place through cooperation among all parties concerned – from the city’s officials to the residents, merchants, and even visitors. Writing as a guest columnist for the Desert Sun, VRON-LQ Board President Olivier Chaine stated, “Instead of eliminating vacation rental homes, we want to work together to improve the system so that we can all coexist peacefully.”

Know the Latest Developments in La Quinta

Finding out what’s new in the area where you’re eyeing your next real estate investment or residence is crucial in making smart decisions related to your home-buying plans.

In La Quinta, CA, you can do so with the help of a local real estate expert – Kathleen O’Keefe Galigher. She can keep you up to speed with developments here as you go through the home-buying process. Give her a call at 760.567.7822 or send her a message here.

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Whether you are considering buying a home, selling a home or both, she know this area inside and out. Contact her today!

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