New Rancho Mirage Vacation Rental Ordinance

RM ConflictThis week the city of Rancho Mirage approved and passed a new, stricter vacation rental ordinance.  I am still trying to digest the changes and work on the implementation and enforcement of the new restrictions within my business.  Today I am not ready to step up on my soapbox … publically.  I am still collecting information and trying to look at the bigger picture and potential ramifications we could suffer if I were to overreact.  Since I have over one hundred Rancho Mirage vacation rental owners that I work with, and many of these owners have contacted me to ask what our input to the city was, I have decided to posted the argument I made this past Thursday, July 31st at the city council meeting.  I was joined by several property owners and residents who manage their own vacation rental properties in the city of Rancho Mirage.  Our voices were listened to but unfortunately not heard.  If you are interested in viewing the entire city council meeting, below I have attached the link to the city website and July 31st city council meeting.  The entire meeting is almost four hours in length.  To skip to the reading of the proposed vacation rental ordinance and the arguments made by residents and owners you can fast forward one hour and 05 minutes … 1.05 on the viewer bar at the bottom of the video.  The new ordinance goes into effect August 30, 2014.

Rancho Mirage City Council Meeting, July 31, 2014

Click on the following link and scroll down to the video.

http://www.ranchomirageca.gov/city-council/city-council-agendas-minutes-video/

 

Desert Sun article “Rancho Mirage vacation rental age restriction set at 30” published August 1, 2014

http://www.desertsun.com/story/news/local/2014/07/31/rancho-mirage-vacation-rental-age/13438899/

 

Following is the argument I presented at the city council meeting.

My name is Vickie Murguia and I’m the owner of Vacation Rentals of the Desert.  I manage approximately 100 vacation rental properties in the City of Rancho Mirage.  I am here to represent those property owners who cannot attend city council meetings to make their arguments in favor of vacation rentals.  There seems to be just a handful of residents that have made repeated complaints against vacation rentals.  I am here to represent the silent majority.  This includes the 100 home owners that I work with and all their renters that visit the desert and are excellent neighbors.  The silent majority also includes all the businesses that benefit from these owners and renters such as contractors and remodeling companies that new buyers hire to update and turn around vacant and neglected properties, the cleaners, the repair services and various vendors that support vacation rentals.  This also includes real estate agents that are seeking out investors and using the idea of vacation rental potential in their sales pitch.  These agents cannot voice their opinions because they work with people that are on both sides of the issue.  There are also the restaurants, theaters, stores, golf courses and all the activities where travelers spend their money in Rancho Mirage.  Just imagine the silent majority were here today … they would overflow this room.  Our desert is in the resort business.  Most of us were not born and raised in the desert.  We visited, fell in love with the desert and eventually moved here.

I do not agree with the proposed changes to the ordinance regarding minimum age and outdoor sounds.  I believe they have the potential to chase away visitors, property buyers and ultimately much needed revenue to the city of Rancho Mirage.  After all, revenues from TOT were the reason for the ordinance in the first place.  Chasing away short term rentals will lose Rancho Mirage hundreds of thousands in TOT as well as sales tax.

In the 3 years since activating the Hot Line … I have only received 3 calls from all cities combined.  My company receives a weekly report from the city of Palm Springs on Hot Line calls.  I propose that the city of Rancho Mirage also share this information with managers and owners.  This way we can better monitor any violations and identify residents that repeatedly call the Hot Line.  I believe the current ordinance is sufficient but could be better enforced by owners and vacation rental managers and that stricter laws are over-reaching and are just going to be more difficult to enforce and will chase away the visitors that are the life blood of our community and does not address the underlying issues which could probably be address by managers or owners screening their renters and educating their tenants on the current rules and regulations and informing them of the ramifications of non-compliance.

Whatever is decided, Vacation Rentals of the Desert will always keep in full compliance with the law and will continue to strive to be good neighbors.

NOTE:  This is a hot topic.  Anyone care to discuss?

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