Palm Springs Cracks Down

Any thoughts on the new regulations on short-term rentals that the City of Palm Springs just enacted?

My main question is this: the City of Palm Springs is limiting the number of “contracts” to 32-36. I’m wondering how they’ll be able to enforce this. Will AirBnb be reporting the number of contracts to the City of Palm Springs? If no, how will they be able to enforce this?

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Here’s the meat of the new regulations:

On March 15, 2017 the Palm Springs City Council adopted Ordinance No.1918 amending and restating the Palm Springs Municipal Code relating to Vacation Rentals. This ordinance goes into effect on April 16, 2017.

Below is a brief summary of some of the critical components of the Ordinance:

Ownership – An owner shall be issued, and can only maintain (subject to limited grandfathering allowances) one Vacation Rental Registration certificate at any time. A certificate shall not be issued to any Business Entity, other than a limited liability company. All Business Entities must report ownership status by June 1, 2017 and transfer ownership to a natural person by June 1, 2018

New and Renewal Applications – These will require proof of insurance, indemnification/hold harmless in favor of the City, HOA approval letter if applicable, and Electrician Certification of pool/spa template

Contract limits – No more than 32 contracts per calendar year allowed. An additional 4 contracts allowed during the 3rd quarter of a calendar year provided the entire term of these contracts occur during the 3rd quarter

New Occupancy Limits, number of cars

*Please note, for Estate Homeowners (those properties with 5 bedrooms or above), there are some different requirements for registration and operation. Those requirements are still under review. As of now, Estate homes may only be operated in property zones R-1-B, R-1-A, R-1-AH, or G-R-5.

**Overnight occupancy allows for an additional two minors (Age 12 or under)
New Fines and Penalties for Violations Effective April 16, 2017

Friends and Family List – Owner may submit up to five persons who may occupy the vacation rental at no cost and without requiring the presence of the Owner on the premises. This must be submitted by June 1, 2017 or at time of renewal/new application

Live Meet & Greet for guests effective June 1, 2017 (VPS has already initiated this process!)

Noise Complaints/Disorderly Conduct – Effective April 16, 2017, the City will now serve as the first responder for any noise complaints or disorderly conduct. VPS will maintain 24 hour vigilance to respond to Enforcement Official in the event of noise complaints, disorderly conduct, or eviction notice

Posting requirements – Each owner shall be required to post registration certificate and copy of rules and regulations associated with vacation rentals on the inside of the front door and the primary door to the back yard

Building, Fire and safety inspections by Vacation Rental Compliance Department are required on an annual basis at time of renewal/new application

You may contact the City of Palm Springs Department of Rental Compliance at (760) 323-8257 or (760) 322-8370/8372.

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I’m with you in wondering how this will be enforced, which might not be that difficult if Airbnb is already collecting and remitting taxes to not only Palm Springs but also Palm Desert where we have a condo that we rent out part of the year through Airbnb.

These regulations are going to affect the Airbnb version of a slumlord. They are the people who buy up multiple properties and rent them out without much supervision of the guests. This is going to be happening in many vacation places as more and more communities want to get their share of tax revenue.

Although only 32 “contracts” per year are not many, but could be doable if you have month long rentals–which is what usually happens during the winter Snowbird season. Coachella/Stagecoach would eat up 4 or 5 contracts in April and first part of May. The rest would hopefully be 3 day or hopefully longer contracts.

In any case, it sure complicates things for us hosts who offer an old school Airbnb experience: We live on site and offer a more personalized experience.


RE regulation:

So in Palm Desert, my understanding is that you don’t have to send in a monthly check to the City of Palm Desert because Airbnb agreed to remit directly to the City of Palm Desert. Is that correct?

In PS, we write a check every month, equalling 11.5% of all our bookings. We’re honest, but it’s really an honor system, because it’s up to us to report the income, and the number of contracts.

It will be interesting to see if Airbnb agrees to do the same for Palm Springs short-term vacation rentals.

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I expect to see these rules for residents at a government halfway house; not for a homeowner concerning usage for their own property.

I’d sooner sell my vacation home and buy elsewhere than comply with these rules. This is ridiculous.


I agree. This is really overstepping what should be the bounds of city government.


Totally agree. I can hardly believe this would hold up in court if someone sued.

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That’s right. I got that notice a while back from Air regarding our place in Palm Desert.

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Hi Everyone!

We own 2 houses in Palm Springs (you may have gathered from my user name!) - I agree these regulations are really aggressive (and unnecessary). In terms of enforcement, my guess is they will roll it into the monthly Bed Tax / TOT we file each month, and threaten a random audit (which is what they do for monthly bed tax).

I started raising my minimum stay duration to 3 nights in response to this already.

Another really aggravating thing about the PS Govt: they have a reg that you have to post your TOT Permit # in your online listings. I’ve got nothing to hide, I pay my taxes every month! But apparently I didn’t update one of our VRBO pages with the listing # (it’s there on the AirBNB version of that property), and they sent me a $250 ticket in the mail!!! What a bunch of jerks

All that said - in terms of the Palm Springs market - it’s one of the best STR markets I have ever seen. To give you some perspective, we will rent our two houses in April alone (the peak of high season) for just under 50% of our entire YEARS’ mortgage costs on the houses.

So even though they want to play nasty and make a bunch of annoying rules - we still make $ after all our expenses, including a local Property Manager who meets each guest and coordinates our maintenance. Which makes it worth it to deal with their nonsense, for now.

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Hi J_Wang

On my Palm Springs listings, there’s nowhere to enable Tax Collection - do you have that on your Palm Desert listing?


Pretty shocking nanny state behavior. I can see regulating things but telling you that you have to submit a Friends and Family list is completely out of bounds! I will share my home with whomever I damn well please, why should I give you a list?!!! I hope someone sues!

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It’s done automatically by Air. They handle it on their end.

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So interesting - per this page:

They do it in Palm Desert, but not Palm Springs. WTH?


@davidandreone - FWIW since air doesn’t allow us to collect/remit separate - I’ve started to calculate the tax as being included in the booking fee; which lowers the amount I need to send PS. We’re being honest (also) - but taking 11.5% of what Air gives me is more than assuming the 11.5% was included in my booking cost - if that makes sense?

For example, if I book $100 in rent on AirBNB, instead of sending PS $11.50 (11.5% of that $100), I calculate what the rent portion of that booking is and what the tax portion is. From that $100, my rent charge was actually 89.69, and I collected $10.31 in rent (11.5% of $89.69). I use excel and a simple formula (divide your total AirBNB intake by 1.115 = the rent basis on which 11.5% tax = your total intake)

That means my tax bill from AirBNB bookings is just over 10% lower than doing it the “easy” way (which is how i did it for 18 months before I thought of this, to be honest) - which is not an insignificant amount since I pay Palm Springs between $600-$1,000/Month in TOT taxes :neutral_face:


Holy cow!!! They’re charging 11% in Palm Desert! That’s on top of already high rates plus getting gouged by Airbnb!

Thanks for this breakdown of the new regulations. What does VPS stand for?

Vacation Palm Springs is one of the companies in Palm Springs that manages a lot of short-term rental properties.