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Riverside County, California, revises vacation rental regulations

  • Nov 1, 2022 | Jennifer Sokolowsky

Riverside CA

Riverside County has updated its short-term rental ordinance with several new provisions, including rules on occupancy and permit requirements.

Under the revised law, occupancy limits depend on the size of the rental property. For properties of a half-acre or less, occupancy is capped at 10 people, while properties between a half-acre and two acres are allowed to host up to 16 guests. Up to 20 people would be able to stay in a short-term rental on more than two acres.

The rules also require vacation rental operators to install outdoor noise monitors and observe quiet hours between 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. Hosts with properties under five acres in size must notify neighbors within 300 feet that they will be operating a short-term rental, as well as post an outside sign offering contact information. Operators or an agent must respond within an hour to emergencies or complaints. Violations of the law can result in up to $5,000 in fines.

There are 1,100 registered short-term rental units in unincorporated Riverside County, but the county estimates that there may be thousands more unregistered vacation rental properties.

While the county’s new ordinance covers unincorporated areas, several incorporated cities within the county took action on vacation rentals in 2021:

  • Rancho Mirage banned all short-term rentals, effective July 1 of this year.
  • San Bernardino County passed a measure that makes violations of the county’s short-term rental law criminal misdemeanors. The law raised fines from $100 to $1,000 for first-time citations, and up to $5,000 for a third citation. The county originally passed its short-term rental ordinance in 2019.
  • La Quinta passed an indefinite stay on new short-term rental permits in residential neighborhoods. Vacation rental permits will continue to be issued for properties within tourist commercial or village commercial zones. The ban applies to residential neighborhoods throughout the city — including gated communities with homeowners associations that allow vacation rentals.
  • Cathedral City voters approved a referendum upholding a law that phased out many short-term rentals. The city will not issue any new short-term rental licenses that are valid beyond January 1, 2023. However, properties that offer home sharing or that belong to homeowners associations that allow short-term rentals will be allowed to operate beyond that date.

Vacation rental hosts in unincorporated Riverside County, San Bernardino County, La Quinta, and Cathedral City are responsible for collecting transient occupancy taxes from guests and remitting them to county tax authorities.

Airbnb and Vrbo both collect these taxes for listings in San Bernardino County. While Airbnb collects transient taxes in Riverside County, Vrbo does not. Neither Airbnb nor Vrbo collect transient taxes in La Quinta or Cathedral City. Hosts are responsible for any taxes that aren’t collected on their behalf.

MyLodgeTax can help California short-term rental hosts automate lodging tax to streamline and simplify their lodging tax compliance. For more on lodging taxes in California, see our state vacation rental tax guide. If you have tax questions related to vacation rental properties, drop us a line and we’ll get back to you with answers.

Lodging tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Avalara Author
Jennifer Sokolowsky
Avalara Author Jennifer Sokolowsky
Jennifer Sokolowsky writes about tax, legal, and tech topics. She has an extensive international background in journalism and marketing, including work with The Seattle Times, The Prague Post, Avvo, and Marriott.
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