Beginning December, 2019, the San Bernardino County Land Use Services Department will require all short-term rental (STR) owners to obtain a permit to continue offering vacation rentals to area visitors. Homeowners have until March 31 to apply for a permit.
This new ordinance is causing quite a stir in the small town of Joshua Tree. The Special Use Permit application fee is $599 with a biannual renewal fee of $359. With the application comes the stipulation that the property be inspected. There have been numerous complaints from property owners about inspectors siting code violations for the most minor of infractions. The ordinance can also be used to enforce the payment of the 7 percent Transient Occupancy Tax. This has the potential to create a financial hardship on Joshua Tree residents which have a median household income of only $37,700 according to 2018 US Census figures.
If you own a private vacation rental home, including all Airbnb properties, you must meet the requirements including compliance with local and California building and fire codes and providing on-site parking. A complete list of the requirements can be accessed by downloading the Short Term Rental (SRT) Application and Inspection/Operational Requirements sheet.
It is easy to see why homeowners and real estate investors in Joshua Tree are chafing under this new requirement. There are, however, three reasons why a vacation rental license can benefit property owners.
Protects Legitimate Joshua Tree Vacation Property Owners
Airbnb rentals are popping up all over Joshua Tree. Anyone with an available bedroom can offer lodging. This can create havoc with genuine investment property owners. This permit will help protect quality short-term rental real estate owners.
Stabilize or Even Increase Vacation Rental Rates in Joshua Tree
Enforcing a level of quality and safety will eliminate sub-par rentals with their dirt-cheap prices. This will ensure that vacation rental rates will stay competitive and increase with tourism growth.
Creates a Real Estate Marketing Tool that Adds Credibility
Permit owners will now have a unique marketing opportunity. Receiving the San Bernardino Short-Term Rental Permit indicates that the vacation rental has been approved by the county and that it complies with all building codes and safety requirements. For those property owners in Joshua Tree who have spent thousands on remodeling and upgrades, this will provide added proof of quality.
There are an estimated 1,160 short-term rental homes in San Bernardino County and only around 100 owners have applied for the permit. Why not be one of the first to capitalize on this excellent marketing opportunity. For those investors who are considering buying property in Joshua Tree, the county will allow property owners to transfer their permit to a buyer within 30 days of closing. Tourism is increasing within Joshua Tree and the surrounding areas, this new vacation rental ordinance, while a bother to some, will ensure stabile value growth and safe accommodations.
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