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Navigating the Greater Palm Springs Rental Landscape: What to Consider for Short and Medium-Term (30-90 day) Stays

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Whether you’re seeking a short-term getaway or a medium-term home base, understanding the region’s rental regulations is key to a successful stay.

By: Brad Greiner, CEO of Open Air Homes and OpenAiRE Brokerage

In the heat of the Southern California desert, the Greater Palm Springs area serves as an oasis of relaxation and recreation. For those planning to venture here for the fall and hoping to stay for the short to medium term (30 days or more), there are a few critical factors to consider. The area’s regulations surrounding Short-Term Rentals (STRs) can vary widely, and understanding these differences can help you navigate your way to a more satisfying, stress-free stay.

Navigating Rental Regulations in The Greater Palm Springs

In the Greater Palm Springs area, each of the 9 cities (plus 3 additional cities of Joshua Tree, Pioneertown and Yucca Valley for good measure) has its own stance on STRs, resulting in a complex patchwork of rules and restrictions that visitors must navigate. 

Palm Springs, Joshua Tree, Pioneertown, and Yucca Valley offer the most straightforward options for short-term rentals, along with some Homeowners Associations (HOAs) in Palm Desert.  Cities like Indio and Coachella have more relaxed STR regulations, often offering larger homes on ample plots of land. However, it’s important to note that these are true neighborhoods. Therefore, respecting the local community during your stay should be a priority.

On the other hand, Indian Wells is one city where you may encounter challenges. This city has not been particularly welcoming of STRs, which can limit availability and may complicate plans for a stay in this location. 

Desert Hot Springs is another unique case. The city does allow STRs, but the overall quality of rental options might not meet expectations. Open Air Homes is open to management in this area, however, we have not found a home that meets our criteria for management yet. This city has a reputation for not being as safe or as well-kept as other Palm Springs locales. However, it’s not entirely without charm. For example, the beautiful Two Bunch Palms hotel offers access to natural hot springs, making it a notable exception for travelers seeking a unique and relaxing experience. Trust us on this recommendation, if you’re looking for a peaceful and relaxing getaway in a very natural setting. 

House of the Sun by Open Air Homes

Navigating Month+ Rentals in Greater Palm Springs

If your plans include a medium-term stay, the situation changes slightly. Palm Desert allows each HOA to determine their own rules for STRs, leading to a mix of opportunities – some allow STRs, while others do not. 

For longer stays, the most suitable options are often found in cities like Rancho Mirage, known for its beautiful, large homes and beautiful neighborhoods to walk each night at sunset to see the incredible architecture. La Quinta, with its peaceful surroundings, wealth of hiking trails, and top-notch restaurants is also a great option for a laid-back longer stay. Lastly, Cathedral City, an alternative near Palm Springs with more affordable, smaller homes. 

Since these cities do not allow STRs, oftentimes the Month+ price is lower in these areas for these homeowners to achieve a higher occupancy rate, so you will often see lower monthly rates in cities without a comprehensive STR permitting process. 

Palm Springs also offers homes for month-long stays, though typically at slightly higher rates than in cities exclusively permitting month-long rentals. However, many homeowners here prefer these longer stays and are willing to offer discounted rates since each home is only allowed 36 short-term rental stays per year. 

Legal Requirements for Longer Stays in California

Keep in mind, for stays longer than 30 days, California law requires a signed California Association of Realtors (CAR) form. This mandate serves to protect both landlords and tenants, ensuring the legality and security of the rental agreement. 

For this reason, it’s advisable to work with a property management company that is a real estate brokerage.  Only brokerages (like Open Air Homes) can legally take Month+ rentals, and companies like ours can guide you through this process legally.  This is currently a gray area on sites like Airbnb, where homeowners who manage their own homes can legally take a rental on Airbnb for a Month+ stay, but any property management company is supposed to have a brokerage and follow the law. 

However, be aware that not all companies take this extra step, which is vital to ensure a secure and compliant rental experience. Do your due diligence when choosing a rental company, making sure they’re legally equipped to handle medium to long-term stays.  If you don’t sign a CAR form, ensure that the rental is through someone who actually owns the property, and not a larger company operating in the area. It might feel like an unnecessary extra step to sign, but we feel it’s important to follow CA law when handling rentals of this nature. 

Desert Owl Ranch by Open Air Homes

In conclusion, whether you’re seeking a brief desert retreat or a longer-term base in the Greater Palm Springs area, having a clear understanding of local STR regulations and rental practices is key. Navigating this terrain with knowledge and respect will pave the way for a rewarding stay that satisfies your needs and respects the local community.  We hope that this guide helps you to choose the right city for you. Regardless of where you stay, the Greater Palm Springs + Yucca Valley is a beautiful place to call home for a while, and we hope you enjoy all that this beautiful desert landscape has to offer! 

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