A moratorium on new short-term vacation rental applications was in effect in Cathedral City Thursday, with the City Council unanimously imposing the temporary ban in response to complaints about noise and other concerns.

The council voted Wednesday night to approve the 45-day moratorium on new short-term rentals, which are often offered through sites such as Airbnb or VRBO. The meeting included a lengthy public comment period, during which opponents of the rentals complained about nuisances caused by “out of control guests” and supporters contending that most short-term rentals don’t pose a problem and provide a benefit to the local economy.

Council members said they wanted the temporary halt to give a city task force time to review regulations and enforcement activities.

KESQ reported there were 36 noise-related calls at 22 short-term rental properties between January and May 2019, but six rentals accounted for most of those calls.

Council members agreed to allow existing applications for short-term vacation rental properties to be processed for approval, but the moratorium will block any new applications.

“The council determined this was the most fair position to take as it allowed STVR applications already in the processing queue to continue with their investments but stopped any new STVRs until the STVR Task Force had another opportunity to meet, discuss current policies and determine any new rules and increased enforcement actions against those in violation of city ordinances,” Cathedral City Communications Manager Chris Parman said.

The city’s Short Term Vacation Rental Task Force, which is composed of city staff, vacation rental homeowners, property managers and neighbors of vacation rental properties, will meet in July to “review the current situation, look at solutions found by other cities and proposed new guidelines and enforcement solutions to the city council,” Parman said.

Existing approved vacation rentals can continue to operate and apply for renewals during the moratorium. Anyone who operates an unregistered vacation rental can be subject to a fine of up to $5,000, Parman said.

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