Instructions and Sample Letter for Non-STR Property Owners:


In the late 1800s, what is now Idyllwild was home to a wide-scale timber operation. One entrepreneurial businessman named George Hannahs supplemented his income by building campgrounds and lodging facilities for short-term guests who wanted to escape to the mountains. By the turn of the century, loose clusters of such short-term rentals were grouped together, and the area was officially designated “Idyllwild.” It was precisely such tourists who lobbied Congress and led to President Grover Cleveland establishing a forest reserve to save the area from destruction from the logging industry. In short, Idyllwild as we know it was built on tourism and fueled by short-term renters. It might look much different today, but the tradition of extending hospitality to visitors is woven into the very fabric of our community.

Unfortunately, a small but vocal group is now spreading misinformation about short term vacation rentals and making claims about their impact on our area that are not backed up by data. This group is seeking a moratorium on Short Term Rentals (STRS), and some who are supportive of the group’s efforts have called for the elimination of STRS altogether. Even if you don’t operate a STR of your own, some of the changes this group is lobbying for could affect your property rights. For example, the Draft Ordinance 927.1 that is before the County proposes restrictions that could dictate what color an STR owner could paint their home, or what kind of lighting they could use. It would also require owners to post a sign in front of their property with their name (or the name of their property manager), along with contact phone numbers and additional information. Not only will such signs be an eyesore in our beautiful neighborhoods, but they’re an advertisement for would-be burglars that a home is sometimes unoccupied and that neighbors are used to seeing unfamiliar faces come and go. This will almost certainly result in an uptick in crime and create neighborhoods that are less safe for all residents. Plus, advertising such names and phone numbers could lead to bad actors abusing the privacy rights of law-abiding, tax-paying homeowners. This sets a dangerous precedent. While you might not be an STR owner, it’s worth thinking about County decisions that affect property rights and how they might be applied in other situations.

While we believe in strict enforcement against noise and parking violations, proposed revisions to the Riverside County Ordinance 927 (which regulates STRS) do nothing to address the actual concerns of our community. Instead, some of these restrictions place undue burdens on property owners, many of whom are Idyllwild part-timers who rent out their homes (when not occupying them) to help pay their mortgages. Should the Ordinance go into effect as written it will likely have a real and measurable impact on the Idyllwild’s community, including impacting our local economy and your future property rights.

You can review the entire document at:

If you believe in personal property rights, we hope you’ll take a moment to make your voice heard by emailing our County representatives at [email protected], [email protected],[email protected], [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected]. Please feel free to personalize our sample letter to reflect your own concerns and the specifics of your situation.

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Dear Steven,

As a property owner in Idyllwild I have serious concerns about some of the proposed revisions to Draft Ordinance 927.1. Some of those revisions—including increased fees for homeowners, and the requirement to implement unattractive signs that will both impact the beauty of our community and attract potential burglars to homes that are sometimes unoccupied—are problematic.

Instead of addressing much-needed enforcement for noise violations and public nuisance complaints, it places undue burdens on owners and could set precedents that could infringe on the rights of all homeowners, regardless of whether or not they operate a Short Term Rental (STR). Instead of going down the slippery slope of property rights, let’s focus on the real need: enforcement of the rules that are already in place. Let’s designate a County official who can focus on enforcement, funded by the collection of the Transient Occupancy Tax, rather than putting that burden on owners.

Thank you,