Instructions and Sample Letter for STR Owners/Operators:


Is your ability to rent out your vacation home in jeopardy? As you may already be aware, the Riverside County Planning Department has prepared a Draft Ordinance (927.1) that seeks to revise regulations and establish standards for Short Term Rentals (STRS) in the unincorporated areas of the County, including Idyllwild-Pine-Cove-Mountain Center. While regulations and standards are crucial to safe and nondisruptive operation, the County’s proposal is ineffective and potentially counterproductive in addressing the actual concerns that have been expressed by our community.

We’ve drafted a sample letter that you can send to the County by emailing Steven Jones at [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected]. It’s important that they hear from responsible STR owners. If you only have time to cut and paste the below, please do so. The most effective communication, however, is the one you personalize. Tell your representatives a bit about yourself and your situation. Let’s dispel the false perception that Idyllwild’s STR owners are greedy or irresponsible. Let them know what, specifically, disturbs you about Draft Ordinance 927.1.

While our focus is primarily on registration fees, burdensome signage, and the lack of both data and much-needed enforcement, there are other provisions in the ordinance that might concern you. For example:

Section 8(D) stipulates that “a Short Term Rental shall not change the residential character of the outside appearance of the residence including color, material, lighting or any advertising mechanism.” While the intent seems obvious, could such a provision be inappropriately enforced to keep an owner from painting his or her own home?

Section 8(I) states that “the maximum occupancy of a Short Term Rental shall be: two (2) persons per every one (1) off-street parking space provided onsite; one (1) person per every two hundred (200) square feet of building area, excluding garages or other accessory buildings; or sixteen (16) persons, whichever is least.” If you have a 790 square foot cabin with two bedrooms and two queen beds, for example, you would still be excluded from renting to a family of four.

You can review the entire document at:

There is a small but vocal group in Idyllwild that wants to severely limit and potentially restrict STRS, which could have very real consequences for your property rights. They are making themselves heard by County officials, so please make sure you are doing the same. While we’re focusing on the key points outlined in the sample letter, let the County know if there are proposals here that would adversely affect you or create unintended consequences. The important thing is that they hear our feedback as they consider changes that will have a direct impact us. Time is of the essence, as these provisions are up for review very soon. Don’t delay. Let our representatives hear from you today!


Dear Steven, 

I’m a Riverside County homeowner who makes my property available as a Short Term Rental (STR). I’m concerned that the draft Ordinance 927.1 falls shy of addressing the real issues that the unincorporated areas of Idyllwild, Pine Cove, and Mountain Center are currently facing. Specifically, I’m writing to urge the County to reconsider the proposed signage and increased Certificate fees. Let’s shift our focus to collecting revenue from Transient Occupancy Taxes and violation fines so that we can fund the kind of enforcement that will actually address our community’s complaints. Rather than additional regulations and increased STR Certificate fees, we need a dedicated County enforcement officer who can respond to disturbances of the peace by issuing noise citations, have illegally-parked vehicles ticketed or towed away, and levy fines for other infractions.

Unfortunately, Draft Ordinance 927.1 proposes revisions that will create more bureaucracy and place additional burdens on owners without addressing our community’s concerns. For example, Section 10 (B) requires the owner or operator to self-report any complaints without specifying what action the County will take. An owner could have his or her Certificate revoked for a failing to do so within two business days, but what is the responsibility of the County once such self-reporting takes place? Additionally, per Section 8 (N), owners will be required to post a sign 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.     

While Draft Ordinance 927.1 will increase permit fees, it does nothing to increase the practical enforcement of the violations most affecting area residents. In fact, it could prove counterproductive. The reality is that Idyllwild vacation rentals have operated without permits for decades—especially properties that owners reserve for their own part-time personal use. Many of these part-time STRs could revert to illegally operating without a permit if the licensing fees prove burdensome or they’re forced to put up signage that could put their properties at risk for theft.

Rather than unfairly increasing fees and regulations across the board, we urge the County to instead earmark a portion of Transient Occupancy Taxes to fund actual, practical enforcement. Fees for violations could provide supplemental revenue to fund such enforcement. This approach is most equitable, as it makes enforcement commensurate with revenue. A small cabin that is rented only a few weeks per year when not in use by the owner should not share the same enforcement cost as a large home that is rented much more consistently.

It is my hope that, once the County decides on a singular agency for enforcement of 927, a database will be established to track all complaints and violations. This will give us all a better understanding of the scope of any problems created by STRs and help us to continue to fine tune the processes.

In the meantime, I again urge the County to reconsider the proposed signage and increased Certificate fees. Let’s shift our focus to collecting revenue from Transient Occupancy Taxes and violation fines so that we can fund the kind of enforcement that will actually address our community’s complaints.

Thank you,