Indio targets cash stream from Coachella and Stagecoach festivals

New fees for short-term rentals to be in place for Coachella, Stagecoach events

10:39 PM, Mar. 7, 2012 |
Written by Xochitl Peña The Desert Sun

INDIO — Homeowners looking to make a quick buck by renting a room or their home for an upcoming concert may have to fork over $100 first in order to do so legally.

The Indio City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a $40 short-term rental processing fee that will have to be paid on top of a $60 business license tax.

The new processing fee is in addition to an existing 10 percent transient occupancy tax the owners of short-term rentals have to submit to the city on a quarterly basis.

The new fee will be in effect in time for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival concert that runs two weekends this year, April 13-15 and April 20-22, and Stagecoach country music festival, April 27-29.

The popular annual events attract hundreds of thousands of people from throughout the world who rent homes in Indio and neighboring communities while in town.

The city is expected to handle short-term rental issues such as noise complaints from neighbors and the city should be compensated, Mayor Glenn Miller said.

Some of those short-term rental owners are not happy with the recent changes.

Alex Napier thinks the new fee and requirement for a business license is unnecessary and just another way for the city to benefit from the festivals.

“I'm concerned this is not a fair proposal. We've rented rooms in our home since 2009 and we haven't once required additional city services,” she said “People are grateful to have a place to stay. It helps pay the mortgage.”

A short-term rental law approved last month and the new tax approved Wednesday are intended to mainly target people who rent entire homes or cram numerous people into one bedroom. Not the quiet, occasional renter of a bedroom like Napier, Miller said
“We understand, but we have to look at the overall quality of life of all residents,” he said.

And exceptions can't be made, he added.

“Where do you start and stop?” Miller said.

Resident Victor Simmons said he is OK with paying the fees. What he is not OK with is being treated like a hotel and having to pay the 10 percent TOT to the city on a quarterly basis.

“I get you have to pay that tax. But I'm renting out a futon in my daughter's bedroom and I have to pay the city. That is counterproductive,” he said.

To get people to register their properties and obtain the appropriate licenses, the city will waive the $75 business licensing processing fee for six months.

That's why the fee right now for short-term rental owners is $100 — the $40 short-term rental processing fee and a $60 business license tax.
If owners wait until after Sept. 7, the $100 fee rises $75 to include the business licensing processing fee.

After the initial registration, owners will then have to pay $8 to renew the business license. The $40 short-term rental processing fee would have to be renewed each year.

Other valley cities such as Palm Springs, Palm Desert and Rancho Mirage already regulate short-term rentals and require such fees.