Valley News -

By Jeff Pack

County: Short-term rental properties in Temecula Wine Country are legal - if registered


Last updated 9/14/2018 at 3:09am

A couple of weeks ago, Valley News published an article regarding alleged misuse of Temecula Wine Country short-term rental properties regarding zoning violations and possible illegal wedding venues.

Steve Edwards, owner of Oak Mountain and Temecula Hills wineries, said in the article that the issue of private events being held repeatedly at a short-term rental properties is becoming a nuisance to the neighbors.

“I tell you what, If I had one next door, I’d be calling and complaining every single day,” he said.

According to, the short-term rental market will reach $167.9 billion by 2019. People with spare bedrooms, empty or vacation houses and short-term rental property investors have all jumped on the opportunity to capture some of that potential revenue – and Temecula Wine Country is no different.

Any given weekend, dozens of properties in wine country are rented out by families and groups looking to visit the area for the weekend and save some money on the cost to stay.

But is it legal to do so, even in wine country? The answer is yes, if the property is compliant with Riverside County Ordinance 927 adopted in January 2016.

The ordinance states, “The purpose of this ordinance is to establish regulations for the use of privately owned residential dwellings as short-term rentals to minimize the negative effects on surrounding properties.”

“The requirements for operating a short-term rental are established in the ordinance,” Ray Smith, county of Riverside Public Information Officer, said. “Property owners with permits know the regulations and are free to operate under the rules they accepted.”

Here are some of the rules for operating a short-term rental in Riverside County, as detailed in Ordinance 927.

First, the property owner must apply for and obtain a short-term rental certificate from the county of Riverside Planning Department. A first-time registration fee of $250 is charged and is valid for one year from the date of issuance. The certificate can be renewed each year for $100.

All guests must be provided a Good Neighbor Brochure, which includes a summary of the county’s regulations relating to short-term rentals. In addition, a local contact person must be designated by the owner or the owner’s authorized representative who “shall be available 24 hours per day, seven days per week for the purpose of responding within 60 minutes to complaints related to the short-term rental and taking remedial action to resolve such complaints.”

And all guests must designate a responsible person, at least 18 years of age, who is responsible for ensuring that everyone who visits the rental comply with all laws, rules and regulations.

“If a property is property is registered with the county as a short-term rental, owners may rent it out,” Smith said. “Renters are allowed to hold parties or events as long as they do not disturb the peace or otherwise violate the terms of the short-term rental ordinance.”

So, yes, short-term rentals in Temecula Wine Country can host parties. But they do have to abide by noise ordinances and that means the party has to quiet down by 10 p.m.

Smith said that neighbors who are having issues with a short-term rental in their neighborhood can call the short-term rental hotline at (888) 223-0068 during regular business hours.

He said the person at the hotline can “determine the property’s status and refer the complaint for investigation as needed.” If a complaint is necessary after business hours, Smith urged residents to call the sheriff’s department.

What happens to repeat offenders?

“If complaints continue over time, the county can revoke the permit on a properly registered short-term rental,” Smith said. He said complaints can also be made by email to [email protected]

Pertaining to weddings and special events, Smith reminded that any property in Riverside County that intends to host an event attended by 200 or more people is required to pull a temporary outdoor event permit application.

“Permits for such events are discretionary and can only be approved 10 times for any property,” he said. “It does not matter if ownership changes – 10 permits is the maximum for any property regardless of the time frame.”

As for short-term rentals that may be illegally advertising as a property for weddings or other events – Smith said they must have a special occasions facility permit from the county.

“Without that permit, a property owner would be in violation and faces enforcement action, including fines,” he said. “If it turns out that the property is not properly permitted, the case will be referred for investigation and potential enforcement.”

In addition to the fees that must be paid to the county to operate a short-term rental, a transient occupancy tax of 10 percent is collected quarterly by the county. But there may be a misconception out there of what the money is intended for. It’s not entirely devoted to managing short-term rentals or hotels in the area.

“The transient occupancy tax is not set up as a way to fund specific services related to hotels, short-term rentals, bed-and-breakfasts, etc.,” Smith said. “A portion of the TOT in Wine Country is designated for improvements in that area for things like infrastructure – maybe sewers or roads, etc. All other TOT goes to the general fund.”

Considering an assumption that most of the complaints that are generated from short-term rental property issues happen on the weekends and after hours, Smith said code enforcement needs the help of the public to inform them of potential violations.

“We urge residents and business owners to let the county know about short-term rentals that create problems in a neighborhood,” he said.

For more information on short-term rental ordinances and regulations, visit

Jeff Pack can be reached at [email protected]


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