Riverside County to toughen oversight of vacation rental "party houses"

The number of
The number of "party houses" — vacation homes people rent to throw huge parties in — is on the rise in Riverside County.
Rohner Studio/Flickr

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Riverside County is vowing to keep a closer watch on vacation house rentals. The county says people frequently use those houses for raves and other large gatherings that disrupt neighborhoods.

In some cases, renters use the vacation getaways for what neighbors say are "commercial purposes": Someone rents the property, stages a party and charges people to attend.

“For the last eight months we’ve been suffering from a party house," says Vickie Long, a resident in upscale La Cresta. "We’ve had multiple ones over the years, this one is the most egregious.”

La Cresta is an unincorporated area near Temecula where party houses are fraying both nerves and local infrastructure.

“They had raw sewage coming from the septic tank," she complains, "because they were having parties every weekend [with] over 250 people. And when code enforcement came out they dropped it down to just under 200 so they could continue to function.”

Riverside County Supervisor Bob Buster has proposed a countywide crackdown.

“I don’t know if this stems solely from the recession and foreclosure crisis but clearly there’s been enough cases of disruption," says Buster.

If approved, the plan would give county planning and code enforcement greater oversight over so-called party houses.

"The county needs to get out in front of this," says Buster, maintaining that the county needs to structure itself in order "to enforce and hopefully prevent this kind of thing from occurring.”

Supervisors directed county staff to draft revised rules on permits for vacation rentals, including a possible cap on the number of people allowed on a property at one time.