Joshua Tree Airbnb Rentals in 2020

8 Replies

I'm currently looking at buying, rehabbing and renting out vacation rentals in joshua tree on airbnb. Mostly looking to do higher end rentals in the $200-$300 / night range. 

I've seen a lot of posts on this forum from back in 2017-2018. Seems like prices have gone up since then and the new STR ordinance was passed recently that is suppose to reduce the supply of unpermitted dwellings like cabins and tents.

I'm curious to hear from any investors that own short term rentals in the Joshua tree area how things have changed and what they are doing to adapt to the new rules.

Anything you can share on your experience with j tree airbnb's would be great!

I don't know what I'm doing wrong, but I can't seem to add you, so that I can DM you. Anyways, I am a Joshua Tree native, although I currently live in OC and a lot of my work is in LA. I currently have two Airbnbs there that have been in operation since early 2018. Happy to connect and share my thoughts.

We own two STRs in the Flamingo Heights neighborhood of Yucca Valley (in the JT area). When Covid hit, we moved here permanently and have been renting while trying to find another house to buy. Our plan was to buy a house here and then live in it while we renovate and get it ready to launch as another Airbnb. BUT, we have been searching for almost four months now, and it has been impossible to find any property even half as good as our first two STRs, and they're all double the price that they were in 2017. In January 2017, we paid $560k for TWO houses (2 bed/ 2 bath) sitting side-by-side on 10 total acres. Now, our budget is $600k for just ONE house, and we can't find anything good for that price. We're pretty picky about what we want (main thing is privacy and to be away from neighbors), but for $600k, you'd think we'd be able to find a fixer-upper that meets our needs. And when we do see something that could maybe work, it gets bought up for cash with multiple offers before we even get a chance to see it. I'm starting to think that this market is too saturated and isn't really a great investment for Airbnbs anymore... which sucks because all of our friends live out here and we really want to buy here so we can keep hanging out with them. I'd really love to figure out where the next "Joshua Tree" is... a desert city that's up-and-coming that people haven't found out about yet... and preferably within an hour or two driving distance from JT. Something like Lake Arrowhead or Idyllwild, but in the desert. So if anyone has any ideas on where this could be, please let me know! :)

Has anyone on the forum dealt with a detached building when they apply for their STR permit through San Bernardino county? I am evaluating a house now in Joshua Tree in RL (rural living) zoning and want to eventually rent it out short term when I'm away. The property includes a 600 sq ft detached building that probably used to be a garage, but was converted beautifully to a studio apartment with bathroom, kitchenette, and looks to be up to code. Electric outlets every 10 feet, windows, sliding door, etc.

my big concern is- to get my STR permit, are they going to make me build a new carport to replace the converted garage? I've heard but not confirmed that for RL zoning, a carport replacement is not required. Whenever I call the SB County asking questions of what I would need to do in order to include that studio as part of the STR listing (put a bed in the studio), they have no answers for me. I've asked where on their website I can read the rules or ordinances, and they only have 1 str ordinance online that doesn't answer this question.

Has anyone dealt with this? I want to ensure that I can include that building as a habitable space as part of the listing, but no one can give me answers on the hoops I may need to jump through or the money I would need to spend.

@John D. , Regarding parking on JT-RL5 zoning, from what I've understood, there must be a clearly designated area on the property reserved strictly for parking and room for enough cars to meet the occupancy requirements outlined in the SB County STR Ordinance but a formal garage or carport is unnecessary. This may change over time but this is the way it stands now from what I've been told by county reps.

Thanks @Jason Kudo It seems like the stars are aligning. Just 30min ago I was able to connect with someone at the county (shout out to "Jeffrey") who guided me to this document page 3-114 confirming in writing that, "In the Valley and Desert Regions, the covered parking requirement only applies to the RS and RM Land Use Zoning Districts." So if you're in RL zoning, and have to convert a garage, you don't need a replacement garage or carport. And I am assuming that applies to new builds as well (that you dont need to build covered parking in RL)? I should have asked the champ Jeffrey, but I'll try him later :) 

So there you go - if ya don't know, now ya know.

@John D. - LOL, I'm pretty sure the county figured this out because of us! They kept insisting that we had to build a covered parking structure, so finally we had my husband's mom look up the code (she's a land use lawyer), and I sent the code snippet to the county, and they were like... oh yeah, you're right. Too funny. Good to hear they're not giving other people the trouble they gave us about the covered parking!