Members raise questions about proposed rule for lessees

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At Tuesday’s regular meeting of the CLPOA Board of Directors, many members of the audience were in attendance to hear how the Directors would vote on a proposed rule having to do with lessees.

After providing a 30-day reading, Directors were scheduled to vote on “General Rules – Section 3.8 Lessee Requirements Proposed Revised Rule” that includes a number of new provisions questioned by members of the audience during the comment period. (Visit canyonlakepoa.com for a full reading of the proposed rule.)

Several members challenged the legality of the proposed rule and requested that the Board form a panel or committee made up of real estate agents, property owners whose homes are for rent and longterm homeowners to research the issue more closely and come up with reasonable solutions to alleged problems created by lessees.

One of the paragraphs in the proposed rule that raised the most questions reads as follows: “Owner may not enter lease agreements of any kind for less than 30 days. Owner shall not lease property in excess of the number of permitted occupants. The permitted number of occupants is three people per every 900 square feet or 1.5 people per bathroom or 1.5 people per bedroom, whichever is greater.”

Member George Irvine offered several observations, one of them being that permitted occupancy in the proposed rule violates federal law allowing two people per bedroom, plus children.

Speaking for homeowners who own short term rentals, Chuck Whitehead, general manager of Coldwell Banker, said people come from all over the world to rent a home in Canyon Lake for a weekend or a week to 10 days, sometimes to see if they want to move here. There are also buyers and sellers who sometimes need a place to stay for a few days until an escrow closes.

He asked that, at the very least, the Board provide a grandfather clause for homeowners who already own short term rental properties.

The next speaker, Rhonda Morgan, a property owner and attorney, pointed out that there needs to be a reasonable basis to change people’s fundamental property rights. Canyon Lake originally started out as a weekend retreat and many people bought houses with the intention of staying in them on occasion, and renting them out when they aren’t in town.

Another speaker, Larry Neigel, said that as a Board member several years ago, he had proposed better governance and documentation of tenants; however, he believes this proposed rule is too far-reaching with negative ramifications, one of which is requiring a homeowner to grant the Association the right to evict a lessee at its discretion under certain conditions.

John Giardinelli, an attorney and former CLPOA President, noted that Realtor associations are concerned about the ambiguity of the proposed rule, so much so that Gene Wunderlich, director of government affairs for the Southwest Riverside County Association of Realtors, was standing outside the meeting hoping to speak on the issue. Because he isn’t a property owner, Mr. Wunderlich wasn’t allowed into Tuesday’s meeting.

Several other members spoke on the issue, with only one, John Stelzner, saying the rule doesn’t go far enough in addressing the problems created by vacation rentals turned into party houses.

After listening to member comments, Directors voted to table the proposed rule for further investigation.

Another proposed rule that was tabled at Tuesday’s meeting was “Shorezone Maintenance Planning and Compliance – Section 9.7a.” It reads: “Water edge is defined as the high or low water mark. All lakefront lots shall be maintained in a neat and attractive condition, and all weeds, leaves and debris must be removed to the water’s edge. All landscaping, including trees and bushes from the water’s edge to the property line shall be maintained by the property owner. Shorezone improvements, including but not limited to docks, ramps, sun decks and all appurtenances thereto and other encroaching structures, shall be maintained in a neat and attractive condition and good repair. Failure to comply with the above may result in a fine in the amount of $100 per month.”

Director Eric Spitzer and several members questioned whether homeowners should be held responsible to clear weeds growing at the water’s edge when that property legally belongs to the Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District. Eric pointed out that the shore can be rocky, slippery and dangerous, and he asked Legal Counsel to weigh in on whether homeowners should be required to maintain it.

Sandy Healy, Director of Operations, explained that Operations used to be able to treat weeds in the Shorezone with chemicals, but EVMWD no longer allows the use of chemicals. Now, certain types of grass and weeds are growing from member’s properties out into the lake and need to be controlled.

The Directors agreed that this part of the proposed rule needs further investigation.

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