Harrison v. City of Rancho Mirage

Facts: A condominium owner rents out their unit as a short-term vacation rental. The local government enacts an ordinance on privately owned short-term vacation rentals requiring a person over the age of 30 sign an agreement with the unit owner to be the responsible person ensuring all occupants follow the rules and regulations.

Claim: The condominium owner seeks to prevent the local government from enforcing the ordinance, claiming it violates the Unruh Civil Rights Act by restricting short-term vacation rentals to persons at least 30 years of age, exposing the owner to liability in a potential civil suit, since the law prohibits a business establishment from discriminating in housing or other accommodations on the basis of age.

Counterclaim: The government seeks to continue enforcement of the local ordinance, claiming the Unruh Civil Rights Act does not apply to municipal legislation since the act only applies to businesses and the local government is not a business establishment.

Holding: A California court of appeals holds the ordinance is enforceable since it does not violate the Unruh Civil Rights Act as the act does not apply to local legislation, only business establishments. [Harrison v. City of Rancho Mirage (December 18, 2015) __CA4th__]

Read the text of the case.

Editor’s note – See the Guest Occupancy Agreement — For Transient Occupancy Properties. [See RPI Form 593]

This form is used by a vacation rental operator when entering into a guest’s occupancy of a vacation property, hotel, motel, inn, boarding house, lodging house, tourist home or similar transient accommodations for a period of 30 days or less, to document the terms of a guest’s occupancy.

For further reading on the Unruh Civil Rights Act, see Fair Housing, Chapter 4: California protected civil rights.