In Joshua Tree, are 1,818 Airbnbs too many?

Tonya Hansel, 36, who has lived in the neighborhood since the age of 4, shares this concern. For eight years, she has been cleaning short-term rentals. She often works seven days a week to make ends meet. Still, when it comes to seeing her 14-year-old daughter, it’s better than her previous gig as a body piercer, she said.

But last month, she lost what allowed her family to survive on $65 to $150 per household: her rent of $575 a month.

In 2014, when she moved into her two-bedroom apartment north of downtown Joshua Tree, there were only a handful of short-term rentals nearby, but they were in more neighborhoods. pleasant.

But then investors began to see his neighborhood as prime accommodation territory. At first, when renovators outnumbered heavy drug users, “it cleaned up the neighborhood,” she said. But then it got weird when she realized that the families she used to meet had disappeared and that virtually every house was a short-term rental with “the same white, black and gray paint, a shiny fence and fairy lights”.

These didn’t seem to belong to the “hodgepodge of artists and crackpots” – like his client, Mr. Giuliano of the Desert Yacht Club. Rather, they seemed to be owned by people who viewed rentals as “easy money”.

In January, Ms. Hansel learned that her lease would be terminated in 60 days because her landlord was renovating. It’s impossible to find a place, she said in February, as she began to pack her bags, “because it’s either an Airbnb or it’s three times what I can afford.” .

At the last minute, she found an $800 temporary room in Landers, about 15 miles from Joshua Tree. It’s not ideal, Ms Hansel said, noting that her daughter can no longer walk to school. But, she said, “we’re safe for now.”

Margie D. Carlisle