Clark County seeks to tame short-term rental beast and protect neighborhoods

Forced by a new state law to confront the reality of mini-motels in southern Nevada neighborhoods, Clark County commissioners, who have ignored the issue so far, seem determined to impose significant restrictions to the nascent vacation rental industry.

The lawsponsored by Southern Nevada Congresswoman Rochelle Nguyen does not apply to HOA neighborhoods unless vacation rentals are specifically permitted in community codes, covenants and restrictions.

Las Vegas is the most profitable location in the United States to own a vacation rental, according to Airbnb data collected by Compare the Market, a UK-based price comparison site. The average monthly rent for an Airbnb in Las Vegas is almost $10,500, or 555% more than the average rent for a rental.

The revolving door of tourists entering and exiting homes in southern Nevada neighborhoods is often pits owners against each other in a battle for quality of life.

Nearly 6,000 people responded to a county-led survey that found 55% had a negative perception of STRs.

  • 66% said neighbors should be involved in the permitting process
  • 72% said safety inspections should be mandatory
  • 80% said multiple well-founded complaints should result in revocation
  • 72% do not want more than 16 occupants in a house
  • 25% don’t want more than eight guests allowed in a house
  • 77% want occupancy limited by the number of rooms
  • 70% want a maximum occupancy of two people per room

The commission is considering allowing one percent of the available housing stock to be used for vacation rentals, a threshold adopted by San Diego County. This equates to 2,849 permits in unincorporated Clark County. Currently, there are up to 12,000 unlicensed vacation rentals operating in the area.

County staff recommend that the ordinance, which must be drafted and passed by July 1, include a lottery to select the winning candidates.

Commissioners explored a number of options for stricter requirements than those included in Senate Bill 363, a bill that only applies to Clark County.

The commissioners expressed interest in increasing the state’s distance requirement from 660 feet between STRs to 1,000 feet.

In an effort to limit corporate ownership, AB 363 imposed a cap of five STR licenses for an owner or entity, such as an LLC.

“There’s nothing stopping someone from having 10 LLCs,” Commissioner Michael Naft noted.

Commissioner Tick Segerblom suggested the county require ownership information from applicants, including LLCs, and prohibit the same owner from holding more than one license.

New state law prohibits more than ten percent of units in a condominium complex from being used as STRs. Commissioner Kirkpatrick has suggested banning the use of condo units as vacation rentals.

“I’m not here to help hedge funds or people who live in other states take away the housing we need and so it seems unreal…” she said.

The application of the new ordinance, which must be adopted before July 1, is expected to be expensive.

“It’s not just 2,800 (owners) we’re going to be dealing with. We’re going to hunt thousands of them,” Commission Chairman Jim Gibson said of the thousands of illegal operators.

Segerblom, who recently held a city ​​hall on the proposed ordinance, said he did not realize when the law was passed that the rooms tax generated by the STRs went to the “largest rooms tax” .

“So I think we should ask the Legislative Assembly to review this so that council tax for these properties comes back to us,” he said. “We need to fund surveillance. It’s going to be a huge sum. »

Kirkpatrick suggested doubling the current enforcement budget to accommodate “those neighbors who don’t want it, period. I would probably be one of them. I called whenever they parked on the street or (in front of) a fire hydrant.

Gibson says the county can leverage the permit as a way to control existing nuisances.

“Now we have a completely different framework where, rather than having the kind of issues that we just have with landlords breaking the law, there’s a business license, there’s an investment, there’s something more…” he said.

Naft suggested advancing the Water District’s policy preference to “get away from the septic tank” by requiring candidates to be hooked up to the municipal sewer.

“They are now commercial places. So they should be licensed for waste as commercial…” Kirkpatrick added.

State law gives the county the ability to fine legal operators up to $1,000 per incident and illegal operators up to $10,000 per day.

A provision in the new law requires platforms such as Airbnb to include licensing information in their online advertisements to help the county identify unregulated operators.

“They don’t want to work with us today,” complained Kirkpatrick of the platforms. “They are all illegal and there are thousands of ads.”

“The reality is there are a few hundred sites, some more willing to work with us than others,” county staff member Jim Anderson said. “Some are in other countries. We have no teeth.

Comments are closed.