County approves fees and tax on short-term rental properties

Owners of short-term rental properties in unincorporated Clark County will be required to follow a series of new regulations, including paying a $300 license fee and a $12.5-50 lodging tax. 13.5% on each rental.

The Clark County Commission on Tuesday approved the standards, which state that each rental cannot accommodate more than 10 people and properties must be within 2,500 feet of a resort. Additionally, owners can only be licensed for one property.

The order was prompted by the Nevada Legislature, which mandated the county in 2021 to allow short-term rentals on sites like Airbnb and Vrbo.

The county will begin accepting applications in September, officials said. After a period of six months, all approved applications will be placed in a random number generator to assign licenses. Only 1% of properties in the county can be licensed.

There are approximately 10,000 illegal short-term rental properties in the county. Unauthorized persons will be fined $1,000 to $10,000 depending on “the seriousness of the violation, whether the person who committed the violation acted in good faith, and any history of prior violations” related to short-term housing term, according to the order.

All other violations, such as a party house with too many occupants, will result in a fine of $500 to $1,000. For any property flagged for violating any part of the order, listing requests — like Airbnb — will have five days to remove the listing from the property’s site.

Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick says the ordinance is “aiming to preserve neighborhoods”, but many property owners who would be affected by stricter regulations expressed concerns at the meeting.

Hernaldo Diaz told commissioners his mother worked in the casino industry for 12 years before she was injured in 2018, which left her without a job or income during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although Diaz was sending her money, her mother started renting out part of her house. to help pay his mortgage. “A lot of people who do Airbnb aren’t big business, they’re just normal families just trying to make some extra money,” Diaz said. “I just feel like it’s unfair that people like my mum are shut out of the market because of the regulations. [the board of commissioners] pass.”

Resident Shirl Woods, who is ‘semi-retired’ and spent three years as a short-term rental owner, said ‘people who come to short-term rentals don’t necessarily come to casinos’ and are “completely different” from what some might assume about short-term renters.

Even former hosts and tenants – not owners – of short-term units seemed to show their support.

In an emotional appeal to the board, Henderson resident Jennifer Pierce described how short-term rentals could help her family, who have been displaced due to a leak in their home. They move from hotel to hotel every three weeks and many legal properties in the area are full.

“If you know better, you do better,” Pierce said. “Grant a license to everyone out there, give them the opportunity for their families, for this community and for Las Vegas.

In a response from Airbnb’s Western US Public Policy Officer, John Choi wrote in a statement that Airbnb hosts “have offered to work with Clark County Commissioners” and that the new rules “are stricter than required by state law and will take money out of the pockets of Nevada residents and the local tourism economy.”

Even with hindsight, the commissioners stressed their willingness to work with people on all sides on this issue and possibly consider easing some of the restrictions in the future.

“Some of the things that [people] object are not under our control, some of the things [people] object are definitely within our control,” Commissioner Jim Gibson said. “I think the most important thing we can say is that we are making an effort to comply with the law and to respond to what we hear in the community.”

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