Restricting short-term rentals in Nevada is playing a bad hand

Short-term rentals have long offered Nevada residents the opportunity to earn extra money for themselves and their families. This can be a significant source of income for many Nevadans looking to participate in our state’s robust tourism and concert economy.

It has also been a boon for visitors, as anyone who has ever planned a vacation using one of the many short term rental apps can attest.

What happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas: A tourist can attack the Strip or Fremont in the afternoon and retreat in the evening – or early in the morning, as the case may be – to a rental property away from the crowds. and high city prices.

It was a good arrangement for visitors and owners.

No dice, said the Las Vegas Planning Commission, when in 2018 it passed an ordinance placing severe restrictions on short-term home rentals. Since then, commissioners for unincorporated Clark County – which covers the area of ​​most property owners engaged in the operation of short-term rentals – have imposed an outright ban on short-term rentals with a fine. of $ 1,000 per day for all owners who were found. illegally renting their house or room for less than 30 days. This led the county to impose hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and placing liens on dozens of properties found to violate the new rules.

In some municipalities, only owners who live in their properties can rent houses to tourists, but they have to pay exorbitant license fees and a monthly “hotel tax”. For example, Henderson allows short-term rentals in residential areas, but owners must pay a license fee of $ 820.

In a state with a wealthy tourism industry, we are sabotaging our stronghold with these unnecessary regulations, a situation gamers might call a “bad beat”. They make it harder for people to visit, admire the sights and enjoy our rich history. They also make it more difficult for residents to earn additional income to support themselves.

The concert economy has dramatically expanded opportunities in recent years for those who have more time, goods, and services to quickly and easily meet the needs of countless Americans. In times of economic crisis, stage work has enabled millions of people to earn a living, something indispensable for the unemployed or underemployed, or for those who cannot support a traditional working schedule.

While proponents of these restrictions claim they are necessary to reduce noise complaints in residential areas, they forget that the city has long required future tenants to apply for a special permit before offering their homes to guests, which reduced the number of noises. offenses. In addition, there are local ordinances that regulate noise violations that the city should enforce in the valley, whether it is a property for short or long term rental.

In practice, restricting short-term rentals has only protected established hotels from competition to the detriment of smaller owners. That’s not reason enough to keep these bad laws on the books, and state legislators should pass legislation to remove these onerous barriers.

Lawmakers should support Senate Bill 322, introduced by Senator Carrie Buck (R-Henderson), which would legalize short-term rentals by prohibiting cities and counties from restricting the right of landlords to rent their primary residence for less than 28 days. It would also remove the unnecessary owner occupancy requirement, allowing owners to rent to visitors throughout our state. Tenants should be able to register with a business license and pay taxes levied by local municipalities through the ability to have third-party platforms collected and handed over to the government.

SB322 would also reduce the severity of fines and excessive fees that hit short-term tenants. Rather than slapping landowners with these hefty fines as a first resort, we should give them a chance to put things right and comply with local regulations.

This would allow more Nevadans and their families to take advantage of the opportunities of the growing concert economy. And that would help more visitors to our state see what Nevada is all about.

Wiz Rouzard is the director of core operations for Americans for Prosperity-Nevada.

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