Tahoe areas, except Incline Village, crack down on vacation rentals

You cannot rent a vacation home in the residential areas of South Lake Tahoe. The City of California allows short-term rentals (STRs) only in designated tourist areas.

Short-term rentals in neighboring Douglas County are capped at 600, with the exception of those also owner-occupied.

And in Placer County, on the California side of the lake, a 45-day moratorium imposed in July on new STRs to “deal with an unprecedented and growing housing crisis in the region” was extended to March 2022, citing a “current and immediate threat to public health, safety and welfare associated with the proliferation of STRs”.

By the end of July, Placer County had approved 2,383 STR units for the year. Seasonal rentals represent “around 15% of the total 15,747 housing units “in the eastern part of the county,” where the median price of a home has more than doubled from $ 660,000 in April 2020 to $ 1,342,000 in April 2021 ”, according to the county site.

“The housing problems in our community have intensified dramatically and investments in homes to be used as short-term rentals have helped inflate property values ​​beyond the reach of local workers,” the district supervisor said. 5, Cindy Gustafson, in a statement. “We need some downtime to study this and really understand what is going on to improve our short-term rental ordinance.”

Some residents of the sloping Nevada village fear that tighter regulations in neighboring areas will lead to increased demand for STR as they please.

In 2020, Washoe County estimated that 90% of vacation rentals in the unincorporated county were in Incline Village / Crystal Bay.

“STRs make up about 12.5% ​​of the housing stock in Incline Village / Crystal Bay,” the county said in a presentation.

The median price of a single-family home in Incline Village is $ 1.9 million. It peaked at $ 2.45 million in April, the month after Washoe County approved its STR order.

Since then, Washoe County has licensed less than half of Incline Village and Crystal Bay’s short-term rentals currently advertised on Airbnb and other vacation rental platforms, according to data provided by the county.

“Right now we’re at 790 advertised, but the other day it was 810, so it’s fluctuating,” says Mojra Hauenstein., director of planning and construction division rental units reported to Washoe County by Host Compliance, a provider that tracks STR listings online.

Of the roughly 800 units advertised on Airbnb, VRBO and other sites as Incline Village / Crystal Bay vacation rentals, the county has licensed 348 properties to operate as STRs, Haunstein said.

County spokeswoman Bethany Drysdale was unable to comment on how much the county has collected in fines against violators since the order was passed in March.

A workshop is scheduled for Tuesday to gather public comment, but the county has no plans to significantly change its laws, according to Hauenstein.

“In January, we are going to see the board of directors for guidance and clarification. We are not going to change the prescription itself, ”she said in a telephone interview. “Basically, it’s just minor. I hate to say the word “tweaks”, but it really is. ”

I think it’s trying to appease us somehow because they already know the outcome, ”says Dr Staci Baker, a Tahoe vet from the workshop. Baker, an advocate for wildlife, says vacationers routinely ignore warnings and procedures to protect food and waste, especially bears, which are then considered “too friendly” and, as a result, are euthanized by Nevada wildlife officials.

The Washoe County ordinance places no limit on the number or density of vacation rentals.

A 96-unit condominium complex at 123 Juanita has 26 licensed DOSs, according to county records. In contrast, the town of Henderson in southern Nevada limits STRs in a complex to 25% of units.

Judith Miller, a year-round resident of Incline Village, does not want an STR ban, but would like to see restrictions on rentals occupied by non-owners, such as those imposed by Douglas County. She believes Washoe County is trying to appease residents by hosting a workshop.

“I think the fact that they won’t make any substantial change after promising the audience that they are going to do it is kind of a wellness exercise, a show of dogs and ponies,” said said Miller, a former member. from the community advisory board who says she’s been asking the county to limit STRs for seven years. “This is what I got.”

“The goal of public input is to get a feel for how the ordinance works since it’s brand new, to provide these comments to the commissioners, and then to receive further guidance from them before proposing any changes.” , if it’s even necessary given the comments, ”said Drysdale, spokesperson for Washoe County. “We would be remiss not to involve residents along the way. “

“They really see this little piece of Washoe County as a cash cow, and anyway they can make some income, a bonus for them,” said Pamela Tsigdinos, a resident of Incline, who is concerned the county may be. lifts the current occupancy requirements for vacation rentals.

Tsigdinos says the county is putting residents and visitors at risk. “We couldn’t evacuate if we had to. We don’t even receive funds from transitional occupancy taxes. This funds a Reno Bond measure for a Bowling Hall of Fame.

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