Vacation rental regulations face strong opposition from Incline Village

“Looking for a short-term rental property up to $ 10 million,” Trent Jones, a Lake Tahoe real estate agent, wrote in an email to colleagues. “The buyer wants a detailed financial history with expense reports if possible.”

Once the purview of owners trying to make a few bucks on a spare bedroom, short-term rental has become an industry, albeit largely unregulated.

“There is a role model,” says Pamela Tsigdinos, resident of Incline Village., who says his house is surrounded by three short-term rentals. “Investors are finding parts of the United States that are attractive and are starting to turn them into hotels. ”

The average selling price of a single-family home in Incline Village rose 186% last year to $ 1.39 million, according to Red tuna.

Like Las Vegas and Reno, Lake Tahoe is a tourist destination, dotted with hotels and restaurants for outsiders. Vacation rentals are nothing new.

Illegal use?

In 2004, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) defined “vacation rentals” as “residential use” and entered into an agreement with surrounding counties and towns to regulate them.

Ronda Tycer, a resident of Incline Village, says Washoe County has never changed its code to comply with the agreement.

“So DOS continues to this day to be an illegal use of property in Washoe County,” she said.

Washoe County disagrees and said so in 2019 when it asked staff to clarify conflicting provisions in the code.

“On February 26, 2019, the Commission determined that by adopting amendments… report.

Not only does the code not define or mention short-term rentals, it also exempts any owner-occupied accommodation from the temporary accommodation tax – the very device that gave rise to the phenomenon of shared accommodation.

In the city of Las Vegas, only owner-occupied homes are allowed to take short-term tenants.

Washoe County intends to introduce an ordinance later this month to regulate short-term rentals. The Incline Village community advisory board voted on Monday to recommend that the ordinance not be approved.

Among their concerns:

  • The ordinance does not require hosts to be permanent residents.
  • It does not limit the number of STRs owned by a single host.
  • The neighbors are already disturbed by the time they file a complaint.
  • The ordinance does nothing to preserve the value of homes or work to make housing affordable.
  • Most buyers looking for a home to live in don’t want to buy next to an STR, and some lending agencies restrict lending to areas or complexes with a high rental ratio.
  • The ordinance will change the character of the sloping village from a residential area to a tourist resort.

The Washoe report estimates the number of STRs in the county “to be between about 500 and 1,000 distinct units active at any given time, varying widely with the time of year.”

“The majority of STRs are located in Incline Village / Crystal Bay, and over 90% are estimated to be entire house rentals,” he says.

“At the high end, this represents about 12.5% ​​of the housing stock in Incline Village / Crystal Bay. It’s on par with other jurisdictions in the Tahoe region… ”the report says.

“In 2019, the Washoe County host community earned $ 9.3 million in additional revenue, while welcoming more than 46,000 guests to the county, ”says Airbnb.

FY STR Taxable Returned

2014-15 $ 8,269,225

2015-16 $ 11,524,801

2016-17 $ 15,808,661

2017-18 $ 17,884,656

2018-19 $ 21,865,673

2019-20 $ 23,578,124


Source: Convention Authority and Reno Sparks Visitors

For the fiscal year ending June 2020, the Reno Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority, which collects and distributes room tax in Washoe County, reported short-term rentals generated $ 23.5 million in revenue and were taxed between 13 and 13.5 percent, depending on the jurisdiction.

“Not a dime came to Incline Village,” says Tsigdinos. “Washoe County has complete authority over how this money is raised and how it is used.”

“Under state law, 3.3125% of all taxable room income reported in Incline Village and Crystal Bay is distributed monthly to the Incline Village Crystal Bay visitor’s office,” says McDonald.

Additionally, 1% of all taxable bedroom income reported in Incline Village and Crystal Bay is distributed to Washoe County on a monthly basis.

But without a licensing system, Washoe County lacks revenue for the app. Room tax revenue may only be used for purposes approved by law.

Residents of toney Incline Village, home to Nevada’s most expensive residential properties, say they’re fed up with local governments reaping the tax benefits derived from STRs while doing nothing to preserve the value of their investments.

“There is no cap on the number of rentals in the ordinance. There may be a way around a complete ban, ”Tsigdinos said, adding that a ban would be too difficult to enforce.

A “mini-Las Vegas”

Some residents support the ordinance. Tahoe, they say, is a tourist town.

“This idea that Lake Tahoe was always meant to be a playground is a mistake. The challenge for us who are worried that the county has not done a good job is that there is this industrialization of short-term rentals, ”explains Tsigdinos.

“It is true that the original plans of the Crystal Bay Development Company quickly evolved into a concept for a ‘mini-Las Vegas’ on the shores of Lake Tahoe,” says Richard Miner, a resident who opposes the ordinance. as written. “But it all ended quickly with the formation of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.”

“As we and other Tahoe communities are seeing, the entire preservation of the Lake Tahoe Basin is now on the line. And the question is, what are the stewards going to do with this national treasure? Minor asks.

Washoe County was unable to immediately respond to questions and directed the flow to its staff report.

Tsigdinos says Airbnb “clearly got hold of this order,” referring to correspondence unearthed via government document requests, in which Airbnb protested a provision requiring a 30-minute response time for complaints. Washoe County held its own on response time, despite company protests.

“Committed to transparency”

In 2016, RSCVA entered into an agreement with Airbnb to collect taxes on guest rooms and remit them to the agency. The RSCVA, which says it is committed to transparency, has accepted a provision that allows Airbnb to keep the locations of DOSs and the names of their owners confidential.

“The reason we entered into this agreement was to collect the maximum amount of room tax,” says Ben McDonald, RSCVA communications director.

“Counties don’t want to work with a hundred different hosts,” says Julie Davies, STR host and educator, who says RSCVA’s deal with Airbnb offers no transparency.

“When you look at the statistics and (reservation) calendars, the tax collection is sometimes twenty to thirty percent less than it should be,” she says. “As a hosting entity, I am ultimately responsible. If I were audited I wouldn’t know if they paid for it or not.

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