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County to take up issue of short-term rentals

By Carla O'Day

Washoe County commissioners are scheduled at their next meeting to discuss standards for short-term rentals in unincorporated areas, which has been a hot topic among Lake Tahoe-area residents.

Washoe County staff drafted short-term rental recommendations based on research and analysis, along with feedback from public meetings. A hearing is scheduled at 10 a.m. Nov. 12 in the County Commission Chambers, 1001 E. Ninth St., Building A.

Commissioners will be asked to either confirm the proposals or provide additional policy direction prior to county staff releasing specific code language for further review. Policies to be addressed include general standards, permitting, parking, occupancy limits, safety and inspections, external signage, noise, trash and penalties.

Short-term rentals refer to properties often promoted as vacation rentals — most commonly homes, apartments and condominiums — made available through management companies and online booking services. They are generally booked for fewer than 28 days.

Concerns that came out of county meetings, along with public surveys, were outlined by county staff with possible solutions.

For example, citizens said renters aren’t always honest about how many guests they are inviting. Too many people equates to excess noise, lack of parking and potential safety issues, feedback indicated.

Possible solutions include requiring a local property manager to act as a contact person in the event of over occupancy and to mandate liability insurance in case properties are damaged by renters. Limiting the number of guests allowed based on a measure, such as square footage, number of bedrooms and amount of parking spaces was another proposal.

Some indicated renting their homes makes living in the Tahoe area more affordable, others said tourists help the local economy, and a few said such rentals reduce the need for building hotels.

According to Washoe County, unofficial estimates put the number of short-term rentals between 500 and 1000 at any given time, representing up to 12.5 percent of housing stock in Incline Village and Crystal Bay. Data varies greatly by time of year.

Information

Additional information is available at www.washoecounty.us/str.
For questions or feedback on short-term rentals, email [email protected]

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