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The City Council will be considering additional amendments to its Vacation Home Rental Ordinance in early June. The City Council directed staff to bring back proposed amendments to include a process for new VHR permits in residential areas, which will require notification of neighbors and solicit public input before issuance of a new VHR permit is considered.

What criteria do you think should be included for a VHR permit be issued in residential areas?

Staff will include your suggestions in drafting the amendments to the ordinance.


    In identifying and quantifying the 'issue' city staff presented the following data for the first 9 months of 2014  158 of 626 calls for “music or party” disturbance were VHR (25%)  That's it. No other information was presented or requested to diagnose the 'problem'. How many 1st violation citations were issued? How many 2nd and 3rd? How many permits were revoked? What were the answers to these questions for each of the years 2011-2014? Where in the original ordinance does it provide the compliance official daily discretion for giving a verbal warning on a verified violation? What are compliance response times to complaints? Answers to these and many other questions might help clarify whether it is an ordinance structure or compliance enforcement problem and provide guidance in developing a solution.

    The absence of this data and the fact that 75% of the violations are city resident based, yet the solution targets VHR indicating a bias against VHR.

    IDEA: Suspend implementation or VHR Ordinance Revisions Pending Proper Analysis

    0 Comments 4 Votes Created

    The permit process could give vacation home owners guidance on how to comply with the ordinance. Maybe provide sample rental contracts and renter code of conduct for renters to sign. Offer workshops.

    Maybe the City could offer (for a reasonable fee) to do a walk thru to certify that the home is in compliance and where improvements should be made. It could be taken a step further for ADA and/or BMP compliance. In exchange, the homeowner or management company can advertise the certification similar to a BBB or Diamond Certified. "Tahoe Blue Certified".

    My feeling is that if the process is made too discouraging with rules and fees, a black market of good and bad rentals will develop that will cost the City more to enforce with fewer TOT funds. A vacation home with a revoked permit is much easier to keep tabs on than a home that never applied for a permit.

    0 Comments 2 Votes Created

    Implementing additional amendments to the VHR ordinance will have deleterious effects on the SLT economy, as pointed out by the previous commentators. This proposal is severely myopic, as it only serves to placate a few vocal residents who more likely than not, do not understand the full picture and its ripple effects of this proposed amendment- one of which being the elephant in the room- the corporatization of the US50 corridor in SLT.

    VHR's provide personalized Lake Tahoe experiences, allowing the many tourists who frequent the area to find characteristically unique cabins that are personalized well beyond any motel/hotel establishment. In tandem, there is also a high level of care and maintenance for these VHR properties as they are individually owned.

    Let's celebrate the small and the unique; not the large and the generic.

    0 Comments 2 Votes Created

    I write in opposition to the proposed VHR ordinance changes, which will damage the local economy and property values, impair the growth of South Lake Tahoe, and prevent the next generation of enthusiasts from falling in love with our wonderful city.

    We have been regular visitors to South Lake Tahoe many times a year for 15 years, and have spent tens of thousands of dollars through our patronage of local ski resorts, restaurants, and businesses. During that time we were regular customers of Vacation Home Rental (VHR) property providers because they provided the high quality rental properties that we and our friends wanted to use when we visited South Lake Tahoe. It is absolutely true to say that the availability of high quality VHR properties in South Lake Tahoe was as integral as the Lake, mountain, and all other amenities in making us fall in love with South Lake Tahoe.

    For the past five years, my wife and I have been lucky enough to own a vacation home of our own. We considered no other place than South Lake Tahoe when making that purchase. While we personally use our home extensively, we also use a professional, responsible, and locally managed VHR company to rent out the property when we are not there. We have invested heavily in purchasing a top-tier property and have further upgraded the property extensively to assure a first class experience for our guests. With the help of our rental agency, we take great strides to assure our guests are respectful of the local neighborhood and contribute to the local economy just as we did when we were guests. We recommend local businesses to our renters, share information about the area, and provide facilities that encourage families with children to visit so the next generation falls in love with South Lake Tahoe, as we did.

    The proposed ordinances are an unnecessary step that over-regulates our property, which we already manage very very carefully. Our VHR rental agency is available at all times to assure our guests do not abuse the house, neighborhood, parking, nor cause excessive noise. We invest considerably to assure the house is safe, well-maintained, and abides by all existing rental rules. We support the local community and are proud of the commerce we bring to the local economy through our many guests. We strongly encourage the City Council of South Lake Tahoe to reconsider these ill-advised changes that will cripple the VHR market and significantly diminish property values in SLT, just as the market is beginning to recover from the recent recession.


    John and Melinda Heinlein

    VHR Property Owners and Long-time contributors to South Lake Tahoe

    0 Comments 4 Votes Created

    Dear Council Members,

    Recently, our family selected South Lake Tahoe as a location for our second home. We feel in love with the amazing scenery, outdoor activities, and lifestyle as well as wanted it to be a place where our family could gather outside the San Francisco Bay Area. We put a lot of time and effort into selecting where we wanted our second home to reside, and South Lake Tahoe seemed like the perfect choice. In order for us to offset the costs, we also decided to rent our property to families and groups that could also enjoy the area and support the local economy when we weren't at the home.

    Our house has been rented almost every available weekend for the past three years. Our guests have skied at every resort in the area, frequented restaurants, grocery stores and retail outlets, visited gorgeous trails and parks, swam in the lake and bought, rented and utilized equipment to support the South Lake Tahoe outdoor lifestyle. In addition we employ multiple members of the community to clean our home weekly, deep clean our home regularly and perform minor, major, planned and unplanned household repairs.

    With the recent Vacation Home Rental changes imposed (increase in permit fee etc.) and the new drastic ones being proposed, it makes me very nervous as a property manager and homeowner. The changes will severely impact us as home owners, as well as the local economy. I fear stricter policies will lead to a severe decline in vacation home rentals, causing reduced visitors and thus a negative impact on the South Lake Tahoe economy.

    I can't imagine this is the goal of the city council - to negatively impact the individuals that assist us in drawing visitors from all over the world. I urge the council to work with current vacation owners to more strictly enforce their current rules so that it creates a win win situation for SLT residents, local businesses, individual proprietors and vacation home owners.

    As a property manager and home owner, I have already taken many steps to ensure the guests at our home treat both our home and the surrounding area as their own. We communicate regularly with our guests both before and during their stay, and outline detailed rules via email and at the house including how to keep noise at an acceptable level during their stay. We have also communicated frequently with our neighbors, and they have been wonderful about letting us know if they have any concerns prior to a situation become more severe.

    I agree with all the comments to figure out how to creatively enforce the current regulations instead of coming up with new policies that will have many negative repercussions.

    We would like to keep coming to South Lake Tahoe and enjoy our vacation home with family and friends for years to come, but if such ordinances get passed, we would be forced to sell our home as we will not be able to afford it without a vacation rental income.

    Sincerely, Lori

    0 Comments 5 Votes Created

    Before making any drastic changes in the vacation rental permit process, a comprehensive study of the impact to our economy should be implemented.

    As a real estate professional I see first hand how creating such a difficult vacation rental permitting process would be devastating to the South Lake Tahoe economy. Not only would property values and home sales decrease significantly, the massive amount of money that is being pumped into the local economy by second home/vacation rental purchasers would be lost.

    Many of the properties that are being purchased for use as second home/vacation rentals are in dire need of rehabilitation. Local contractors are being hired to remodel these properties and make necessary repairs. The contractors are using local suppliers for materials and eating at local restaurants. Not only does this process create jobs and a steady flow of money into the local economy, the home improvements better the look of our neighborhoods.

    The flow of money into the town does not stop when the remodel is complete. Beyond the obvious revenue sources such as the TOT tax and the money that the vacation renters will spend in Tahoe there is more. Homeowners will be hiring landscapers to maintain the yards, snow removal companies, house cleaners, property management companies, carpet cleaners, spa/pool service companies, maintenance contractors, and more.

    I currently live within the city limits and have a vacation rental on the right side of my house and a long term rental to the left. The vacation rental is well maintained and the owners visit often to vacation when the property is not rented. I see the number of local vendors and contractors that are in and out of this property and the amount of money that this rental is bringing in to our town.

    The long term rental to the left of my home is an eyesore. There is a giant tarp covering an illegal addition that the tenants built to store all of their junk. This house as like most long term rentals is not maintained at all. The only revenue that this property is providing to the local economy is to the police department who seem to be there on a weekly basis. The owner of this property has no pride of ownership because it is strictly an investment/income property, not their vacation home.

    I am not sure why the City Council is in such a hurry to implement this strict new permit process but the results will be devastating. We need to enforce the current rules and study the impact of this idea before we scare off future investors looking to bring much needed money into our fragile local economy.

    0 Comments 7 Votes Created

    Caleb Fry over 2 years ago

    Dear City Council,

    My name is Caleb Fry, I am a homeowner and business owner in South Lake Tahoe. In 2008 I started Vacation Rental Assistance (, a company that focuses on helping airbnb and vrbo owners take care of their local property needs. Today, VRA employs 25 to 40 full time local residents, and serves nearly 150 properties. We are listed on the permit as a ‘Local Contact’ for dozens of properties, and have a track record of resolving disputes and frustration with neighbors and city / county officials, and aiding in the balance of vacations rentals and the local community. I am very concerned about the severity of some of the discussion for new ordinance.

    South Tahoe is global vacation destination and travelers from around the world have used vacation homes as an avenue of experiencing our beautiful area for decades. In recent years, vacation homes have begun to surge as a method for lodging around the world.

    I fear proposed regulation could restrict this industry in our hometown, reducing the number and accessibility of rentals to global travelers. Travelers love vacation homes, and we need to make them readily available here. Why would we possibly turn our back on this massive global trend, especially as we strive to improve tourism!?! With a seemingly downward trend in winter tourism, our economy cannot afford to restrict visitors.

    As pointed out all over this and other forums and social media, curbing vacation rentals would potentially reduce Real Estate value, diminish tourism, and have a widespread, crippling impact on the local economy and city revenue.

    With the above said, I ‘am’ a proponent of reasonable and enforceable regulation. VHR’s should be respectful to local community members, and rentals should be reasonably safe. Action plans should be in place for abusive and negligent guests, permit holders, homeowners, and management companies. The current ordinance seems fair, reasonable and enforceable.

    I plan to learn more about both sides of the argument and get more involved. Perhaps the City and community should establish a committee of individuals to discuss and implement policy (local residents, VHR companies, city council, etc) and find a middle ground that balances tradition, economy, and community. I would happily volunteer my time for the effort.

    I have sacrificed more than I can put in words to build this company over the last 7.5 years. Please don’t take this away from me and put dozens of jobs, careers, and the local economy at risk.


    Caleb Fry

    0 Comments 9 Votes Created

    Nightly rentals supports the home values in Tahoe as well as creates jobs for those who want to live there full time. I feel that nightly rentals get a bad name because of people who own their homes, do not rent their homes, but loan out their homes to family and friends. In this situation, there is no accountability for following the rules. With the Homeaway's and the Air BnB's there isn't a local property manager to enforce the rules, and I wonder how affective they are in keeping the rules. Then there are those who have full time property managers and they pay 30 to 35% of their income to these managers. They are physically there to enforce rules and I feel they are most affective after having owned nightly rental property in Ruidoso New Mexico for 14 years. When I purchased my home in the Highlands back in Sept. I contacted all my neighbors that I could find, gave them my name and phone number as well and the local contact information for my property manager. I told them if there are any problems, please let me know because I care about what they think. I put $30K into repairs from neglected maintenance into the house, which will help the house appreciate in value, which helps all of us with home valuation. Had I not had the ability to rent the home and regain some of that money, I would not have bought the house and what average person would pay close to half a million for a house, then $30K in repairs, then over time probably another $30K to update the house while paying 35% to a property manager? Corporate investors would buy, but is that who you want owning homes in Tahoe? Or average people who care about how the yards look and what the neighbors think?

    People on vacation like to save money by cooking and having a home to rent gives them that ability. They like having the whole family together in one location without a bunch of other people around so they can stay in the PJ's and a rental house gives this to them. Charging more fees for nightly rental isn't the answer, especially when we are paying 35% to a property manager to make sure the rules are followed, over $5K in property tax and taxes on the contents of our rental homes! Raise the fees, then I go with a Homeaway or Air BnB to cover the costs, and you have less monitoring and defeating your purpose. Enforce the laws you have now and then see what happens and who are the offenders, then take action.

    0 Comments 3 Votes Created

    There are a lot of variables. Why not do a robust analysis before launching into something that may be incredibly negatively impactful. It's possible to extrapolate effects of these changes on real estate values, retail, impact on small businesses, visitor numbers, etc. I'm an owner of a duplex with one long term rented out and the other is used as a vacation rental only for the summer, with a rental price of around $100/night ($140 on weekends). I'm hoping to be able to afford using it myself sometime soon, but for now, I just hope for some income to offset so, so many bills. If you take an example season or individual rental and see how much the cleaning and insurance and permit fees, etc. take out of it, it's really obvious that it's not an income generator. I'm not a deep pocket either but have invested for my family in being in town. We would likely be forced to sell if we can't get some income out of it and there really just isn't much there after all these fees. At my property, too, the permanent renter neighbors next door (higher density multi unit property) are much more likely to be blasting music, smoking dope outside and trespassing with their big dogs in my yard. Why again am I paying extra for that? Why do you hate me?

    0 Comments 2 Votes Created

    Hello Council,

    The primary reason for selecting the beautiful S Lake Tahoe region for our second home was the proximity to the bay area, where we currently reside, so my family which includes my wife and 3 daughters can visit along with friends and memories can be made for the next 10+yrs. A major part in deciding on the financials of owning a second home is to allow its use as a vacation home to offset the expenses.

    With the recent VHR changes imposed (increase in permit fee etc.) and the new drastic ones being proposed, it makes me very nervous as a homeowner. The repercussions of such changes will severely hamper the local economy - unreasonably stricter policies causing large decline of vacation homes, leading to reduced visitors to the area given larger groups prefer to stay in big homes rather than hotels, leading to decline in local economy.

    We need to look into creative ways to keep a balance between the city's discipline while empowering growth of the local economy. My property management company has already started taking necessary steps to enforce discipline - including hiring additional security to monitor the active properties for enforcing rules, communicating the rules to guests upon arrival and posting clear signs at the house as reminders, installing sound sensors that notify the management company etc. I agree with the rest of the posts to enforce the existing rules before contemplating new ones and monitor if the problem persists in the first place.

    Please encourage tourism to help maintain a healthy local economy and not perish it. We would like to keep coming to s lake Tahoe and enjoy our vacation home with family and friends for years to come, but if such ordinances get passed, we would be forced to sell the place as we will not be able to afford it without a vacation rental income.

    sincerely, Sunil

    0 Comments 4 Votes Created