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 (www.vratahoe.com), 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.