Clark County prepares to crack down on short-term rentals in the Las Vegas Valley

Short-term rentals may soon become scarce in parts of the Las Vegas Valley.

At a June 21 meeting, Clark County leaders unanimously approved a new ordinance to reduce the number of short-term rentals from about 10,000 to about 2,800 on land under its jurisdiction.

The new regulations cap the total number of licenses for short-term rentals — accommodation available 30 days or less — at 1% of the total number of residences in each unincorporated area.

“I think all of this is overwhelming for us because our code enforcement structure is not set up in a way that allows 10,000 licensees to all be regulated,” said the chairman of the board of commissioners of the Clark County, Jim Gibson. Weekly. “I would say the 1% was a starting point.”

At the meeting, Gibson and commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick also raised concerns about the cost of the app. Gibson says it’s likely further discussions will take place to determine how the county will fund enforcement, which includes staffing a 24-hour hotline and dispatching officers code enforcement to respond to neighborhood complaints.

The ordinance had to be in place by July 1, according to a law passed by the Nevada Legislature last year. Henderson, Las Vegas, and North Las Vegas have had regulations for short-term rentals for several years. Clark County has already banned them.

Nevada Assembly Bill 363 (AB363) requires jurisdictions to define short-term rentals as “transient accommodations”, subjecting them to the same taxes that hotels charge guests, within a range of 10 % to 14%, depending on the type of property.

This law also aims to hold bad web hosts and hosting platforms accountable. Many members of the public and officials have called for more restrictions after noise complaints, fights and even shootings in short-term rentals came to the attention of police and local media in 2020.

At the June 21 meeting, county staff pointed to a December survey of nearly 6,000 residents, including short-term rental hosts. More than 80% of respondents said the ordinance should include a provision to suspend or revoke a host’s license if that host receives a certain number of complaints, and 76% supported limiting the number of complaints. 16 or less during a stay. .

New rules

Under new county regulations, owners of short-term rental properties must be individuals 18 and older, or business entities or trusts that include individuals 18 and older. Owners may operate and be licensed for no more than one short term rental at a time.

Regulations do not allow more than two people per room and 10 people total in a single short-term rental. Parties, weddings and events are prohibited and guests must book for a minimum of two nights.

In the townships of Bunkerville, Mesquite, Moapa, Moapa Valley and Mount Charleston, short term rentals are not permitted. Recreational vehicles, trailers, mobile homes, apartments and subsidized housing are not eligible for a short-term rental permit.

Properties located within 2,500 feet of a resort hotel or within 1,000 feet of an existing short-term rental are not eligible for licensing, according to the order.

Clark County has 30 days to notify unlicensed operators that their short-term rentals must be licensed; after that, they risk costs, a misdemeanor citation, or other statutory damages.

The county’s application period is expected to run from September to March. At the end of this six-month period, applicants will be randomly selected. At that time, they must pay a $45 application fee, a $150 inspection fee, and license fees ranging from $750 to $1,500, depending on the number of bedrooms in the home.

Community impact

Shortly before county commissioners approved the order, Las Vegas resident Julie Davies, who handles short-term rentals in other states, said the six-month period was too long to select and review applications. Davies, who has written and taught courses on best practices for short-term rental operators, says a first-come, first-served format would attract hosts who are more responsible and more likely to comply with regulations.

Davies also takes issue with the 1% housing stock cap on short-term rentals. She says a rate based more on current demand for short-term rentals would make compliance more accessible and enforcement easier. And she says she suspects investors who have no community presence or stake will still be able to operate in Clark County, regardless of the ordinance.

“The county mentality is always to start small,” she says. “And then, we’ll add more later, and it’ll be fine. But there will be irreparable damage for small business owners.

Jacqueline Flores, co-founder of the Greater Las Vegas Short Term Rental Association, urged the board to consider the impact on working families, especially those compensating for lost income during the pandemic. “They all want to get a license and pay taxes,” Flores told the commissioners, “but these regulations also result in 80% of applicants not getting a license to operate.”

Commissioners, short-term rental hosts and the public still have questions about the ordinance’s effectiveness, namely, will it achieve the goals of neighborhood safety and accountability of platforms and bad people. operators, as required by state law.

At the June 21 meeting, Kirkpatrick raised doubts that hosting platforms would cooperate with county regulations, based on past conduct, particularly when it comes to removing the unlicensed or non-compliant rental advertisements. “None of them should be on a website, ultimately,” she said. “They have always been illegal. We never allowed it, even when cities did. We’ve had this with many platforms that never comply, and now we’re stuck. »

In a statement, a spokesperson for Clark County said accommodation platforms have indicated they will continue to work with county staff on implementing the ordinance, which requires platforms hosting forms to display license numbers and maximum occupancy information in advertisements, and to work with code enforcement to remove advertisements. for properties found to be unlicensed or non-compliant.

“Expedia/VRBO has expressed intent to work with Clark County on implementation,” the spokesperson emailed. Weekly. “The county was also approached by Airbnb regarding the ad removal process. The process built into the ordinance to remove county notice ads is the same process in place nationwide and Airbnb and Expedia have indicated that they are working with local governments with similar regulations,” the statement read.

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