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Is Your Vacation Rental Compliant?

Updated: Feb 11

Whether attracted by the small town feel, the skiing and backcountry access in the winter months, hiking and camping, or the clear blue waters when the weather is warmer, Incline Village is a great place to live and vacation. Right now there are roughly 650 vacation rental listings for Incline Village short-term rentals on a variety of vacation rental websites according to airdna.com.* Lake Tahoe tourism shows no signs of slowing down and the ability to rent property on a short term basis is necessary to limit the cost of homeownership in the basin. Sites like VRBO, Homeaway and Airbnb allows owners to control and vet who is staying in their properties and allows you as a property owner, to keep more money in your pocket at the end of the year. Using sites to rent your Lake Tahoe property, comes with responsibilities and regulations that otherwise would be handled by a licensed property manager and must be met in order to stay away from excess fines and fees from regulating bodies.


As of now, Washoe County, requires that all properties on a short-term rental program (any amount of time less than 28 days) meet the following criteria: register with and obtain a room tax license issued by Washoe County and pays a 13% transient occupancy tax to the county. The newest proposed ordinance found on Washoecounty.us, requires much more from an owner and/or a licensed property manager. The largest areas of concern of the County have to do with the safety of occupants while in a property, parking, permits, fines/fees, occupancy limits, noise, trash collection.


Washoe is proposing a 3-Tier system to classify each rental. A Tier 1 STR has a maximum occupancy of 10 people or fewer, Tier 2 STR has a maximum occupancy of 11-20 people with additional limitations based on the surroundings and Tier 3 STR has a maximum occupancy of 21 + people and will be limited to areas outside of residential zoning as to cause less disturbances to neighbors.


In order to obtain a permit and be complying, rental owners will have to submit a lengthy application to the county including a site plan of the property, a to scale floor plan of the home/unit including SF of each room, and show locations of exits, fire extinguishers, smoke / CO Alarms, hot tubs, decks, stairs, windows, and ingress / egress of each room. Once the permit is obtained, an owner will have to show proof of the permit and taxation and comply with annual renewals/inspections and post the name, phone number (text-capable) and email address of the local responsible party designated to respond to issues/complaints on the property as required. Every STR is required to have a designated agent or property manager functioning as a local responsible party who is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to respond via text message or phone to complaints/issues related to the STR within 30 minutes of contact by Washoe County staff or its designated representatives. STR owners are responsible for making sure their guest/renters follow new rules such as only 1 car for every 4 guests allowed, quiet hours daily from 10 PM – 7 AM and no signage advertising the STR is permitted on the property.


The purpose of Article 319, Short-Term Rentals, is to allow for the inclusion of short-term rentals (STRs) in legally permitted homes within unincorporated areas of Washoe County. The purpose is also to establish standards and a permitting process governing the operation of STRs in order to reduce their potential impacts on neighboring properties.*


Regulations of short-term vacation rentals have been a longtime in the making and they are necessary to preserve the health of our local economy and protect the enjoyment of our community and wildlife. The most recent draft STR ordinance is a good compromise for the community and its affiliates. Having any additional “Incline specific” regulations would be an overreach and impact the private property rights of owners in Incline Village.


The short-term rental agenda item is scheduled for its first reading on the 2/23/21 board meeting and is scheduled for a second reading and adoption at the 3/23/21 board meeting.


*Be sure to verify rules and regulations for your property and city or consult with a licensed property management professional or your lawyer before making any decisions about your short-term rentals.


**Total numbers were taken from Airdna.com. Properties listed on these sites were not vetted thoroughly for duplication of properties posted.


*** Check https://www.washoecounty.us/csd/planning_and_development/str.php for updates on meeting times and draft STR Ordinance.




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