Clark County introduces short-term rental regulations as opponents hire attorney

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The Clark County Commission is sticking to a plan to drastically reduce the number of short-term rentals in Southern Nevada by licensing a fraction of current operators and fining those unlicensed .

The Commission introduced an order on Tuesday that would allow 1% of unincorporated Clark County housing, or about 2,850, to be licensed as transitional housing and pay the transitional housing tax, which varies between 10.5% and 13.38% of the rent, depending on the location.

County officials estimate that as many as 12,000 unlicensed STRs are currently operating illegally.

The proposed ordinance is the result of a legislative mandate that Clark County regulates short-term rentals. The rules do not affect STRs that are licensed by other Southern Nevada municipalities.

The Greater Las Vegas Short-Term Rental Association has raised $50,000 of its $100,000 goal for a legal fund, according to co-founder Jackie Flores, and hired Hutchison Steffen, the former Lt. -Governor of Nevada Mark Hutchison, a Republican.

“With inflation at its highest level in 40 years and a looming recession, we hope our public officials will heed our pleas and reverse their trend of robbing people of the ability to earn an income by harboring and handing over this money. to resort hotels that have brought in record profits month after month since last year,” Flores said in a statement. “This is the last thing our Democratic officials should be doing to everyday people in Clark County during these tough economic times!”

Las Vegas is the most profitable location in the US to own a vacation rental, according to Airbnb data collected by Compare the Market, a UK-based price comparison site. The average monthly rent for an Airbnb in Las Vegas is almost $10,500, or 555% more than the average rent for a rental.

Institutional and out-of-state investors flooded what was once considered a cottage industry — a way to help residents supplement their modest incomes. Now the revolving door of tourists entering and exiting homes in southern Nevada neighborhoods is often pits owners against each other in a battle over quality of life versus property rights.

Barbara Paulsen of Nevadans for the Common Good, a community organization that organized municipal assemblies on the lack of affordable housing, approved the measure.

“Specifically, we agree that licenses should be limited to a single person or entity in order to stem the trend of turning our homes into hotels owned by large corporations,” Paulsen said in a public comment. The organization also supports the requirement that licensed STRs be at least 1,000 feet apart.

Other residents said STRs have provided an economic lifeline since the pandemic’s massive job losses.

“The majority of us here are retired women, trying to keep the rain out of our living rooms,” resident Leslie Doyle said.

Las Vegan John Wong told commissioners his mother turned to renting a short-term property when she was laid off from her job at the MGM Grand in 2020.

“We are now in 2022. She hasn’t received a reminder of her work on the Strip,” Wong said. If the county’s ordinance passes, his mother and thousands of others could be fined for renting unlicensed units. “She prefers to host on Airbnb, and I like to help her. Do you think the casinos really care about her or anyone else they’ve fired?”

Several commissioners tried to deflect criticism that the hospitality industry was defending the order.

“We’ve heard from a lot of them who have no concerns about how we’re doing in terms of leasing,” chairman Jim Gibson said. “I just think it’s important to say that because some of you think it’s driven by the Resort Association.”

Commissioner Justin Jones pointed out that the Nevada Resort Association had not submitted any comments on the proposed order’s business impact statement.

The NRA supports regulating and taxing “these business operations in the same manner as other public lodging establishments,” Speaker Virginia Valentine told the 2021 Nevada Legislature.

It prohibits STRs from operating:

  • In apartments and communities of common interest, unless authorized by the statutes
  • In multi-family dwellings where more than 10% of the units would be authorized as transient accommodation
  • Within 2,500 feet of a resort hotel
  • Within 1,000 feet of another residential STR

Additional provisions include:

  • No owner may have a legal or beneficial interest in more than one license
  • A party whose STR license has been revoked, suspended or not renewed within the last seven years cannot be licensed
  • A party who has voluntarily surrendered a license during proceedings for the revocation, suspension or non-renewal of an STR license cannot be licensed
  • Property “regularly and continuously” used for or to facilitate criminal activity cannot be licensed.

The proposed order exempts short-term rentals in Mt. Charleston, Moapa, Moapa Valley, Mesquite and Bunkerville from the rules. A new public hearing and vote is scheduled for June 21.

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