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South Lake Tahoe allows hosted short-term rentals

  • Dec 30, 2020 | Jennifer Sokolowsky

South Lake Tahoe, California, vacation rental home in snow

The city of South Lake Tahoe, California, has passed a new law allowing hosted short-term rentals in the city. The new ordinance, which went into effect December 17, allows hosts to rent out part of their home while they remain on-site.

Hosts must obtain a city permit and include the permit number in advertisements and have a designated contact who can respond to problems.

Unhosted short-term rentals will be phased out in South Lake Tahoe by the end of 2021 due to a referendum that was passed in 2018.

Nearby Truckee will also begin new short-term rental rules starting January 1, 2021. Truckee short-term rental hosts will be required to register with the town and designate a contact who can respond to issues within 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, El Dorado County has capped the number of short-term rentals, limiting them to 900 in unincorporated parts of the Lake Tahoe Basin. Currently, 726 permitted vacation rentals are operating in the Lake Tahoe area. If the number of permit applications exceeds the cap, the county will establish a waiting list. Renewals of existing vacation rentals that have received or applied for a permit as of November 1, 2020, will not be subject to the cap.

Short-term rental hosts in unincorporated El Dorado County are required to obtain permits, post permit numbers on advertisements, and designate a contact that can respond to issues 24 hours a day.

Short-term rental hosts in South Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and El Dorado County all must follow local rules on noise, trash, parking, occupancy limits, and more.

State officials issued a stay-at-home order for the Lake Tahoe region in early December. The order will stay in place at least until January 1, depending on hospital capacity levels.

Earlier this month, leaders in Placer County, El Dorado County, and Truckee made a request to Airbnb and Vrbo, asking the short-term rental platforms to inform all owners and guests about the stay-at-home order, provide full refunds if booked guests choose not to stay, and provide leaders with access to guests for further messages. The platforms are informing owners, but aren’t offering refunds outside their usual policies. On December 28, Airbnb said it would block guests from booking in all three locations through January 1.

The town of Truckee has made operating short-term rentals in Truckee during the stay-at-home order punishable by a fine of $1,000.

Tax obligations in South Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and El Dorado County

Hosted short-term rental owners in South Lake Tahoe must collect transient occupancy tax (TOT) and the South Lake Tahoe Tourism Improvement District fee from guests and remit the tax to the city monthly.

Unincorporated El Dorado County short-term rental hosts must also have a TOT registration certificate, collect TOT from their guests, and file TOT returns.

And vacation rental hosts in Truckee are required to apply for a transient occupancy registration certificate and collect TOT and Truckee Tourism Business Improvement District (TTBID) fees from guests and file quarterly TOT returns.

While Airbnb collects lodging taxes in El Dorado County, it doesn’t do so in South Lake Tahoe or Truckee. Vrbo doesn’t collect lodging taxes for hosts in South Lake Tahoe, El Dorado County, or Truckee. Hosts whose platforms don’t collect on their behalf are solely responsible for TOT compliance.

MyLodgeTax can help automate and simplify tax compliance for California short-term rental hosts. For more on lodging taxes in California, see our state Vacation Rental Tax Guide. If you have tax questions related to vacation rental properties, drop us a line and we’ll get back to you with answers.

Lodging tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Avalara Author
Jennifer Sokolowsky
Avalara Author Jennifer Sokolowsky
Jennifer Sokolowsky writes about tax, legal, and tech topics. She has an extensive international background in journalism and marketing, including work with The Seattle Times, The Prague Post, Avvo, and Marriott.
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