Douglas County, Nevada, passes new vacation rental rules
- Jun 22, 2021 | Jennifer Sokolowsky
Short-term rental hosts in Douglas County, Nevada, can face up to $20,000 in civil penalties for operating an unlicensed vacation rental, according to a new county law that goes into effect July 15.
The short-term rental ordinance also creates a tiered short-term rental permit system, based on home size, and creates a five-person vacation rentals advisory board. The measure also limits the number of vacation rental permits in Tahoe Township to 600. Around 550 permits have already been issued.
The county will accept new permit applications starting June 21, following a moratorium on new permits that’s been in place since February.
Under the new measure, short-term rental homes will be divided into three tiers:
- Tier 1 properties are occupied by their owners during guests’ stays and are limited to a maximum of four occupants. These properties must advertise that they offer hosted stays and are excluded from the 600-permit cap in Tahoe Township.
- Tier 2 vacation rentals may have up to 10 occupants and are included in the Tahoe Township cap.
- Tier 3 properties host more than 10 people and require a special use permit. If a Tier 3 property doesn’t obtain the special use permit within 180 days, it will only be allowed to operate as a Tier 2 property, with a limit of 10 people. Tier 3 units must have a licensed property manager unless the homeowner is a Douglas County resident.
The new rules also limit occupancy to two people per bedroom or four people per parking space and require an annual safety inspection. Owners must have at least $500,000 liability insurance coverage.
Each vacation rental owner must designate a local contact person who lives within 30 minutes of the property and is required to resolve complaints within one hour. This contact — even if it’s the property’s owner — must complete a training course and pass a certification test for all permits issued or renewed after May 1, 2021.
The county will only issue permits to individuals and family trusts that own the property, not commercial organizations, and permits are limited to one per person. When short-term rental permit holders apply to renew their license, they must demonstrate that they’ve used the property as a vacation rental. Hosts must include permit numbers in all advertisements.
The law also requires vacation rental operators to hold a valid transient occupancy tax (TOT) remittance issued by the county. Hosts must charge guests the tax, collect it, and pass it on to tax authorities.
While Airbnb collects lodging taxes in nearby El Dorado County, California, neither Airbnb nor Vrbo collect TOT for hosts in Douglas County, leaving hosts solely responsible for tax compliance.
MyLodgeTax can help Lake Tahoe–area short-term rental hosts automate lodging tax to streamline and simplify their lodging tax compliance. For more information on short-term rental taxes, see our Nevada 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.
Several other Lake Tahoe–area governments have also recently made moves to regulate short-term rentals. El Dorado County capped the number of short-term rentals, limiting them to 900 in unincorporated parts of the Lake Tahoe Basin.