In a stunning 4 to 3 vote, the Las Vegas City Council has voted to enact a new and draconian law that all but closes the doors on vacation rentals inside the city. Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian, who has literally stalked the vacation rental industry for the last 10 years or more, led the charge against everyone operating a vacation rental inside the city. The new law is largely based on emotion and anger and contains little sound logic at all, hence the draconian nature of the "legislation" passed. Lois called in her political favors to get the votes she needed, and in doing so, showed that she is more concerned with her own feelings more than actual facts. This seems a very popular trend in lawmaking lately. Legislating "personal beliefs" instead of sound logic and common sense.
Actual Reality Versus Lois Tarkanian's Made-Up Reality
The City of Las Vegas estimates that there are 1000 short term rentals inside the city limits. Of that 1000, there is essentially 1 major troublemaker that causes the vast majority of complaints, and there may be as many as 4 or 5 others that sometimes cause complaints but do so regularly. The complaints are against the parties that are held in these homes and the noise and congestion they cause in otherwise quiet neighborhoods. Lois believes her new emotionally based law will stop this. It wont. These party homes are not run as vacation rentals. The other estimated 1000 vacation home rentals in the city are operated for short term lodging only. Typically the renters are not allowed to hold parties of any kind. So although there are 1000 short term rentals in Las Vegas who by-and-large are not causing any problems, they must pay the price for the bad actors, or which there are 5 or 6.
The Council Votes To Endanger Renter's Lives And Property
Among the most ridiculous provisions in this new vacation rental ordinance is that vacation homes must display a sign out in front of the home whenever it is being used as a rental. This way everyone can know that the people inside are renters and not the owners. This is the perfect way to let thieves know which homes to stalk for potential victims. It also invites the neighbors to come by and let the renters know how they feel about them being there. In essence, it endangers the lives and property of anyone who rents a vacation home in Las Vegas and accomplishes nothing useful whatsoever. Obviously the provision is designed to intimidate renters and discourage business as much as possible.
Owners Must Aquire Permits That Are Never Granted
The real shutdown provision, in case the signage requirement isn't enough to accomplish that goal, is that all vacation rental owners inside the city limits must now acquire a special use permit for their properties. Te special use permits themselves have requirements in them that the likelihood of success near zero. For example, owners must notify all neighbors in the vicinity of the application to operate a vacation rental. If even one owner disagrees, the permit will not be granted. To date the city has granted no special use permits to any vacation rental owners.
Antique Minds Struggle With Modern Ideas
Vacation rentals are nothing new in Las Vegas. What's new is the success and penetration of vacation rentals into modern life. They have become the norm now, thanks to companies like AirBNB and Homeaway. This has created a vast new economy globally, as average people are able to stay in other people's homes while they travel, instead of always being forced to use hotels. And much like Uber and Lyft, vacation rental homes provide a way for people to make some money from assets they already own. It's easy to understand for any sensible person. But some people are simply unable to grasp anything new without feeling threatened by it. Antique minds like Lois Tarkanian's struggle to grasp these modern concepts. It's sad that so many are made to suffer because some people are unable to embrace new things without being afraid of them.
But Some Kids Saw Somebody Having Sex!
Lois likes to tell the story about some kids that looked out their back window and saw a couple in the vacation rental next door having sex. She's told that story every time she's had the chance for the last ten years or more. She hopes that by telling it she will cause outrage and get others to see the problem. But if that's really a problem, then why that same story all the time? For more than 10 years? It seems absurd to assume that people will not also see that there is nothing exclusive to vacation rentals about that story. Unless we are to assume that kind of thing never happens anywhere else in the world except in vacation rentals? By the way, it's probably worth mentioning that no laws were broken and that everything happening in her story is normal.
So What Happens Now?
It remains to be seen what will happen immediately, but it's fairly easy to assume that vacation rental owners and their allies are going to declare war on the new law and on the members of the council who voted for it. Mrs. Tarkanian, who has never been a friend of the industry or a sensible negotiator, will likely be a primary target. The VVRA (Vegas Vacation Rental Association) will rally its members and with the help from AirBNB and others, go after the new law with full force.
How You Can Help
You can help too by contacting The City of Las Vegas and letting them know what you think or by contacting the VVRA at [email protected] and lending your support in any way you can. We recommend both!