Saturday, November 12, 2011

South Tahoe Backs Down on Some Vacation Rental Policies


Lake Tahoe News
By Kathryn Reed

Google “South Lake Tahoe vacation rentals” and about 319,000 results show up. While there are nowhere near that many residences of any kind in the city limits, it proves this is big business.
And in some ways it has not been a tightly regulated market, with some people suggesting the city is losing six figures a year on uncollected transient occupancy tax from owners renting their property as lodging.

sltA meeting Wednesday morning geared toward property management companies was said to be the first time the city had asked them to a meeting other than when the contentious vacation home rental ordinance was written about seven years ago and any tweaking to it since then.

Earlier this year the council divided the responsibilities of vacation rentals between the police and finance departments. Prior to that the finance department had sole jurisdiction. Now the police oversee everything but TOT.

Community service officers Bob Albertazzi, Dannelle Spaeth and Janet Inglis led the 90-minute meeting Nov. 9.

“We want to see if there are things we can do to make it more efficient,” Albertazzi told the more than dozen people at the meeting.

Jim Morris with Lake Tahoe Accommodations is a regular at meetings concerning vacation rentals and often vocal. Wednesday was no different, as he did the most talking by those in attendance.

“I think we are embarking on a whole new era,” Morris said. “I think all of us want to see taxes collected. We need permit numbers posted on websites. I think maybe 10 percent are on there.”

The point of the permit number on the website is then city staff can track TOT that comes in. Calendars on rental sites are an indicator of when a property was rented. However, it was said loud and clear that blocked dates could mean the house was occupied by the owners or their friends.

Spaeth said she recently checked on 10 vacation rentals by owners that someone believed were operating illegally. Eight had valid permits, and the other two have come into compliance.


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