What is Measure T and what would it do?

Measure T bans short-term vacation rentals everywhere in South Lake Tahoe, except in the small tourist core. This ban would remove 1,400 vacation rentals in our city, cripple our tourism economy, and eliminate funding for enforcement of the short-term rental laws we already have. It’s too extreme for South Lake Tahoe.

Doesn’t South Lake Tahoe already have a law in place regarding short-term rentals?

Yes. On November 21, 2017, South Lake Tahoe passed a strict law that regulates short-term rentals operating in the city. The law has been working since December 22, 2017.

The new law sets a limit of 1,400 short-term rental permits issued to homes outside the tourist core area of the city. It prevents most multifamily dwellings (apartments) from being rented as short-term rentals. It also requires every short-term rental owner to comply with city permit rules for short-term rentals. These permits are nontransferable to another person, entity, or new homeowner.

Are the new regulations working?

Yes. Since the new law was implemented less than a year ago, South Lake Tahoe has had a decrease in violations and complaints and has issued fewer citations.

Between April and August 2018, there were 507 total calls to the hotline, 327 were coded as complaints. 191 of these calls were from residents who have made multiple complaints.

Among the 309 complaints received, 106 citations were issued — 55 were for short-term rentals operating without a permit, 19 for parking, 11 for noise, 17 for trash, and 4 for hot-tub violations.

What is the economic impact on the city if Measure T passes?

The unintended consequences of Measure T mean that South Lake Tahoe will cease to exist as people know it today. Tourism is the Tahoe region’s number one industry. Nearly 41% of South Lake Tahoe’s jobs are directly related to tourism. Small businesses depend on tourists visiting our city to survive. If Measure T passes, the local hit to our economy will devastate every part of the community.

Short-term rentals generate more than $100 million for the local economy every year. Measure T would hurt small businesses and cost our city jobs. These unintended consequences are too risky for the South Lake Tahoe.

What is the impact to the city’s budget?

In the 2016-2017 fiscal year, short-term rentals brought in more than $3 million in TOT taxes. This amount accounts for about 3.5 percent of South Lake Tahoe’s city revenue.

If Measure T passes, this loss will be a major blow to the South Lake Tahoe city budget. The city would lose the ability to pay for vital public services such as police, fire, parks, and snow removal. Emergency response times will take longer, our roads will become difficult to drive, and snow removal will take longer or not happen at all.

Taxes will likely be raised on residents to cover the projected shortfall.

The city will also lose the Measure P dedicated TOT revenue for the new recreation center. Plans for the building would need to be shelved since TOT revenue from short-term rentals was earmarked to pay for the building and construction.

How could there be a law that prevents me from using my home lawfully and as I see fit?

Measure T would infringe on the rights of the vast majority of people who rent their properties without bothering anyone. Property owners should have the right to use their homes as they see fit. It is already against the law to create noise problems or nuisance. Instead of a ban on short-term rentals, we should let the new law work and protect the property rights of homeowners.

South Lake Tahoe needs affordable housing. Would Measure T help?

We agree South Lake Tahoe needs more housing and that attention needs to be paid to the statewide housing crisis. However, banning short-term rentals isn’t the answer.

Simply stated, the 1400 homes banned from the short-term vacation rental market will not become long-term rentals for the South Lake Tahoe workforce.

Most second homeowners use their homes an average of six weeks per year. These owners are not interested in renting to long-term tenants because they will lose the ability to enjoy their own home. With a ban on renting short-term, these homes will solely be available by their owners, family, and friends. The dollars their short-term guests bring to our economy will be lost.

Even if an owner is willing to rent their home to long-term tenants, it may not make economic sense. The owner will likely lose money and be forced to sell their dream homes. Because the majority of second homes far exceed the price range needed for workforce housing, the flood of these homes to the market are unlikely to be purchased by locals.