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Obtaining a Lake Tahoe Vacation Rental Permit

Interested in a Lake Tahoe Investment?

Many of the homes that you come across in the South Lake Tahoe area are owned by a private party and rented as a vacation home. There has been a long debate in the town as to how many vacation rental homes vs. primary living homes there are available. Many local prospective home buyers are finding it more difficult  to find a home to purchase. Although you may assume that buying a home in Lake Tahoe and using it as a vacation home may be easy, then you will need to read this valuable blog on how to accomplish that.


Step 1- Finding a Vacation Rental Company

  • Locating a good vacation rental management company is your first step when considering renting you home renters. There are quite a few companies to pick from but I suggest you contact your local realtor for a recommendation.  Focus on management companies that specializes in renting homes like the one you are thinking of purchasing.

Step 2- The Pre-Inspection

  • City of South Lake Tahoe will need to be scheduled to do a formal Vacation Rental new permit inspection. This is a typical check list you will need to refer to in order to prepare for the inspection.

Step 3- The Paperwork Process 

  • Applying for a Vacation Rental Permit is the first step and this is the paperwork and check list you will need to refer to.

Step 4- City Inspection

  • This step is setting up the inspection date  with the city of South Lake Tahoe so they can make sure that your home is up to code.

Step 5- Zoning Approval

  • The city will then send out a letter to every neighbor within 300 feet asking if they any objections.  If  letters from the neighbors are returned back with any objections within 3 days before the “original hearing”, a public hearing will be set up to review concerns from the the neighbors. If no letters are returned there will be no hearing. The Zoning Administrator will review, approve or deny your application. If a neighbor simply does not want a vacation rental next door that is not enough reason to deny the request. The number of parking spaces will be important in evaluating the permit request.

Step 6- Fees

  • If the VHR is approved, the applicant must pay the Annual Permit Fee before the permit is issued. Good news, the VHR application process can be started while a property is in escrow. A good realtor will always include a contingency in the purchase offer to receive a VHR permit. Always work with an experienced Realtor .

VHR Annual Permit Fee based on Maximum Occupancy

 Maximum Occupants  Permit Fee
 Studio = 2 occupants  $150
 1 Bedroom = 4 occupants  $150
2+ Bedrooms = 2 occupants per bedroom PLUS 4 additional occupants.
(ex: 3 bedroom home  3 x 2 occupants =  6 + 4 additional occupants = 10)
 2 Bedroom = 8 occupants  $300
 3 Bedroom = 10 occupants  $600
 4 Bedroom = 12 occupants  $600
 5+ Bedroom = 14 occupants  $800
 Maximum Permit Fee is $800.


This process can be long and extensive, but it’s worth it in the end! If you’re interested in buying a Lake Tahoe home contact Dan Spano, Sierra Sotheby’s Managing Broker TODAY!

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