What’s going on with Vacation Rentals in South Lake Tahoe?

Have you heard the news? The City of South Lake Tahoe has changed the rules for Vacation Rentals again. But what are they changing, and how does it affect you?



Important UpdateThe Current “Freeze”

At the City Council meeting on 10/27, the Council Members unanimously voted to put an Urgency Ordinance in place to halt all Vacation Home Rental (VHR) permit applications from being accepted or processed.  This “freeze” is in place until December 21st, 2017.  It’s purpose was to allow the City Council time to work out the new VHR rules without the fear of having a “run on the bank” from people who might rush to get permits before any new rules went into effect.

Unfortunately, the “freeze” halted the progress of applications that had already been submitted.  The City said there are 93 pending applications, and they will have to wait until after December 21st before they will know if they get a VHR permit or not.  3 of the Council Members wanted to allow those pending applications to continue to be processed.  But because any changes to the Urgency Ordinance require all 4 Council Members to vote yes, and 1 Councilman said “No”, the change didn’t get approved.

The “freeze” doesn’t include permits for properties located within the Tourist Core, an area along Hwy 50 from Stateline to Ski Run Blvd. It includes mostly commercial properties with a few condo complexes mixed in and just a handful of homes. Anything within the Tourist Core is still processed like an over the counter permit.



What Are The New Rules


The biggest change is the total number of VHR’s outside the Tourist Core area is capped at 1400.  So that is now the magic number, 1400.  Currently, there are approximately 1385 VHR permits outside the Tourist Core area. With simple math, you can figure out that not all of the 93 pending applications will get approved once they start processing them again on January 21st.  So a wait-list will be started, and it will be based on the date you submit an application (first come, first serve).


Now both the owner of the VHR property and the guests can be fined $1,000 for any violation of the City’s Vacation Home Rental ordinance.  They got rid of the warning for the first rules violation.  Three fines within a 24 month period will result in revocation of a VHR permit.


  • Mandatory bear box, with number of cans based on square footage of the home
  • Occupancy being 2 per bedroom, plus 4 (a 3 bedroom house would be allowed 10 occupants)
  • No use of hot tub between 10 pm and 8 am
  • No special treatment for applicants in escrow (they used to go to the front of the line)
  • Bear boxes shall be installed in all homes with a vacation home rental permit by July 31, 2018
  • Owners of homes with a VHR permit are required to inform guests of the requirement to comply with the City’s regulations, failure to do so may result in a citation to the owner

They also mentioned that 5 community service officers will be hired to help patrol the neighborhoods and answer calls for permit violations.  This should help ease some of the locals concerns, and provide a faster response time.


It was announced at a recent City Council meeting that a group of locals has submitted the required paperwork to bring an initiative to the ballot in November 2018 for a complete ban on VHR’s outside the Tourist Core.  The group feels that the City has not done its job, and instead of the 1400 cap on VHR’s they want to see zero.

The local REALTOR Association has begun talks with this group to try and reach a compromise, to avoid the initiative from ever reaching the ballot next year.  But if a compromise cannot be reached, the REALTORS will look to the community and businesses to help fight.  The group needs to collect about 1,100 signatures of registered voters within the next 180 days to move forward.  It is also possible they will come forward with a different ballot initiative that won’t be a full ban, and we will keep this blog up to date as we find out more over the next few months.


El Dorado County is also looking at its VHR ordinance and has held a couple community outreach meetings to start discussions on the issue.  Some local county residents are upset, similar to the group in the City, and they also want to see a ban on VHRs.  The County Board of Supervisors is discussing whether or not they want to change their rules or put a cap in place similar to what the City just did.  But as of now, there is no solid information on what the County will do or how soon it will be done.  We will continue to provide you with more news and information as it becomes available.  Continue reading to learn more about the permitting process and how to get help.


Vacation Home Rental (VHR) is a home or condo that is rented out for less than 30 days at a time. You may have heard of AirB&B or VRBO. These are popular websites where you can search for a home to stay in when you are on vacation.

But don’t people just stay in hotels when they are on vacation? Many visitors prefer to have more room than a hotel can offer. Extra space helps when you are traveling with a large family or a group of friends. They have a full kitchen, multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, and a living room where they can all hang out.

Staying in a VHR is becoming very popular. And because of its popularity, there has been a rise in complaints about them from the local community.


In order to run a VHR, you have to first receive a permit from the local jurisdiction. The permit process is pretty easy in the County area, but within the City limits, it is more comprehensive. Check out our page on obtaining a Vacation Home Rental permit for more information on the process, and for links to the full rules and documents from the City’s website.


What can I do

What you will need is a good agent to help you through the process and answer any questions you may have.  I can help you navigate through the VHR permit process, as I have for many of my previous clients. Our Team is trained and stays up-to-date on the City’s VHR rules and regulations and can handle the process from A to Z.

Give me a call at 530-541-2465 or email me at dan@paradise-realestate.com so that I can go over more details and help you find the perfect Lake Tahoe Vacation Home.

For up-to-date information on Vacation Rentals in the Tahoe area, please check out all of our other articles on the subject HERE.


How To Find Your Perfect Vacation Home in Lake Tahoe

  1. Sign up for an email notification so you’ll know the minute a home is listed.
  2. Call me directly at 530-541-2465 or stop by my office and we’ll sit down and explore all options.
  3. Get my newsletter every other month which gives you an insight into Lake Tahoe real estate.
  4. Search all homes for sale around the lake.  My website makes it easy to search for homes that match your criteria.
  5. Get valuable and current information when you sign up to receive Lake Tahoe real estate articles sent to your inbox.