VHR Ordinance in South Lake Tahoe

Fighting to Protect South Lake Tahoe's Economy

Rules for Short-Term Rentals

Every homeowner must have a permit to use their home as a short-term vacation rental. Here is what they must do to apply:
  • Submit an application and pay a fee.
  • Pass an inspection and show that their property conforms with all plan area statements and building code standards.
  • Make improvements within 45 days if the home does not pass inspection.
  • Demonstrate that no health or safety violations are present at the rental that may threaten the well being of guests, neighbors, or the community.
  • No history of receiving three or more upheld citations for violations of the city code.
  • Have sufficient or construct paved parking spaces to accommodate the maximum number of occupants.

The permit must be renewed every year. If the owner fails to renew their permit on time, they will lose their ability to use their property as a short-term rental.

In order to renew a permit, the owner must:

  • Submit a renewal application and comply with requirements.
  • Not have a history of three or more upheld citations for violations of the city code at the short-term rental within twenty-four months.
  • Have fully paid all transient occupancy taxes and other taxes to the city.

The South Lake Tahoe short-term vacation rental law has more than 25 specific rules to follow. They are:
  • Occupancy is limited by the number of paved parking spaces on the short-term rental property or by the number of bedrooms in the property, whichever is lesser. (Occupancy is calculated by the number of persons in the home at any given time.)
  • Each parking space must be available for short-term rental occupants and shall be no less than nine feet wide and nineteen feet long.
  • All commercial activity is prohibited in short-term rentals including but not limited to weddings, receptions, and large parties.
  • All occupants must be notified of the prohibition against commercial activities prior to the reservation, rental, or lease of a short-term rental.
  • Owner is responsible for compliance with all provisions of the city code.
  • Owner must post a copy of the permit and a copy of the conditions in clearly visible location in the home.
  • Marketing and advertising must include the owner’s rental permit number issued by the city.
  • Owner must agree to and authorize the city to inspect the home when the city has received complaints of substandard housing conditions.
  • Use of all outdoor spas or hot tubs are prohibited between the hours of 10:00 pm and 8:00 am.
  • Homes must have clearly visible and legible notice posted on or directly adjacent to the inside of the front door including the following information:
    • Name of the managing agency, authorized representative, property manager, or local contact person.
    • Telephone number enabled for text messaging of the contact person.
    • Contact person must be reachable on a 24-hour basis.
    • Maximum number of occupants for the short-term rental.
    • Maximum number of vehicles permitted to be parked on the property.
    • Parking rules for seasonal snow removal.
    • The trash pick up day and notification that trash must not be left or stored on the exterior of the property except in a bear box.
    • Notification that an occupant may be cited and fined for creating a disturbance or violating any other provisions.
    • Notification that failure to conform to the parking and occupancy limits is a violation.
  • Homes must have a clearly visible and legible exterior sign, posted in a location that is visible from the adjacent right of way that includes the following information:
    • Name of the managing agency, authorized representative, property manager, or local contact person.
    • Telephone number enabled for text messaging of the contact person.
    • Maximum number of occupants for the short-term rental.
    • Maximum number of vehicles permitted to be parked on the property.
    • Telephone number of the police department vacation rental hotline and email address
    • Section of city code relating to short-term rentals
  • Occupants must park vehicles on short-term rental property and only park on paved surfaces designated as parking spaces.
  • Use of any equipment generating noise or use of outdoor amplified music, speakers, or other amplified equipment is prohibited between the hours of 10:00 pm and 8:00 am
  • Emergency lighting must be installed, maintained, and functional within the home at all times.
  • Any lights used on a short-term rental property must not spray onto adjoining properties or adjacent right of ways.
  • Parking of commercial vehicles, except for temporary durations of less than four hours, are prohibited.
  • Records of every night the short-term rental is rented, including the name and contact information of the occupant who has arranged to rent the home, the rental rate, the number of occupants per night, and the number of vehicles, must be maintained for a minimum period of three years before such records are discarded or destroyed.
  • Records must be made available to the city within 15 business days upon written request from the city.
  • Camping and sleeping in tents, travel trailers, campers, or recreational vehicles is not permitted on the short-term rental property.
  • Bear boxes must be installed on the short-term rental property and must be maintained and functional to prevent wildlife from accessing trash.
  • All trash must be disposed in bear boxes.
  • Owner must arrange for trash pick-up, drop-off, or other removal from the property.
  • No trash can be left in the street, exterior of property, or the right-of-way.
  • Owner or authorized agent shall include the short-term rental permit number on all contracts, rental agreements, advertising, or websites promoting the rental.
  • Owner must remit all Tourism Occupancy Tax payments.

Can the permit get revoked?

Yes. Short-term rental permits can be revoked at anytime. Reasons for revocation include:

  • Owner has not paid Transient Occupancy Taxes (TOT) on time.
  • Rental has three or more upheld citations within a 24-month period.
  • Application contains misrepresentation or omission of material facts.
  • Transferring or attempting to transfer permit to another person, entity, or property.

What happens if the owner or their guests break the rules?

South Lake Tahoe has a short-term rental complaint hotline that is available 24 hour, seven days a week.

The city has six code-enforcement officers, an investigator, and an outside firm dedicated to ensuring short-term rental owners comply with the new, strict law. The enforcement is funded by permit fees bid by owners.

If a violation is found by the responding officer, a citation will be issued with a fine of up to $1,000 to the occupant and the owner of the short-term rental.