With Las Vegas Rental Boom Ongoing, Local Officials Seek Tighter Regulations; New Ordinance Targets Short-Term Rentals

LAS VEGAS, NV – With the recent real estate explosion taking place in Southern Nevada in the past year, it’s not only homes that are selling at a record pace as needs begin to outpace supply; rental properties are also showing a dramatic surge in recent months, as visitors and tourists are indeed scrambling to take whatever they can get their hands on. It’s a phenomena that’s becoming to acute that it’s actually gotten the attention of local government, which has recently started looking into tightening the regulations that oversee the rental industry in Las Vegas.

A great many homes in Las Vegas are actually owned by investors as rentals – which is contributing in part to the recent ongoing property shortage for prospective homeowners in the area – and apparently the allure of staying in a home away from home is turning out to be quite appealing to tourists; in 2016, over 340,000 visitors to the Southern Nevada region rented houses and apartments as opposed to staying at a hotel, and while providing a healthy return on the investments of property owners, some neighbors aren’t too keen about sharing their space with random out-of-towners. While many members of the tourist trade are positive additions to the Las Vegas scene, a few random party-goers have raised the ire of residents, enough so that Vegas officials have considered a new bill that would address rental properties in an attempt to assuage the concerns of area locals.

The Las Vegas city council has recently proposed new legislation that would directly target short-term rentals; among the rules that would go into effect if the bill passes would be the requirement of a special-use permit for an individual or company to operate a home or apartment rental, which would give both the city and residents living locally to any potential rental more say-so into who could and should be allowed to operate within the area. Landlords would have 365 days to procure a permit – properties with two bedrooms or less would be exempt – and at least $500,000 in liability insurance coverage would be needed. A legitimate business license number would need to be prominently displayed on all forms of advertising, from billboards to Internet ads.

The stated goal of this legislature, were it to pass, is to ensure that landlords with a history of being hands-off when it comes to their tenants would have to adhere more closely to city ordinances, ensuring a better life for neighboring families of rentals and rental guests alike. City officials have had to field a number of complaints from residents in recent years about so-called “party houses” with loud music, litter, and other disruptions, which simply makes things harder to legitimate renters who are just trying to run an honest business while respecting their neighbors.

The new ordinance, sponsored by city Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian, is currently being worked on with public input from both rental owners and residents alike. A vote date is not currently yet set.

A small percentage of Vegas homes that are used as rentals are done so illegally, with those caught facing fines up to $1,000. Many people who operate rental homes in the area do so not just for profit, but to help them make ends meet in an economy that, while improving by leaps and bounds, is still tough on some residents on occasion. Other rental homes are owned by large Wall Street firms, which were bought up in droves specifically as rental properties, aimed both at tourists and millennials saddled with student debt who are unable to afford to buy a home of their own; already, these firms are seeing a healthy return and are even actively building more houses where they can in the region to serve as additional rental properties.