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May 29, 2017

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Homeowner hit with $29,000 fine under ‘party house’ ordinance

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Steve Marcus

The first real test of the county’s “party house” ordinance, approved in 2010 to curb short-term house rentals, resulted in a $29,000 penalty for a homeowner in the tony Spanish Palms neighborhood.

Steve Sisolak

Steve Sisolak

The first real test of the county’s “party house” ordinance, approved in 2010 to curb short-term house rentals, resulted in a $29,000 penalty for a homeowner in the tony Spanish Palms neighborhood.

The rule prohibits the rental of homes for fewer than 30 days. The ordinance was created in response to complaints that shorter terms typically end up being rented to people who use the home for noisy parties in residential areas.

A home, at 5565 El Camino, has accrued penalties of $29,000 — $1,000 per day for 29 days — because the owners agreed to a “rehabilitation plan” and then violated it by renting the home again for fewer than 30 days.

The homeowner is listed as El Camino LLC, whose officers include Josh and David Stech, according to Nevada secretary of state records.

The 5,500-square-foot home in Spanish Palms includes a “lagoon pool,” tennis/basketball court, billiards room and 12-seat private theater with an 8-by-4-foot screen.

County records show El Camino LLC purchased the home in December 2009 for $618,900. Before El Camino LLC owned it, the house had been owned in 2007 by a group that called itself Party House LLC.

That, Dave Stech told the commission, is the period when renters had created problems for neighbors.

During El Camino LLC’s ownership, he added, it was not operated as a party house but was rented by families and corporations.

Stech admitted that he had agreed to the county plan not to rent it short-term but did so anyway.

Stech said that out of the 29 days before he reached a new agreement with Clark County, he spent 13 of those days trying to work out the new agreement. So, he asked the commission to forgive those 13 days, equal to $13,000 of his penalty.

Commissioner Steve Sisolak, who represents the district where the property is located, was adamant that he did not want to waive any of the fine.

“Just because you admit it doesn’t make it right,” Sisolak said, adding that would be like a motorist getting caught for speeding, then thinking they should be forgiven by admitting it to the police officer.

Josh Stech, Dave Stech’s son, told Sisolak that he is responsible for renting the house short-term after the new agreement with Code Enforcement. “It was entirely my fault; it was a rookie mistake,” he said.

“That’s between you and your dad, not between you and the county,” Sisolak replied. Stech added that he sold the home March 2. He figured that he got back about $572,000 of the $618,900 that he spent to buy the home. In the first year of renting, he said, they took in rent payments totalling $60,000. The $29,000 in question was being held in escrow, pending the commission’s decision.

Sisolak said he expects this to be the first of many party-house cases to come before the commission.

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