Monday, Nov. 3, 2014 | 2 a.m.
For travelers planning a Las Vegas vacation, renting a home in a residential neighborhood can be a comfortable, cost-effective alternative to a pricey hotel. For residents, however, such short-term rentals can turn the house next door into a hot party spot — and public nuisance.
“Party houses,” as they’ve been deemed by disgruntled residents and lawmakers, already are banned in unincorporated Clark County and the majority of Henderson. Now Las Vegas, which has allowed short-term rentals since 2008, is cracking down as well to try to tame what’s seen as widespread disregard for the rules. The City Council passed an ordinance in October outlining strict new regulations that make short-term leasing more
complicated and costly for homeowners. Here’s what you need to know about where you can and can’t rent in Las Vegas:
Las Vegas homeowners looking to rent their homes for less than 31 days must obtain a $500 annual license from the city Department of Business Licensing.
Occupancy limits vary according to the size of the rental; two people per unit are allowed, plus two per bedroom. Daytime occupancy is limited to one and a half times the nighttime limit. So a two-bedroom condo could be used by six people at night and nine during the day. The maximum number of occupants allowed for any rental are 18 by day, 12 at night.
Homeowners must register the name, address and 24-hour phone number of an on-call contact who can respond to complaints within two hours if needed.
Weddings, receptions and other celebrations typically held in banquet facilities aren’t allowed, and the use of musical instruments and stereos outdoors is forbidden.
Violations can result in the property owner losing his or her rental license. Owners and tenants also can be fined up to $1,000 and jailed for up to six months for disruptive behavior.
Business Licensing and Metro Police officers are authorized to intervene in the case of:
•Traffic backups or an excessive number of parked vehicles burdening the neighborhood.
•Obstructed public rights of way.
•Drunk people in public rights of way.
•Alcohol being served to minors.
•Illegal possession or consumption of controlled substances.
•Violence or disturbing the peace.
•Public urination or defecation.
Are the rules enforced?
City officials hope the regulations will crack down on bad behavior but admit that
enforcing them will be an uphill battle. Code enforcement officers will be available to respond to complaints on weekends but only until 5 p.m. Availability previously had been limited to the workweek. Metro Police also can respond as time and resources allow.
Who is pro vacation rental?
Owners of short-term rental properties opposed the new ordinance, claiming the majority of renters are well-behaved, low-key tenants, such as professional poker players, businesspeople, athletes and families.
Short-term rental companies said the new rules would hurt business. Property owners say the issue isn’t a lack of regulation, but a lack of enforcement by property managers, police and code officials.
Who wants to crack down?
Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian led the fight against party houses, arguing the new rules would limit noise, litter and traffic; make complaints easier to respond to and track; and give code enforcement officers more leeway to cite and fine owners. A shortage of police officers has made it difficult to respond to disturbances, she said. Tarkanian has reported seeing prostitutes file in and out of a party house in her gated neighborhood.
How prices compare
Short-term home rentals come with a variety of options and price points. You can rent a three-bedroom house for six people for $135 a night or a 1.5-acre, 11-bedroom villa with a pool, hot tubs and concierge service for 30 people for $2,964 a night (although, technically, that’s now against the rules).
Consider the options for the second weekend in November:
For $73: Get 351 square feet and two queen beds at Circus Circus.
For $1,185: Stay in the Lanai Suite in the Cosmopolitan.
The suite is two stories with a 300-square-foot private terrace, galley kitchen and dining space, private heated plunge pool, floor-to-ceiling windows and a swimming pool.
For $113.50: Stay in a 600 square-foot Downtown apartment, listed on Homeaway.com.
This one-bedroom apartment is attached to a private home and has a king bed, living room, kitchen, dining area, washer/dryer and patio.
For $4,009.75: Stay in a 7,000 square-foot Wynn Country Club mansion, via Homeaway.com. The mansion has seven bedrooms with 12 beds, 5.5 bathrooms, two fireplaces, hot tub, kitchen, bar.