Las Vegas Sun

August 20, 2019

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No easing of condo short-term rental rules in Las Vegas

The Ogden

Las Vegas Sun

The Ogden condominium building in downtown Las Vegas.

The Las Vegas City Council today struck down a proposal to allow more short-term rentals in multifamily complexes.

Sponsored by Councilman Bob Coffin, the regulation would have permitted up to 5 percent of units in a complex to be rented out for fewer than 31 days, though homeowners’ associations could pass more restrictive rental rules.

The proposal was an amendment to an ordinance narrowly passed in December limiting short-term rentals to only one within a 660-foot radius and only in owner-occupied properties. Proposed by Mayor Pro-Tem Lois Tarkanian, the original ordinance was written with single-family homes in mind.

Coffin’s amendment would also have eliminated the owner-occupancy requirement for multifamily developments, such as condominium buildings.

Councilwoman Michele Fiore joined Coffin in voting for the amendment. Mayor Carolyn Goodman, Tarkanian and council members Stavros Anthony, Steven Seroka and Cedric Crear voted against it.

The vote marked a victory for a group of homeowners at the downtown Ogden, a 275-unit condominium complex, opposed to the type of short-term rentals popularized by Airbnb. There is one legal short-term rental at the Ogden; the amendment would have allowed up to 13.

“I just don’t understand why there has to be an amendment, why we have to be different than everybody else and what the purpose of this is,” said resident Angela Peno. “Is it for the residents, the constituents, or is it for investments?”

While the city has only permitted one short-term rental at the Ogden, residents estimated about 20 units are being rented out illegally.

Ogden resident Lee Goblirsch told the council about how temporary guests, who have access to the complex’s shared amenities, hurt the quality of life for full-time residents.

“Many of my friends in the building have been affected by being exposed to extreme loudness, drunkenness and trash in the hallways,” Goblirsch said. “Some guests have vomited in the lobby area, and there has been glass reported in the pool.”

Seroka noted that rentals have more impact in buildings with shared spaces and said he voted against the amendment to support the downtown community and the city’s hotel industry.

“We’re trying to develop a community of permanent residents in our downtown. We’re trying to grow a community that is strong in pride in the sense of being a Las Vegan,” Seroka said. “When we open up our multifamily buildings, which do occupy a lot of downtown, we change the nature of that investment as well.”

Coffin, meanwhile, said the amendment would have corrected the “overreach” of the December ordinance, which he said punishes owners looking to make rental income. He emphasized that homeowners’ associations are free to enact their own rules for short-term rentals.

“Let’s face it, a lot of people want to invest here,” Coffin said. “So, let them decide.”