Vacation home rental settlement on the table


Should Douglas County commissioners agree to approve revisions to the vacation home rental ordinance on Thursday, a federal lawsuit filed by Lake Tahoe residents could be dismissed within in 15 days.

Commissioners meet 1 p.m. Thursday at the Douglas County Courthouse.

The ordinance hadn’t taken effect when the lawsuit was filed on July 8 and a federal judge issued an injunction against parts of it being enforced.

On Nov. 12, 2021, representatives from the county met with plaintiffs and a federal magistrate to discuss the possibility of settling the lawsuit.

Commission Chairman John Engels and Commissioner Wes Rice were both involved in the settlement conference.

Under the agreement, the plaintiffs waived any claim for damages and both they and the county will pay their own attorney’s fees.

A hearing on the preliminary injunction has been set for Jan. 31 and District Judge Robert Jones has lifted the temporary restraining order.

Should county commissioners decide not to approve the revised ordinance, Jones will hear additional motions and the case will progress.

The revised ordinance allows property owners who had more than one permit on June 3, 2021, to renew those permits as long as they follow the ordinance until 2031.

Other provisions include:

• The number of occupants is limited to two people per bedroom plus two.

• The cap on permits will increase from 600 to 650.

• The fine for operating without a permit is up to $20,000 for those who are willfully renting without a permit.

• Those operating on an expired permit but failed to renew may be fined up to $5,000.

• Closely held corporations and limited liability companies can hold a permit if they are owned by a family or family trust.

• VHR owners must obtain a rental rider from their insurance company

• Applicants who provide incorrect information will be given a chance to correct errors.

• Property managers won’t advertise vacation rentals for properties without a permit


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