Commissioner seeks repeal of VHR program


Even as Douglas County is opening up the waitlist for vacation home rental permits, one county commissioner is seeking to eliminate the program altogether.

County Commissioner Walt Nowosad has never made a secret that he thinks vacation home rentals should be prohibited everywhere in Douglas County. Vacation home rentals are only allowed in the Tahoe Township.

On Thursday, he’s gauging fellow commissioners’ interest in repealing the program. If a majority of the commission agrees, then county staff would prepare an ordinance for the board’s consideration.

The three-month time limit before commissioners could change the ordinance without a recommendation from the VHR Advisory Board expired in June.

Commissioners approved the VHR program in June 2021, but it was challenged by VHR operators in federal court before it took effect July 15, 2021.

The advisory board has been working on suggestions for the ordinance, and the county’s VHR program finally has a dedicated manager and attorney.

County officials said eliminating the program would cost the county $4.2 million in room tax revenues, or a fifth of the total. Of that, $2.55 million goes to the Tahoe Douglas Visitors Authority and the other $1.35 million to Douglas County. The program generates $500,000 in administrative fees, but those would be offset by no longer requiring administration.

Deputy District Attorney AJ Hames and VHR Program Manager Ernie Strehlow participated in their first meeting of the advisory committee on June 22.

The board heard a presentation from Undersheriff Ron Elges, who told them deputies are responding to complaints involving on-street parking and noise.

Deputies are required to write a report on a VHR complaint. Of the 71 VHR calls in 2021, deputies wrote 50 reports and resolved 21 on scene.

Since the beginning of 2022, there have been 59 calls with 45 reports written and 14 resolved by deputies.

Most of the calls are for parking or disturbing the peace.

Douglas County began accepting applications for the waitlist for new vacation home rentals on Friday through July 31. Applications for the list will only be accepted during the month.

Applications may be submitted online, in person or by mail.

There is a limit of 600 tier 2 and 3 vacation rentals in the Tahoe Basin. Tier 1 rentals are exempt from the limit, but have a four-person occupancy and the property owner must be living on the property. Tier 2 rentals have an occupancy limit of up to 10 people. A Tier 3 rental has an occupancy of 11 people or more, but must have an active Tier 2 permit and be authorized by the VHR advisory committee after a public hearing.

Once all the waitlist applications for Tier 2 and 3 rentals are received, they will be ranked randomly by the advisory board.

For more information about applying, visit and scroll down to the VHR application button.

For more information about VHRs in Douglas County, visit the county’s web site or contact Douglas County Code Enforcement at (775) 783-6027.


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