South Lake Tahoe, California is a very popular destination for skiers. Heavenly ski resort drops right into the town while Kirkwood and Sierra at Tahoe are both a short drive from town.. Visitors from the San Franscisco Bay Area and Sacramento flock to the South Shore by the thousands in the winter to enjoy the snowy Sierra playground. Many of these visitors stay in homes that are operated as short-term vacation rentals through websites like Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO.
Vacation rentals have become an extremely hot topic in the Tahoe Basin in recent years. Running your property as a short-term rental far more lucrative compared to a traditional, long-term rental. This practice has become increasingly popular and has created a serious housing shortage for locals. Ski resort and hospitality employees get the short end of the stick as it can be very difficult to find a long-term rental. Meanwhile, most vacation rentals are dark and uninhabited Monday-Friday.
The Tahoe Neighborhoods Group successfully petitioned to get an aggressive measure included on the November ballot. Currently, a permit is required to operate a vacation rental in South Lake. “Measure T” will seek to cut the number of permits issued by 75% in an effort to take back neighborhoods for locals who live and work in the town. The vacation rental permits will be cut in defined neighborhood zones while vacation rentals in the tourist corridor by the ski resort will not be effected.
Of the 1,847 total permitted vacation rentals within the city, 450 are within an area designated as the tourist core zone. Under the initiative proposal, the 1,397 elsewhere in the city would be phased out, reducing the number of permits by approximately 75 percent. The current VHR permits outside of the tourist core zone are distributed relatively evenly throughout the rest of South Lake Tahoe, David said.
The tourist core zone is surrounded by the Heavenly Valley, Bijou Park, Tahoe Meadows and Stateline residential neighborhoods, according to South Lake Tahoe’s city website. There would be no cap on the number of VHR permits in that area. – Sacramento Bee
The full details on the proposed measure are outlined on Voters Edge.
As you might imagine, Measure T is not popular with everybody. Airbnb and VRBO is big business for many homeowners. If the measure goes through, there could be an effect on real estate in South Lake Tahoe as homeowners could sell off their property instead of offering a much less profitable long-term rental.
Skiers coming to South Lake Tahoe from out of town could also feel the effect if Measure T passes. They could face higher Airbnb and VRBO prices due to supply and demand. It could also drive more traffic back to area hotels.
It will be interesting to see how things shake out in November. Regardless of the outcome, there will be big implications for this very popular ski town.