City wants to stop noisy vacationers
Welcome to South Lake Tahoe. Now be a good neighbor.
That’s the message some city residents want to relay to tourists, while acknowledging them as the lifeblood to the economy.
A subcommittee of the City Council is welcoming input when it takes up the issue of noisy, sloppy, crowding vacation-home tenants Friday.
It’s holding a meeting regarding a proposed rental ordinance in the conference room of city offices on Tata Lane at 2 p.m.
The city is considering drafting a new ordinance that cracks down on vacation-home renters who party into the wee hours of the night, crowd a unit, leave trash and monopolize the streets.
Sub-committee member Judy Brown, who’s also a councilwoman, admits that the majority of tenants are respectful of rules and etiquette, but “there’s that 10 percent” that prompts the need to further inspect the regulations.
“I think the key will be to draft an ordinance that gives (assurances) to the permanent residents that this issue will be addressed and monitored and won’t place a burden on the police department and vacation rental association,” Brown said.
The committee is trying to establish a consistent protocol that may involve three warnings leading to fines. Until then neighbors are advised to call the police if there’s a disturbance at a vacation home.
Many say enforcement just may be the key to a successful campaign.
Brown hopes a new ordinance to combat unruly tenants may be easier to enforce than an ordinance against tacky signs that has sparked some criticism.
Many of the vacation home rentals are handled by property management firms that have kept a close eye on the issue.
Vacation homes account for a growing share of the city’s transient occupancy tax, but only a portion hold business licenses. The city and South Lake Tahoe Board of Realtors are unaware of how many vacation rentals exist on the South Shore. Some homeowners rent out their places without assistance or intervention.
For those units rented by property managers, Brown said these firms should share the responsibility of keeping their tenants in check.
“I say enforce what we’ve got,” said Councilman Tom Davis, who also owns Tahoe Keys Resort.
Stepping up its proactive role, Davis’ company makes contact with the neighbors on both sides of its listed homes so they have a place to turn to when a disturbance occurs.
“We can do more than the cops can,” Davis said.
Davis’ Vice President Renee Miller advocates turning over rentals to property management firms and giving unruly permanent renters the same scrutiny.
Tahoe Keys Resort management provides its tenants with information that ranges from a mandate to keep the noise down after 10 p.m. and to refrain from feeding or leaving trash for the animals.
Like Davis and Miller, Bobbi Cole of Alpine Rentals thinks property management firms should be more diligent about keeping an eye on the number of renters packing a home.
“If the place sleeps 10, then that’s how many people should be there,” Cole said. “Vacation rental companies need to look at this issue long and hard.”