South Lake Tahoe to crack down on STRs during COVID-19 crisis |

South Lake Tahoe to crack down on STRs during COVID-19 crisis

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — City council wants to crack down harder on vacation homeowners and renters during the coronavirus crisis but stopped short of passing a ban on vacation home/short-term rentals Wednesday during an emergency meeting.

The city received clarification on El Dorado County’s stay-at-home mandate that said short-term rentals should only be used for housing homeless, essential workers, COVID-19 mitigation or long-term housing.

Instead of passing their own ban, the city passed an order allowing it to more strictly enforce the county’s directive. They can give fines up to $1,000 (the largest fine allowed by city code) and can use these fines as strikes against homeowners to be considered when their permits expire.

Interim Police Chief Shannon Laney said they are regularly patrolling the rental properties and are relying on tips from the public to crack down.

The city will also be tracking rental websites and making sure homeowners are not accepting reservations until after the April when the lockdown may be lifted.

While the city can’t crack down on people who are sheltering in their second homes, Councilmember Devin Middlebrook would like to highly discourage people from doing so as it is a drain on city resources.

The council also discussed a moratorium on commercial evictions. City Attorney Heather Stroud said Gov. Newsom is expected to put a statewide moratorium in place this week. The council decided to hold off on placing their own until they see what the Governor does.

Council has agreed to meet weekly, so if by next week, the Governor has not taken action, they will re-address the issue. In the meantime, Councilmember Cody Bass wants the city to encourage landlords to be lenient on tenants.

The city also discussed leasing the recreation center to the Tahoe Coalition for the Homeless. Members of the public spoke out against the idea, suggesting the homeless be housed in motels.

Mayor Jason Collin, who has been working with the coalition, said TCH is pursuing motel options but it might take a few weeks and they are in immediate need of additional space.

The council unanimously passed a motion for the city to continue negotiations with the coalition but recommended regular contract check-ins.

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