Housing headache aired out
South Lake Tahoe City Council held a workshop Tuesday to discuss dilapidated housing.
A key problem is that not enough available housing in South Lake Tahoe has driven the cost of housing up.
“The city can’t afford to produce the amount of housing it needs without help from the private sector,” said Patrick Conway, housing and economic coordinator for the city.
With the recent economic boom, many houses have been taken off the market and been purchased as second homes.
According to 1990 census figures, in the city of South Lake Tahoe only 22 percent of property is owned by people who live on it. This is significantly less than the rest of the nation.
But concerns were also raised about improving the existing stock of housing, many of which do not meet city building codes.
While code enforcement was discussed, concerns were raised about the potential of code enforcement to drive up rents.
“How can we work with the property owners to improve the properties without artificially driving up rents,” said City Manager David Childs.
Councilwoman Brooke Laine said she has been to South Lake Tahoe homes with electrical outlets that spark and windows with cardboard on them that are renting for $575 and up.
Pat Banner, a South Lake Tahoe resident said the city should concentrate on improving existing conditions instead of creating new housing.
“Let’s deal with the (housing) that human beings and families live in,” she said.
Laine suggested incentives for people who rent their second homes or for developers to create affordable housing.
“We have to understand basic economic principle to attack the problem,” she said.
“There needs to be some economic incentive,” said David Kurtzman owner of Aspen Realty.
The city council also discussed Tahoe Regional Planning regulations for land coverage, which is working against the construction of affordable housing.
The city council addressed South Tahoe Refuse regulations, which classify multiple family housing as commercial property. Because of this, landlords have to pay for dumpsters and often do not have an adequate number for multiple housing units.
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A $20,000 fine and permanent ban could eventually await those operating vacation home rentals in Douglas County without a permit.