Vacation rental rules raise concerns
August 30, 2004
A workshop on Monday provoked skepticism among attendees about the need for a vacation rental ordinance in the El Dorado County portion of the Lake Tahoe Basin and questions about how the ordinance is worded.
Dennis Silvera, who has rented out a home near Tahoma for 20 years, said he’s never had any complaints filed against his renters. And he’s never had to have a tenant sign a contract before they live in his home, which the new rules require.
“I’ve never had a call to my place,” Silvera said. “This is why it’s so upsetting I have to go through this.”
Supervisor Dave Solaro said even though the ordinance has been approved by the Board of Supervisors, it will likely be revised to accommodate concerns of residents.
“It’s a communication issue,” said Cherie Raffety, treasurer-tax collector for El Dorado County, who conducted the meeting and is in charge of issuing permits required by the ordinance. “We want to be sure people understand the ordinance, the process and that we want to work with them.”
The ordinance requires the 400 or so vacation rentals in the county portion of the basin to apply for an permit that costs $75 and must be renewed annually.
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The ordinance takes effect Sept. 16, but residents who have already registered with the county to be in compliance with the transient occupancy tax law will have until Dec. 22 to obtain a vacation rental permit.
Applications will be available by Sept. 17 on the county’s Web site. They can be mailed in and the county will mail back a permit.
Homeowners who are not registered with the county for the transient occupancy tax must obtain a vacation rental permit from the county before they begin operating as one, Raffety said.
Ted Long, an attorney who is running for a seat on the City Council, said the ordinance isn’t needed.
“It’s not going to make the difference people think it’s going to make,” Long said. “Why not just enforce the laws we have?”
South Lake Tahoe adopted a vacation rental ordinance two years ago that is similar to the one adopted by El Dorado County. But the county’s rules require a local contact person to show up at a vacation rental within one hour of a request by the sheriff’s department. The county rules also allow the tenant to be cited by the sheriff’s department for violations as they are described in the vacation rental ordinance.
– Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org