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In the November election, Measure T passed in South Lake Tahoe by only 58 votes, meaning that short-term rentals, such as Airbnb and VRBO, will be partially banned.
The measure allows for unlimited rentals in commercial zones, but outside the tourist core, rental homes will be limited for tourists. While permanent residents would still be able to rent out their homes for up to 30 days per year, the measure will gut the vacation home rental business in South Lake Tahoe.
After the votes were all counted 50.42 voted "yes" on the measure, while 49.58 percent of voters chose "no."
South Lake Tahoe is the lake’s only incorporated city and is a large tourist area during ski season, which is just beginning in Northern California. The public now has five days to request a recount. That must be done in writing to the local election official.
For those in the area trying to make a profit from seasonal rentals, short-term rentals are like businesses. Measure T will severely limit homeowners’ ability to run this business effectively, even if they are permanent residents. The measure could also somewhat stifle the tourist economy in Lake Tahoe, where the demand for short-term rentals is high during peak times.
Before the vote, a vacation home rental (VHR) permit was required for any person interested in operating a VHR outside of the tourist core. Residents of South Lake Tahoe could then drive up tourist interest by posting their homes on Airbnb and other rental property websites.
Now, Measure T will eliminate most VHRs by 2021, except for certain “qualified” VHRs. Based on a VHR Map provided by the city of South Lake Tahoe, there are up to 1,400 active VHRs in residential neighborhoods, the owners of which could lose their permits with the passage of Measure T. In the community of Al Tahoe alone, there are more than 100 active VHRs, and this is just one of several South Lake Tahoe residential neighborhoods.
According to the "No on Measure T" group, “vacation home renters infuse over $100 million annually” into the local economy, which will likely be reduced with the loss of VHRs in residential areas. Visitors to Lake Tahoe can still stay in traditional lodging properties, such as hotels, motels, condominiums, and timeshares. Measure T also still allows VHRs to operate within the tourist core and all commercial areas.
For those in the South Lake Tahoe area who are unsure if their property is in a commercial area or a residential zone, the city of South Lake Tahoe's Neighborhood Zoning Map can help.
Want to know how small business owners in South Lake Tahoe are dealing with lack of snow? Check out the video below: