As We See It

Why Las Vegas needs to be careful with its ‘Party House’ ordinance

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Illustration: Ryan Olbrysh

Short-term house rentals are big business in Las Vegas. From the European traveler with a nanny to the executive who doesn’t want to stay on the Strip, short-term lessees are after the comforts of home at a reasonable rate, especially when compared to high-end hotels. And as the Las Vegas City Council mulls the future of its “party house” ordinance, the future of such short-term rentals is … unclear. The city enacted the ordinance in 2008 (requiring owners to get a license if renting out a house for less than 31 days), but now is finding itself overwhelmed by the enforcement. One option on the table: Get rid of short-term rentals entirely. That might sound good if you’ve got tourists throwing keggers down the street, but it means a big hit to companies like Crystal Properties, which rents to everyone from temporarily homeless emergency victims to those waiting for homes to be built to those wanting a place to stay with extended family. The current ordinance has already been much-disputed, and Mayor Carolyn Goodman has expressed concern about “where are the (legal) lines we should not be crossing.” In addition, all short-term rentals are subject to a room tax of 13 percent, money that’s divided among the county, school district, Convention Authority ... and the city. So come on, Las Vegas—target the bad eggs, not the golden goose.

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Ken Miller is Las Vegas Magazine's managing editor, having previously served as associate editor at Las Vegas Weekly, assistant features ...

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