LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – Homeowners across Las Vegas who list an illegal short-term rental may face steep fines, and one homeowner learned of $180,000 in penalties.
As more homeowners slowly get licenses for listings across the Las Vegas Valley, cities and Clark County are enforcing rules banning illegal short-term rentals posted on popular sites like AirBnb and VRBO.
In two cases, after the owners got an initial warning and vowed to end their activity, a listing continued to be posted and steep fines accumulated.
The case against a home off Sahara Avenue and Rancho went before the Las Vegas City Council; the homeowner and their attorney appealed the fines, and were denied an appeal.
Records show Las Vegas Code Enforcement started investigating the property in 2021; after officials made contact with the homeowner, he acknowledged an Airbnb listing and informed them it would stop.
Neighborhood complaints continued for the next two years, describing vehicles in and out of the property.
Code Enforcement obtained a warrant for Airbnb listings, and found the property advertised on the app for 360 days; at a rate of $500 a day, the penalty totaled $180,000 with a lien against the home.
“I am constantly getting texts, emails, calls, pulled aside in the grocery store about short term rentals,” said Councilman Brian Knudsen. The property in question sits in Ward 1. “If we continue to erode laws by not enforcing the fees and fines associated with them, we continue to lose the dignity of our neighborhoods,” he said.
Attorney for the homeowner Andrew Bao tells FOX5, a tenant kept an illegal listing and is responsible for the short-term rental activity— not the homeowner.
“The fact that my client tried to stop the alleged wrongful activity was never taken into account. Instead, my client was fined the maximum allowed by law,” Bao tells FOX5 via email. The homeowner was unaware steep fines accumulated. “Quite the shock, and we believe there are clear due process issues in such a scenario,” he said. “My client responded to every Code of Enforcement notice, reasonably investigated the matter and tried to stop the alleged activity,” he said.
Bao said the homeowner is working to determine their next steps to possibly challenge the decision.
Knudsen told Bao and his client that they should seek appropriate remedies from the tenant if they were responsible for the activity.
“The owner must stand up and take care of what’s done with their own properties,” Mayor Carolyn Goodman said.
A spokesperson for the City of Las Vegas tells FOX5, there are at least 125 legal and licensed short-term rentals across the city.
Clark County enforcement officials recently imposed a $17,125 fine against a property owner off Centennial and Ft. Apache. Though the homeowner acknowledged an illegal listing and vowed it would cease, according to county records, the property owner continued to operate an illegal Airbnb with active listings for a total of 35 days.
According to County documents, after the owner appealed the ruling, the county settled for a fine of $8,587 instead.
Clark County still has not started the process of distributing licenses to short-term rentals.
“At this time, we are in the process of reviewing the applications for completeness and eligibility. This process is necessarily time-consuming to ensure that the large volume of applications are evaluated in a consistent and fair manner. Applications that are incomplete or ineligible will be issued denials. After this portion of the application review process is completed, Clark County Business License will identify applicants that may move on to safety inspections based on the order of priority established by the Random Number Generator selection process,” a spokesperson said about the status of the process.
The Greater Las Vegas Short-Term Rental Association has continued its effort to bring a case to the Nevada Supreme Court, arguing county regulations are too burdensome on homeowners.
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