Las Vegas sharing economy

By Doug Rankin
GC Garcia

The advent of such companies as Airbnb and Uber in furthering the idea of a “Sharing Economy” has caused local governments in the Las Vegas valley to have a knee jerk reaction in an attempt to regulate them. Local governments are rightly concerned these activities should have some regulation in order to protect the public and businesses. However, their quick to act without consideration of the unintended consequences of their action, have led to over regulation, miss-placed regulations and undue burdens upon the businesses and people who seek to enter into this new electronic application-driven market place.

Local jurisdictions have used both zoning codes and licensing codes to regulation these emerging businesses. The regulations have range from outright bans to multiple ordinances in order to achieve regulation. All of this has created confusion and frustrating for those seeking to enter the new sharing economy.

My focus of this blog will be on regulations of the business model made popular by Airbnb. This model has been defined by the Las Vegas valley cities and county as short term rentals. What follows is a discussion how each jurisdiction regulates and the unintended consequences.

Jurisdiction – Clark County

At this time Clark County has no zoning or land use regulations regarding short term rentals/vacation homes. However, they do have a business license for Vacation Homes which is defined as follows:

Vacation Homes – Defined as any residential dwelling that is utilized for transient lodging. Each vacation home shall be separately licensed and the license fee shall be three hundred dollars annually.

The absences of any zoning regulations for this use means that Clark County does not permit this type of business operation.

Jurisdiction – City of Las Vegas

Of all the Vegas Valley jurisdictions, the City of Las Vegas has been the most active in drafting regulations of short term/vacation rental homes over the past few years and have made many revisions to their current zoning and licensing code.

Under the current zoning and licensing regulations, Short-Term Rentals are a conditional use for zoning. The conditions require compliance with licensing regulations and not be located closer than 660 feet to any other Short-Term Rental.

Overall, the City of Las Vegas provides a clear set of zoning and licensing regulations to locate one Short-Term Rental in a 660-foot area. Once the first one is established in that area, the second one would require a public hearing with the Planning Commission.

Jurisdiction – City of Henderson

The City of Henderson has adopted zoning regulations as a Short-Term Vacation Rental use. However, their zoning code limits the use to only one zoning district, that being CT (Tourist Commercial). Tourist Commercial only allows multi-family residential. Further limitations are placed within the land use in that a Short-Term Vacation Rental does not include a dwelling or room used as a primary residence. For the Airbnb model this equates to not allowed. At this time only a time share concept would be permitted in the City of Henderson.

Jurisdiction – City of North Las Vegas

The City of North Las Vegas has no zoning or licensing provisions for short term vacation rentals.

Summary

These regulations and laws are changing on a regular basis and complex. Keep in touch with GC Garcia to learn more and feel free to contact us with questions as you work through the maze of regulations and paperwork.

Doug Rankin is the Planning Manager of G.C. Garcia, Inc. He has nearly 20 years of local government planning experience, with eight years of service as the Planning Manager for the City of Las Vegas, Nevada.