I want to answer a question that I get asked all of the time … I want to buy a Tahoe property that can be a vacation rental right out of the gates, where should this property be located? I’m going to answer that question for you in just a minute so you know the best place for a Tahoe vacation rental. But first it is important to understand the Lake Tahoe consists of five different counties.
Counties, Agencies & What This Means for Tahoe Vacation Rentals
On the Nevada side of the lake, there is Washoe and Douglas counties, moving to the California side, there is El Dorado, Placer and Nevada counties. In addition to the five counties, we also have the Town of Truckee and the City of South Lake Tahoe – all of those counties and agencies have different short-term rental rules.
In short, the answer to that question is Placer County is the best place to own a Lake Tahoe vacation rental. When in Placer County (think North Lake Tahoe, West Shore all the way down to the edge of Tahoma), short-term rentals are defined as units that are rented for 30 days or less and advertised as vacation rentals. Believe it or not, to make things a little more confusing, each county has its own definition of what a short-term rental is.
Why Placer County?
Let’s talk about three different reasons why, currently, Placer County is the best choice…
#1 Is there a cap on the number of short-term rental (STR) permits available?
Yes, there are 3,900 STR permits available. Once that cap is reached, there will be a waitlist.
#2 Has that cap for been reached in Placer and if not how many left?
As of the beginning of March 2023, that cap has not been reached – there were still 600 permits available. It is exciting that there are still permits available but they won’t be there forever so if owning a Tahoe vacation rental property is in your plans, I wouldn’t dawdle with your property search. You can check how many permits are still available by emailing Placer County firstname.lastname@example.org. They have put in place an automatic email reply with the number of permits that are still available that day.
#3 What is the process for applying and are there any penalties?
First, you will need to obtain a business license and a Transient Occupancy Tax Certificate – also known as the TOT Certificate. You will need those two items prior to filling out the actual application. You will also need to have to have proof of a bear bin/box or a dumpster installed at the property and you have to pass a fire inspection. For more information on the process and where to find the documents, check out the Placer County Short-Term Rental website. Now, what happens if you decide to go ahead and vacation rent your Tahoe property without obtaining the necessary permit and get caught? For the first offense, you will be fined $1,500. Second offense? You will be fined $3,000 and a third offense will earn you a $3,000 fine.
My opinion is, Placer County is taking this pretty seriously!
Bottom line, it is important to remember that while there are still permits available for a Tahoe vacation rental in Placer County, they won’t be available forever. Today is a great time to purchase a Lake Tahoe rental property in Placer County! Want to see how the Lake Tahoe market has been doing? Check out our most recent Tahoe Market Report.