Las Vegas Agrees New Law for Rental Properties

Published on 21 July 2015

Though a popular property destination, some quarters of Las Vegas have become infamous for what are known colloquially as “party houses”. It was against this type of behaviour that Las Vegas city council unanimously voted in favour of an ordinance intent on cutting down on this unruly behaviour. Such legislation was, for many people, long-time coming as they viewed these party houses as having a malign effect on Las Vegas at large. The unanimous verdict will certainly spark controversy for many residents though; who may take aim at what they believe is a gross draconian violation of their property and personal rights. Such residents will become particularly irked upon finding out the consequences of engaging in such unscrupulous behaviour.

Contents of the Ordinance

Originally tabled in August, the ordinance proposes the following instruments:

  • That homeowners who lease residential properties for less than 1 month need to obtain a city-issued $500 annual license.
  • Homeowners are obliged to have someone available within 2 hours in situations of tenant conduct complaints.
  • The ordinance forbids tenants from holding parties, receptions and weddings on such rental property, while banning the use of musical instruments and stereos outdoors.
  • Under the terms of the ordinance, homeowners can only lease out a limit of five bedrooms with no more than eighteen residents therein.

If such tenants are found to be in violation of any of these conditions, the homeowner is at risk of losing the city-issued license we described earlier. In addition, the tenants in question, who are obligated to sign a lease agreement with these stipulations in mind, may face up to a $1,000 fine and as much as six months incarceration if found in breach of these conditions. The hard-line ordinance continues its campaign against party houses by redefining what it means to be an “unruly gathering”. Under the redefined term, “unruly gatherings” would now be defined as those gatherings who host more than eight individuals who pose a threat to the “quiet enjoyment” of the surroundings.

However, it’s worth noting the ordinance is not limited to certain sectors of Las Vegas, but is instead applicable over the entire city. One of the leading councilwomen involved in the proposal, Lois Tarkanian, noted how the city’s party houses tended to be incubators for rowdy and disorderly tourists who are otherwise disturbing the quiet of a respectful neighbourhood. Tarkanian went on to clarify that not all tourists are involved in such boisterous behaviour, but that a sizable minority of 10-20% were involved – she deemed this to be sufficiently large to warrant some form of restraining order on their activities.

Vociferously opposed to the concept of short-term rentals in Las Vegas, Tarkanian blamed the lack of enforcement options on the failed 2008 attempt to forbid short-term rentals in their entirety. This failure, however, prompted a greater response, leading to the eventual unanimity that councilwomen such as Tarkanian have been fighting for. Rental owners fought their corner too, with many highlighting how the quantity of such disturbing party homes is ridiculously small, too small in fact to warrant a blanket legal proposal. In fact, they retorted “not all party homes are short-term rentals and not all short-term rentals are party homes”.

Disturbance All Round

Despite the expected backlash from some property owners, it should be noted that the argument put forward by such homeowners is, in fact, a poor one. Even though not all short-term rentals are party homes, we know that most party homes are short-term rentals – it may not be all, but “most” is sufficient reason to enact legislation in such a case. Further to this, one could argue that not all people are thieves, but we still need legislation for the enforcement of the law against thieves, however small the minority. The same can be said of party homes where even though they may be in the minority, this is scant reason not to legislate against the impunity with which they’re currently operating.

So, disturbance all round. Property management in Las Vegas has become more efficient thanks to this newly proposed legislation – an enactment that serves to crack down on some of the worst elements in Las Vegas real estate. Yes – it remains a controversial ordinance for many, but the long-term benefit it reaps far outweighs the short-term gains by some displeased homeowners. This can be seen as the first step toward tackling tourist disturbances in Las Vegas, which invariably cause considerable damage and stress each and every year – a worthwhile enactment to fight against the inconsideration of many short-term tenants.