FAQs

***UPDATED JULY 16, 2021
Red asterisks (****) have been placed next to each item on the VHR FAQ page where changes apply. 

On June 3, 2021, the Board of County Commissioners adopted significant changes to the Douglas County Vacation Home Rental (VHR) program. This information is provided by County staff to assist new and existing permit holders with understanding the requirements effective July 15, 2021. These FAQs do not explain all of the changes or the requirements and is not intended to replace the regulations. All permit holders are strongly encouraged to read the adopted ordinance in its entirety.
Click here to view the full ordinance. To download the following frequently asked questions as a PDF, click here.

***On July 15, 2021, United States District Court Judge Robert C. Jones issued a temporary restraining order against Douglas County to restrain it from implementing portions of the County’s new Vacation Home Rental (VHR) regulations, Ordinance Number 2021-1582, pending the trial of the case. The Temporary Restraining Order narrowly impacts certain parts of the new ordinance until such time as a final determination can be made regarding the constitutionality of the ordinance.  A copy of the court order can be viewed here. The County's VHR webpages have been updated to reflect the required changes to the program.***

Q. Does this mean the new ordinance is invalid?
No, the court order does not invalidate Ordinance Number 2021-1582 but it does temporarily suspend the implementation of certain changes to the VHR regulations such as tandem parking and the new fines.  

Q. What does the Court Order mean for existing permit holders?
Existing permit holders may continue to renew their permits pursuant to Section 20.622.030 of Douglas County Code which has been amended to reflect the changes made effective July 15, 2021. Renewal applications will be subject to the new terms of Ordinance 2021-1582 with the exception of those portions described below that are the subject of the temporary restraining order like limiting occupancy based on parking.

Q. What does this mean for new permits?
The process to obtain a new VHR permit has not changed. Please refer to information on the VHR Permit Waitlist. Once selected from the waitlist, new applications will be subject to the new terms of Ordinance 2021-1582 with the exception of those portions described below that are the subject of the temporary restraining order like limiting occupancy based on parking.


Q. What is considered a Vacation Home Rental (VHR)?
“Vacation Home Rental (VHR)” or “Short Term Rental (STR)” means one dwelling unit, or a portion of a dwelling unit, including either a single-family attached unit, rented for the purpose of overnight lodging for a period of not less than 1 day and not more than 28 days other than ongoing month-to-month tenancy granted to the same renter for the same unit pursuant to NRS Chapter 118A.


Vacation Home Rental (VHR) Permit & Permitting Process
Q. When is a VHR permit required for short term renting?
A Douglas County VHR permit is required prior to advertising for rental and prior to renting a private residence for less than 28 days. The owners of any property being advertised and/or operated as an unpermitted VHR located anywhere within Douglas County in violation of Douglas County Code and the Nevada Revised Statutes shall be subject to a $20,000 civil penalty. The advertising or operation of an unpermitted vacation home is a deceptive trade practice subject to the penalties found in NRS Chapter 598. The County may also seek an injunction and/or any other legal cause of action for violation(s) of this code, including, but not limited to, collection of delinquent tax payments and criminal prosecution.

Q. Do I need a permit if I only rent my home seasonally or when I am out of town?
Yes. Renting your property for less than 28 days, at any time for any reason, requires a Douglas County VHR permit.

Q. How do I apply for a permit?
There is a cap on the total number of permits available and the maximum number of permits that may be issued in any given neighborhood.  Click here  
to determine if your neighborhood has reached maximum VHR permit density. If your neighborhood is not capped, you may apply to be placed on a waitlist for the next available permit. Click here for additional information on the waitlist.

Q. I want to know more about the waitlist. How will it work?
Click here for updates.

Q. If I have an active permit and sell my home, is the permit transferable to the new owner?
No.

Q. Is there a limit on the number of permits I can have?
Yes. A separate permit is required for each VHR unit and a permit may only be issued to the owners of the unit. Permits are limited to one permit per family(residing in the same household). VHR permits are limited to allowable uses per the property’s zoning designation and the County building code requirements.

NEW PERMITS — For new permit applications, you will not be able to obtain an additional permit if you or a member of your family who resides in the same household already has a permit.

EXISTING PERMITS — For existing permits please be advised, your permit expires and is subject to renewal annually. If you or a member of your family that resides in the same household has more than one permit, you will be required to choose which permit you wish to retain at the time of renewal. The remaining permit (s) will be revoked.

Q. Who may apply for a permit?
Permits may be issued to family trusts and individuals only, and are not transferable with the sale of the property; limited liability companies, corporations, partnerships and other similar commercial arrangements may not apply for nor receive a new permit.

NEW PERMITS — Permits are limited to one per family (members of the same household). Family trusts may apply but NEW permits will not be issued to limited liability companies, corporations, partnerships and other similar commercial arrangements. Please note permits are limited to one per family.

EXISTING PERMITS — Permits are limited to one per family (members of the same household). Family trusts may apply, however, NEW permits will not be issued to limited liability companies, corporations, partnerships and other similar commercial arrangements aside from those entities which hold an existing permit. Existing permits that have been issued to limited liability companies, corporations, partnerships and other similar commercial arrangements may renew their permit so long as they do not let their permit expire. If the company which is the existing VHR holder is sold, a NEW permit will be required and it must be either an individual or family trust who will be the holder of the permit. If a permit expires, it is revoked. Please note permits are limited to one per family.

Q. Does a permit expire? How long does my permit remain valid?
A VHR permit is good from the date of issuance for one calendar year. It is the responsibility of the permittee to take all necessary actions to renew the permit before it expires if they wish to retain their permit. If the permit is not renewed in a timely manner, a NEW permit application and corresponding fee will be required. Because there is a cap on permits, this likely means new permits will not be available immediately and the owner will need to join the VHR waitlist for permits. 


Vacation Home Rental (VHR) Program Changes
Q. Did the definition of “Overnight” change? What does this mean for me?
Yes, the definition of “Overnight” changed. “Overnight” means between the hours of 9 pm and 8 am. Quiet hours are designated between 9:00 pm and 8:00 am and will be strictly enforced.

Q. Did the definition of “Owner” and “Person” change? What does this mean for me?
Yes, the definition of “Owner” and “Person” changed.

Owner means the person or entity that holds legal or equitable title to the private property. Owner does not include a limited liability company, corporation, partnership or similar commercial arrangement with the exception of permits that have already been issued.

Person means an individual or family, including a family trust, which owns or occupies the VHR property and utilizes the home as a residence. Person does not include a limited liability company, corporation, partnership or similar commercial legal arrangement with the exception of permits that have already been issued.

NEW PERMITS — For new permit applications, a limited liability company, corporation, partnership or similar commercial arrangement may not obtain a permit.

EXISTING PERMITS — Existing permits that have been issued to limited liability companies, corporations, partnerships and other similar commercial arrangements may renew their permit so long as they do not let their permit expire.  The new rule governing one family per permit applies to renewals. If a permit expires it is revoked.

Q. Did the definition of “Bedroom” change? What does this mean for me?
Yes, the definition of “Bedroom” changed.

Bedroom” means for the purposes of this chapter as a confined space having a floor area of not less than 70 square feet (no less than 7 feet in any horizontal direction) and which is heated and has glazing of 8% of the floor area and natural ventilation through windows at 4% of the room floor area and can provide emergency egress as determined by Douglas County, with a minimum ceiling height of 7 feet. A bedroom, as defined in this chapter, must be designed to be used as a sleeping room and for no other primary purpose.  Every bedroom shall have an emergency escape or rescue exit. This definition is derived from the Internal Residential Code Section R303, R304 and R310.

NEW PERMITS — For new permit applications, this definition will be applied at the time the permit is reviewed and the property is inspected. Occupancy determinations will be made based in part on this definition.

EXISTING PERMITS — For existing permits, this definition will be applied at the time the permit is renewed and inspected. Occupancy will be adjusted based in part, if needed, on this definition.

Q. Is there a cap on the total number of permits that may be issued?
Yes, there is a cap. No more than 600 permits may be issued in the Tahoe Township.  There is also a limit on density, (the total percentage of VHRs that may be permitted) per neighborhood area.

NEW PERMITS —For new permit applications, this likely means applicants will not be able to obtain a permit immediately. Applicants will be required to apply annually to be placed on a waitlist to qualify to be eligible for a future permit. If selected, once notified, applicants will then have 60 days to meet all of the conditions of a VHR permit as determined by the County and pay the necessary fees. If it is determined by the County the applicant is unable to meet all of the conditions of the permit, the permit allocation will go back into a pool and the next applicant on the waitlist would qualify to apply for a permit. A lottery will be conducted annually to establish the waitlist, which will be good for one year. Click here to view more information regarding the waitlist.

EXISTING PERMITS — For existing permits please be advised, your permit expires and is subject to renewal annually. If you do not take the steps to renew your permit prior to the expiration date, your permit application will be considered a new permit application and you will be subject to the new permit cap and waitlist (see above). It is the responsibility of the permit holder, not the County, to ensure your permit does not expire. Douglas County may choose to remind you as a courtesy when your permit is up for renewal, but failure by the County to remind you does not entitle you to renew if your permit expires.

Q. How is neighborhood density determined?
The Douglas County Board of County Commissioners has determined that, in order to preserve the residential nature of communities within the Tahoe Township, no community shall have more than 15% VHRs in single-family communities and 20% in tourist / multi-family residential communities. A residential community, for the purposes of this section, shall be TRPA plan area statements that were approved by the County and adjacent parcels which are consistent with the uses contained within an adjacent plan area statement. A community may include phases which has various densities such as multi-family and single-family. Click here to view an online viewer that shows density by neighborhood area. Please note this map is intended to be used as an informational tool only. It is not meant to be a complete representation of the current up to the minute status of VHR permits. The underlying data used to create this map changes more frequently than the map. Final determination regarding occupancy will be made at the time of the application using real time data.   

Q. Did the application for a permit change?
Yes. Significantly. Click here  to be taken to the "Resources" page to view the application guide or please email vhr@douglasnv.us. Applicants will still be required to apply and renew online, but a paper copy of the application will be provided for your information upon request.

Effective July 15, 2021, for new and renewal applications, there are three tiers of permits authorized by Douglas County and described in Douglas County Code Section 20.622.030(E)(10). There are also special conditions for a Tier 3 Permit as described in detail in Douglas County Code Section 20.622.030(F).

VHR Permit Tier Type Fee 4% Technology Fee  Total
Tier 1 (Owner Occupied) New $350  $14.00 $364 
Tier 1 (Owner Occupied)  Renewal  $250 $10.00 $260
Tier 2 (Occupancy 10 or Less)  New  $1,200  $48.00 $1,248 
Tier 2 (Occupancy 10 or Less)  Renewal  $800 $32.00 $832
Tier 3* (Occupancy over 10)  New $2,000  $80.00 $2,080 
Tier 3* (Occupancy over 10)  Renewal  $1,800 $72.00 $1,872 
Annual Permit Draw/Waitlist  $100 $4.00 $104


*Tier 3 permits require a public hearing, and are subject to approval by the Douglas County VHR Advisory Board and to certain special conditions.

Q. Did the rules regarding parking change?***
Yes, the rules regarding parking changed significantly. Existing and new permit holders are now required to issue parking passes to renters in the format provided by Douglas County. Click here to view the required form. To read the parking requirements in further detail please refer to Douglas County Code Section 20.622.040(D)(3).
***UPDATED PURSUANT TO COURT ORDER JULY 15, 2021

All advertising for the vacation home rental must include notification to renters that they will be issued a parking permit which they must display on the driver’s side dashboard of their vehicle. Failure to park in the designated parking spaces and/or display the parking permit may result in a citation and fine of $500 to the owner of the vehicle.

Q. How are the number of parking spaces determined for a VHR?***
One (1) on-site parking space is required for every four (4) occupants.  Applications for VHR permits must demonstrate adequate (TRPA approved and paved spaces) parking spaces to support the maximum number of proposed occupants. If parking is insufficient, your occupancy will be reduced accordingly.

Parking area with drive through driveways require a 10-foot wide, unobstructed lane for emergency access vehicles. The double parking of cars, or tandem parking for the purposes of permit parking stalls, is not allowed and will not be included when calculating capacity. Final determinations regarding parking will be made by the County consistent with county code and other applicable regulations. Douglas County reserves the right to impose special parking conditions on guests of vacation home rentals in areas or under circumstances which justify it, such as narrow roads, or heavy traffic during special events, etc.
***UPDATED PURSUANT TO COURT ORDER JULY 15, 2021


Vacation Home Rental (VHR) Tiers
Q. What are the permit tiers for VHRs? How are tiers determined?
The occupancy of the VHR will determine the permit type(s) and review process for approval. The permit type is based on the maximum occupancy a residence may accommodate pursuant to Douglas County Code and subject to final determination by staff. VHR Application Types are based on the following three (3) Tiers:

VHR Permit Tier Type Fee 4% Technology Fee  Total
Tier 1 (Owner Occupied) New $350  $14.00 $364 
Tier 1 (Owner Occupied)  Renewal  $250 $10.00 $260
Tier 2 (Occupancy 10 or Less)  New  $1,200  $48.00 $1,248 
Tier 2 (Occupancy 10 or Less)  Renewal  $800 $32.00 $832
Tier 3* (Occupancy over 10)  New $2,000  $80.00 $2,080 
Tier 3* (Occupancy over 10)  Renewal  $1,800 $72.00 $1,872 
Annual Permit Draw/Waitlist    $100 $4.00 $104


*Tier 3 permits require a public hearing, and are subject to approval by the Douglas County VHR Advisory Board and to certain special conditions. To view more information on VHR permits 
click here to view the Douglas County Permit Guide.

NEW PERMITS—Occupancy will be determined at the time of inspection.

EXISTING PERMITS—Occupancy will be determined at the time of reinspection at the time of permit renewal.


Vacation Home Rental (
VHR) Taxes
Q. If I have a permit, am I required to rent the property and pay taxes?
Yes. Property owners that have a valid VHR permit from the County must demonstrate at the time of renewal that the dwelling unit was rented in the prior year. Failure to demonstrate use of the permit may result in the permit not being renewed. This is intended to prevent VHR permits from being obtained with no intent to rent the property.


Vacation Home Rental (VHR) Operation & Requirements
Q. Is licensed property manager required to operate a VHR?
A local licensed property manager is required for all tier 3 units, unless the property is managed by the homeowner that is a Douglas County resident.

Q. What information must be included in advertisements for VHRs?
All advertisements for VHRs must include the following minimum information:

  • Valid Douglas County VHR Permit number;
  • Max occupancy;
  • Number of permitted parking stalls;
  • Notification to renters that they will be issued a parking permit which they must display on the driver’s side dashboard of their vehicle and “failure to park in the designated parking spaces and/or display the parking permit may result in a citation and fine of $500 to the owner of the vehicle”;
  • Notification to renters that “Quiet hours are designated between 9:00 pm and 8:00 am and will be strictly enforced"; and
  • It is recommended that VHR owners also include notification to renters that the minimum age to rent a VHR is twenty-five (25) years. Owners shall require a copy of the renter’s driver’s license as proof of eligibility to rent.


Q. What information must be posted inside the rental unit?***
The owner of the VHR must post a copy of the permit and a copy of the conditions set forth in Douglas County Code Section 20.622.040(D)(10). Each VHR must have a clearly visible and legible notice posted within the unit on or adjacent to the front door containing the following information:

a. A copy of the valid Douglas County VHR Permit;
b. The name of the agent, local contact person, or owner of the unit, and a telephone number at which that party may be reached on a 24-hour basis;
c. The maximum number of occupants permitted to stay in the unit;
d. The maximum number of vehicles allowed, including a diagram where renters must park on the property;
e. The location of on-site and assigned parking spaces and special information related to seasonal snow removal and emergency vehicle access (if any); 
f. Notification to renters that they will be issued a parking permit which they must display on the dashboard of their vehicle. "Failure to park in the designated parking spaces and/or display the parking permit may result in a citation and fine of $500"; 
g. Notification to renters regarding the trash pick-up day and advising renters trash and refuse must not be left or stored on the exterior of the property except from 6:00 pm of the day prior to trash pick-up to 6:00 pm on the day designated for trash pick-up; 
h. Notification to renters that "Lake Tahoe is a Bear habitat. Do not feed the wildlife." Also provide renters information regarding operation of bear box; 
i. Notification that an occupant as a person responsible for an event, may be cited and fined for creating a disturbance or for violating other provisions of this ordinance; 
j. Notification that failure to conform to the parking and occupancy requirements of the structure is a violation of this ordinance; and 
k. The occupants of a vacation home rental must make the property available for inspection at all times by the Community Development Director or a designee, the Sheriff's Office or the Code Enforcement Officer on a request made by any of these officials. The notice shall be placed in the unit prior to the fire and life safety inspection or other inspection by the Community Development Department Director or designee. 
***UPDATED PURSUANT TO COURT ORDER JULY 15, 2021

Q. Is a Bear Box required for trash?

Yes. A bear proof box or reasonable bear proof trash storage solution is required for single family residences.

Click here to view information on bear boxes.

Q. Is there a requirement for insurance?
A Certificate of Insurance in a form acceptable to Douglas County showing at least five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) in general liability insurance per occurrence on the property due to homeowner's negligence is required. Douglas County shall be the sole determiner of whether or not the insurance coverage is adequate or not. In addition, Douglas County staff may require additional coverage if they believe the circumstances warrant it. Douglas County will not require more than the tier 3 insurance requirement of one million dollars ($1,000,000) of liability coverage. The certificate must include the property address and must indicate it is a VHR rental.

Q. Is there a minimum age requirement to rent VHRs in Douglas County?
Yes. The minimum age to rent a VHR is twenty-five (25) years. Owners shall require a copy of the renter’s driver’s license as proof of eligibility to rent. Owners shall retain this information as part of the application for two years.

Q. How is occupancy determined?***
The number of overnight occupants may not exceed two (2) persons per bedroom or four (4) persons per on-site permitted parking space whichever is less. Occupancy may be further limited based on life safety concerns at the discretion of the Director of Community Development. On-site permitted parking space determination will be done by the Community Development Director or their designee.
***UPDATED PURSUANT TO COURT ORDER JULY 15, 2021

NEW PERMITS—Occupancy will be determined at the time of inspection.

EXISTING PERMITS—Occupancy will be determined at the time of reinspection at the time of permit renewal.

Q. If my permitted occupancy has been reduced due to the new standards approved within Douglas County’s VHR Code, what do I do with previously booked reservations that may exceed that occupancy?

A. If you are operating under an existing permit and have not yet been required to renew, bookings may operate under existing occupancy limits -refer to your VHR permit for Max Occupancy. However, if a renewal permit is issued with a revised Max Occupancy, all stays that occur after October 1, 2021, must be reduced to meet the new occupancy requirements.  


Q. Is there an exemption for children of a certain age when determining occupancy?
No.

Q. What is a “True Host?
“True Host” means that the owner of a vacation home rental is residing at the property throughout all periods when renters are present. True host permits are considered tier 1 permits. They are exempt from the cap.

Q. What is a local contact person? Who qualifies as a local contact person?
Each owner of a vacation home rental must designate a local contact person who has access and authority to assume management of the unit and take remedial measures. This contact person must live within 30 minutes from the unit and is responsible for resolving complaints within one hour after receipt.

An owner may designate himself as the local contact person. The local contact person is required to reside or have their primary place of business within Douglas County or within the jurisdictional boundaries of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. They must be able to respond to the location, 24 hours a day, after being notified by the public, code enforcement or Douglas County Sheriff’s Office of the existence of a violation of this chapter or any other provision of this code, or any disturbance requiring immediate remedy or abatement. The responsible party is required to provide written documentation of the steps taken to resolve the complaint or violation within one (1) hour of notification.

The local contact must successfully complete a training course and achieve a qualifying score on a County administered certification test.

In addition to the requirements above, the local contact person is responsible for a number of duties described in further detail in Douglas County Code Chapter Section 20.622.040(A)(5).


Vacation Home Rental (VHR) Locations & Online Search
Q. How can I look to see if a home is rented as a VHR?
Click here to view a map of Douglas County VHRs. This map is searchable by address.

Q. Where are VHRs allowed?
This did not change. VHRs are only allowed to be permitted in the Tahoe Township.  Click here to view a map of the Tahoe Township. VHRs are NOT allowed outside of the Tahoe Township.