Frequently Asked Questions about STRs
Updated 05/28 /2021
- What is considered a Short Term Rental?
A Short Term Rental (STR) refers to existing single-family dwellings, condos, or multi-family units where, for compensation, lodging is provided within either the entire home or a portion of the home for a rental period of less than 28-days. Short Term Rentals are distinguishable from commercial lodging use types in that no meals may be provided within short term rentals as part of the rental agreement and the home may only be rented out for short-term rental use to one group at a time. STRs are also often referred to as vacation rentals and are commonly made available through property management companies or online booking platforms.
- When is a permit required for short term renting of my home?
A Washoe County permit is required prior to advertising for rental and prior to renting a private residence, such as a single-family home, apartment, or condominium for less than 28 days.
- Do I need a business license in addition to the STR Permit?
No. STRs have been deemed by the Board of County Commissioners to be a residential use.
- What happens if I operate an STR without first getting County approval?
It is unlawful and is considered a public nuisance, as defined in WCC 50.308.1, to operate an STR without the required issued permit. Any property owner found to be operating an STR without the required permit shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, issued a stop activity order, and fined per Fines Schedule and per the procedures outlined in WCC Chapter 125.
- What if we only rent our property during peak times, like the holiday’s, i.e. less than 75 days/year? Is there a min/max number of nights where an STR permit is or isn’t required?
Renting your property for less than 28 days at a time, at any point in the year, requires a WC STR permit.
- How long does my STR permit stay valid?
STR Permits are valid for 12 months from the date of issuance. STR Permits must be renewed and issued annually in order to advertise or operate. Previous issuance of an STR permit does not guarantee that a subsequent permit will be issued. Annual renewal application and fees must be submitted prior to expiration of the permit. Completion of renewal in time and prior to expiration, is the responsibility of the STR owner.
- What happens if I fail to renew my registration?
Your permit expires the last day of the month in which you were issued your permit. For example, if your permit has an annual renewal date in May, your STR permit will need to be renewed prior to May 31, 2022. Your permit will be considered null and void on the date of expiration. You will need to resubmit for an STR Permit. A courtesy email will be sent 30 days prior to your date of expiration.
- Are the fees annual, or one time?
Annual renewal application and fees must be submitted prior to expiration of the permit. Completion of renewal in time and prior to expiration, is the responsibility of the STR owner.
- Do Property Managers have to create a separate account for every rental we submit an application for?
Yes, each STR must have its own permit and account.
- If a property is owned by, and deeded to a Trust, or other entity (such as a Corporation or LLC or Irrevocable/Revocable Trust) how should the affidavit be completed?
The person who has controlling interest of the Trust, Corp. or LLC should be the person completing the affidavit and must provide written proof of this. For example, a Trust must submit the Certificate of Trust to prove the affidavit includes the correct trustee/s that can act on behalf of the trust.
- As the property owner, can I be my own certified property manager?
It is not a requirement to use a property manager; however if you wish to receive the reduced fees by contracting with a property manager, the property manager must be licensed with the Nevada State Department of Business and Industry, Real Estate Division:
- I have a property manager/local responsible party and owner contact; however, I would like to be the first point of contact for issues; how can I do this?
Due to the way our STR Hotline is designed (to respond to any complaints), only one (1) contact can be selected as the designated Local Responsible Party. This person must be able to respond 24/7 with a text enabled cell phone within 30 minutes of being contacted and be physically present at the STR location if a physical presence is required to address a complaint. Please pick the best candidate that can perform these duties, because failure to do so will result in a violation recorded against your STR (3 confirmed violations lead to the suspension of your STR permit).
- What is required for insurance?
Certificate of insurance is required, identifying that the property is used as a rental and provides a minimum of $500,000 liability coverage per occurrence.
- What happens if I submit my application prior to the 3-month grace period, but the inspection(s) have not been completed? Or I have not received my STR Permit?
This will not occur; we have 6 inspectors who can conduct 100 inspections per day and WC only has 1200 STRs.
- Does the 3-month grace period apply to the application process, or does the permit have to be granted within the 3 months?
The permit must be granted, which means it must be issued before August 1st, 2021 (end of grace period).
- If I have an active STR Permit and sell my home, can the permit be transferred to the new owner?
The permit can be transferred to the new owner, administratively, with newly updated documents that show the new owner, local responsible party or property manager/agent (if applicable) such as a new affidavit and educational material, local responsible party, etc. No new inspections are needed.
- Is there an exemption for children of a certain age when counting the number of occupants?
No. The Fire and Building life-safety codes do not allow distinction on age, or when occupancy occurs (daytime or night-time). All persons are counted towards occupancy.
- How can I obtain floor plans to show occupancy or to draw my interior layout?
Basic floor plans are available one the Washoe County Assessor’s website . Enter your address and scroll down to the bottom of the page to view a basic outline of your residence. Click on the outline to view get a larger view of the plans and print from your computer or device. Washoe County Building Department does not retain plans for any building permits submitted before the year 2000.
- I have back to back reservations through the summer into the fall, can the inspection occur in October?
No. You must have an issued permit before the grace period is over (ends July 31, 2021) if you want to advertise or operate. In order to get an issued permit, you must complete and pass the inspections.
- Will there be a limit to the number of permits issued?
There is no cap on the number of STR permits in Washoe County.
- What information on my application will be made available to the public?
Unless specifically requested, all information in association with the STR application is subject to a Public Records Act request and will be made available to the public.
- I rent my property for more than 28 days at a time, using online platforms like AirBNB and VRBO, throughout the year, how will Host Compliance know I am not renting for less than 28 days?
Host Compliance will only identify those properties that rent for 28 days or less, to be STRs and subject to the STR Ordinance.
- Is there a minimum rental period for a booking?
There is no minimum number of days required to rent.
- How do I obtain a Transient Lodging Tax (TLT) number?
To obtain a Transient Lodging Tax license number contact the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority (RSCVA) at (775) 827-7743, for more information visit Transient Lodging Tax Webpage. Partial home rentals, such as rentals of a room or several rooms (not the whole home), do not need to have a Transient Lodging Tax number and are exempt.
- If AirBNB files my lodging tax, do I still need to obtain a Transient Lodging Tax (TLT) number?
Airbnb is the only platform RSCVA issues a general TLT number for all STR’s (Tahoe Basin Only). All homeowners must have a license with RSCVA, even if they are also using Airbnb. Please reach out to AirBNB or your property manager for the TLT number.
- How do I know what will be required for my inspection?
The STR Inspection checklist has details on what to expect: Inspection Checklist.
- What is the process for inspections?
Building Inspection - A Building Inspector will call you to schedule this inspection.
Only if a Fire Inspection is required (only for defensible space, or if you have an existing sprinkler system or a monitored fire alarm), the Fire district will contact you. Within the Tahoe Basin (Incline Village and Crystal Bay), NLTFPD will email you a link to schedule your own appointment. Outside the Tahoe Basin, TMFPD will call you to schedule an appointment.
A Fire Inspection may not be required. Each Fire District determines during the STR Permit review process if a fire inspection is needed based on the ordinance requirements and their own database. Fire inspections are only required if defensible space has not been inspected in the last 12 months for your property or if you have an existing automatic sprinkler system or monitored fire alarm.
NLTFPD will conduct a defensible space inspection for all short-term rental applications within Incline Village/Crystal Bay. Occupancies with fire protection systems (e.g., fire sprinklers or monitored fire alarm system) will receive a fire and life safety inspection to ensure the system(s) have been inspected and serviced annually. Systems shall be serviced by a fire protection contractor that is licensed in the State of Nevada and certified by the State Fire Marshal’s Office. The owner or owner’s representative shall be on-site for inspections conducted by NLTFPD. Learn more about the STR inspection form. For a link to North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection Districts own FAQ Click Here: https://nltfpd.org/short-term-rentals
- Is the cost of the inspection(s) included in the STR permit, or is there an additional cost?
Yes, the master fee schedule shows the breakdown of the inspection fees; you will be invoiced accordingly. There is a onetime courtesy re-inspection fee, should you not pass/need corrections from the first inspection, which is at no cost to the applicant.
- My home is in a condominium, how do I prove how many parking spaces I am designated?
If you have assigned parking to your unit, please provide copy of your passes or a written document from your HOA stating how many spaces are assigned to your unit. If you do not have assigned parking, and parking is open parking, then please put a note of this on your Site Plan pdf and provide the total number of units and total number of parking spaces at your condo/multifamily complex. We will evaluate your STR occupancy and parking required (1 space for every 4 occupants) in relation to available parking.
- My home is in a condominium, do I need to include the common space areas such as the hot tub, snow storage, etc. on my site plan?
No, not for condominiums, multi-family or apartments.
- If my 3-story condo has no sprinklers or monitored alarm, does a bedroom with a window more than 16' above ground need an escape ladder?
Yes, it does. When egress windows or openings are located more than 16-feet above an exterior finished grade, as measure to the finished sill of the window, or if the lot has extenuating features as determined by the code officials, a safe landing area shall be provided, and an emergency ladder shall be permanently fastened (cannot be stored in a nearby closet or space) to the inside of the wall per the manufacturer’s recommendations. This ladder can also be a retractable kind. We do not recommend any specific model or manufacturer but will need it to reach within 12” of the landing surface.
- What are the requirements for fire extinguishers?
The following minimum requirement, in accordance with NFPA 10, is the recommendation per floor:
- A single extinguisher rated 2-A:10-B:C or higher OR
- One extinguisher rated 2-A or higher and a second extinguisher rated 10-B:C or higher
One extinguisher rated 2-A:10-B:C or higher should be provided to protect an attached garage that is under the residence or connected to the residence by a common wall. Where provided, extinguishers for detached garages should have a rating of 2-A:10-B:C or higher. Extinguishers must be serviced annually as required by the applicable fire agency.
- What are the requirements for carbon monoxide alarms?
For the purposes of Short Term Rentals ONLY, existing dwellings that are not currently under construction, remodel, alteration, or repair are not required to interconnect with hard wire their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, however, they must be interconnected, but can opt for wireless or blue tooth enabled devices.
- If I have a sprinkler or a monitored fire alarm, do I still need to install an escape ladder?
No, you do not. If the property has a sprinkler system or a monitored fire alarm, no emergency ladder is required.
- If I have zero natural gas, do I still need to install a carbon monoxide detector?
It depends what type of fuel your appliance runs on. Any solid fuel burning appliances installed in bedrooms or other sleeping areas shall be equipped with oxygen depletion sensors, installed in accordance with the 2018 Uniform Mechanical Code (UMC), or the currently adopted edition. All such rooms shall contain smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in accordance with Sections 314 and 315 of the 2018 IRC or the currently adopted edition. Solid fuel refers to various forms of solid material that can be burnt to release energy, providing heat and light through the process of combustion. Common examples of solid fuels include wood, charcoal, peat, coal, hexamine fuel tablets, wood pellets, corn, wheat, rye, and other grains.
- My smoke detectors are 10-year lithium battery detectors, do I need to put in detectors that are connected on both condo floors?
Yes, but you do not have to hardwire the detectors to interconnect them. You can use blue tooth or wireless interconnected detectors. But they must be interconnected.
- How do I know if I passed my inspection?
The inspector will let you know at the end of his inspection if you passed, or if there are items that need to be corrected.
- What is emergency lighting that turns on when there is a power outage?
It is a lighting fixture that has a battery backup and turns on when the power in the STR fails to provide lighted exiting path.
- What if an HOA or CC&Rs prohibit short term rentals?
Washoe County is not a party to CC&R’s which are administered by common interest communities/HOA’s and are considered private contracts. Washoe County does not enter, nor enforce these private covenants. It is important to note that the County’s STR ordinance does not alter the ability of common interest communities to prohibit short term rentals through their CC&Rs or other governing documents and to enforce those prohibitions within their community.
Operating Requirements and Enforcement
- How can I look to see if a house is a registered short term rental?
Search the address or APN for an issued permit on the online portal: www.onenv.us.
- Do I need to comply with the short-term rental regulations when I am using my home for personal use?
When the property is being used for personal use, and not operating as a short term rental, the STR standards do not apply.
- I was notified that my property received a complaint to the Short Term Rental Hotline, what do I need to do?
The person you designated as your Local Responsible Party (LRP) should have responded to the Hotline phone call within 30 minutes of being contacted to resolve the complaint. Should a physical presence be required to resolve the complaint the LRP should have been at the STR location within 1 hour of being contacted. The aim is to resolve the complaint by your LRP.