Short-term rental companies like Airbnb and VRBO have been making headlines—positively and negatively.
For some, these companies are a lucrative way to increase income, but for others, they’re just contributors to the housing crisis as they reduce rental inventory and drive high prices even higher. Due to the latter factors, cities like New York and San Francisco have outlawed short-term rentals where the host isn’t present, while some cities abroad have eliminated these companies from their markets entirely.
Short-term rentals have been legal in Las Vegas proper for the last decade. But until recently, short-term rentals were illegal surrounding the most popular tourist attraction—the Strip—because it falls under Clark County jurisdiction. That and the strong hospitality industry have long kept short-term rental companies from gaining a foothold in the Las Vegas Valley. Stringent rules and licensing fees have discouraged potential rental hosts, while fees for listing Strip-adjacent homes illegally have topped $1,000 per day.
But that’s all changing due to a law recently passed by the State of Nevada.
Changes in short-term rental law
A recent law passed by the Nevada state legislature reverses Clark County’s ban on short-term rentals. It has also prompted the Las Vegas city council to change its current rules in order to stay compliant. Short-term rentals are now legal in most Nevada municipalities (the state law applies to populations over a certain size), and local governments of those areas have to comply. These are the standards set out by the state law:
- Short-term rental owners must be licensed
- The minimum stay is two nights (doesn’t include owner-occupied rentals, like roomshare situations)
- The maximum occupancy is 16 people per rental
- There must be a minimum of 660 feet between any two short-term rentals, unless they’re in the same multi-family dwelling
- There must be a minimum of 2,500 feet between the property line of a business with a non-restricted gaming license (as in, a resort hotel) and a single-family, short-term rental
- Short-term rentals in a multi-family dwelling cannot exceed 10 percent of the total units
- Apartments or rooms in apartment buildings cannot be used as short-term rentals
- Short-term rental owners cannot hold more than five short-term rental properties
- Short-term rental owners must have a designated local representative who is responsible for the rental and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to respond to problems.
The fees associated with breaking these rules have also changed. While the fines for violations in Clark County were already high, in Las Vegas itself they were capped at $500. Now the fine for violating short-term rental laws in Las Vegas proper is between $1,000 and $10,000 depending on the severity of the infraction.
Additionally, Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Clark County, and Henderson must now include short-term residential rentals in their definitions of “transient lodging.” That means they’re subject to the same taxes that hotels charge guests, and usually, those taxes must be paid monthly.
Individual municipalities have their own additions to the state regulations and their own licensing rules. Here are the current rules in Clark County, the City of Las Vegas, and North Las Vegas.
Short-term rental rules in Clark County (the Strip)
The first three terms under Section Three, Title 7, Chapter 7.100 - Short-Term Rental Units of Clark County’s ordinance regarding short-term rentals declare that the county disagrees with the state measure. They state that Clark County has long banned short-term rental units because of their negative effects on residential communities and affordable housing. The rest of the ordinance includes Nevada’s short-term rental regulations in addition to the following rules:
- The maximum allowed number of short-term rental licenses cannot exceed one percent (1%) of the total number of housing units
- A short-term rental unit cannot be a non-permanent structure (such as a mobile home)
- A short-term rental unit cannot be located in an apartment building or in any of the following:
◦ the Town of Mt. Charleston
◦ Moapa Township
◦ Moapa Valley Township
◦ Mesquite Township
◦ Bunkerville Township
- A short-term rental unit must be connected to the municipal wastewater system
- There must be at least 1,000 feet between short-term rental units unless they’re located on the same multi-family property (a more-stringent measure than the state’s 660 feet)
Thinking of applying for a short-term rental license in Clark County? Here’s what you’ll have to do:
- Fill out the county’s application with all relevant information and required documentation. Incomplete applications won’t be considered.
- Pay a $45 non-refundable fee
- Purchase transient lodging liability insurance evidence in the amount of at least $500,000
- Provide your HOA or common-interest community’s approval of the short-term rental (if applicable)
- Provide evidence that your short-term rental meets the eligibility requirements
Clark County will take all complete applications submitted within the application period and assign random numbers to them. Applications for approval will be chosen via lottery. If your application is approved, you’ll have to pay an annual fee of either $750 (for rentals under three bedrooms) or $1,500 (for rentals over three bedrooms).
Short-term rental rules in the City of Las Vegas
In addition to the Nevada state rules, the City of Las Vegas has the following short-term rental regulations:
- Short-term rentals must be owner-occupied. This means you cannot rent an entire property that you are not also occupying as a short-term rental.
- Short-term rentals must have no more than three bedrooms
- Short-term rentals must qualify under the City of Las Vegas’ safety requirements (full list available on the Las Vegas Short-Term Rental Application Instructions)
- No accessory structures such as casitas, tents, trailers or other mobile units may be used short-term rentals
- The business license number must be included in all short-term rental advertisements.
- The residence must display a placard whenever rented listing the maximum occupancy
- The rental must not violate common-interest community and HOA rules
- Short-term rentals are not allowed in the following master-planned communities:
◦ Summerlin, including Sun City Summerlin
◦ Town Center
◦ Skye Canyon
◦ Cliff’s Edge
◦ Symphony Park
◦ Grand Canyon Village
◦ Las Vegas Medical District
◦ Providence Square
- The maximum number of occupants allowed is two adults per bedroom
If you have a property that meets these requirements and you’d like to apply for a license, here’s what you should know. The City of Las Vegas will not limit the approval of short-term rental licenses like Clark County does—as long as applications are complete and meet eligibility requirements. You’ll have to do the following:
- Fill out the application in full
- Provide proof of liability insurance for the rental at a minimum amount of $500,000
- Pay in advance an annual fee of $500
- Have an official inspection of the property performed
- Provide a completed and notarized Short Term Rentals Affidavit form
- Provide all hosting platforms (i.e. Airbnb, VRBO) on which you will advertise your rental
- Provide a copy of the approved City Conditional Use Verification (CUV) Permit.
- Provide a valid copy of your driver’s license or government issued ID
- Provide a floor plan identifying the bedrooms and living spaces, specifying the bedroom being occupied by the property owner during the rental periods
For more information, details, and a step-by-step guide, check out the City of Las Vegas Short-Term Rental page and the City of Las Vegas Short-Term Rental Application Instructions.
Short-term rental rules in North Las Vegas
In addition to the Nevada state short-term rental rules, North Las Vegas has the following regulations:
- Short-term rentals must be equipped with outdoor noise monitoring equipment with a minimum 30-day recording capability
- Noise levels shall not exceed sixty-five (65) decibels as measured at the property line of the short-term rental unit.
- Short-term rental owners must ensure that renters are aware of the solid waste receptacle rules in the NLVMC 8.20.120 through NLVMC 8.20.150.
- The owner is responsible for ensuring that garbage at the short-term rental is disposed of appropriately
- The owner shall provide to the City a security plan for the use of the short-term rental
- Guest parking is only allowed in the garage, driveway, or on a public street
- Vehicles of guests shall not obstruct traffic or access to other properties in the area.
- Non-permanent structures may not be used for short-term rentals
- Short-term rentals are to be used for overnight accommodations only and cannot be used for weddings, parties, or other events
- Short-term rentals cannot break HOA or common interest community rules
If you’d like to apply for a short-term rental license in North Las Vegas, you should apply for a Conditional Use Permit through the CSS Portal. Obtaining one requires the following documentation.
- Letter of intent for the Conditional Use Permit (CUP)
- Proof of ownership of the dwelling unit
- Site plan showing the location of the noise monitoring equipment
- Assessor’s Parcel Map (found on the Clark County Gismo/Open Web website)
- Floor plan if proposing individual room rental
- 660 Foot Separation Requirement from other existing or proposed short-term rentals and 2,500 Foot Separation Requirement from resort hotels.
- A notarized letter on letterhead from the homeowner's association is required authorizing the short-term rental
- A security plan for the use of the short-term rental
For more information on rules, regulations, and obtaining a license for a short-term rental in North Las Vegas, visit the City of North Las Vegas Short-Term Rentals page and check out Ordinance No. 3127.
How will these rules affect Las Vegas investors?
If you’re a short-term rental investor, how these rules affect you will depend on the location of your rental property. If you already own one, some of the new regulations won’t apply to you. For example, if you currently own a legal, short-term rental that’s within 660 feet of another, you won’t be required to move.
Most new investors in this sphere are facing firmer regulation as a result of the Nevada state law—but that’s not necessarily bad. The state law requires municipalities to create clear-cut application processes, and requirements like insurance and local representatives actually protect you in the long term. Additionally, while the required space between rentals could reduce your chances of obtaining a license if your area is already saturated, it also reduces competition for guests when you have your license in hand.
The big win for investors here is that it was previously illegal to operate a short-term rental in the unincorporated area of Clark County—which includes the Strip. Although Clark County’s regulations are strict, it’s no longer impossible to manage a lucrative short-term rental near our city’s most popular tourist attraction. You’ll just need to find a property that meets the eligibility requirements, and you’ll be well on your way to a profitable real estate investment.
Ready to find the ideal short-term rental property?
Working with the Joe Taylor Group will make it a breeze. Although all these new laws and regulations seem complicated, our expert real estate agents know Las Vegas rules inside and out. Tell us your must-haves, and we’ll find you the perfect property in your price range that meets all the short-term rental eligibility requirements.
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