Guest Column: The horrors of living next to a vacation rental
August 14, 2013
Our disgusting, ugly misfortune is living next to one of the 415 year-round vacation rentals in Incline Village/Crystal Bay.
We purchased our dream home here in Incline Village nine years ago because it was on a small, quiet cul-de-sac. Our daily existence changed dramatically three years ago when the house next door became a year-round "hotel" with 15-plus vacationers, and 6-12 cars, almost every week since.
The absentee owner visits the property once a year and advertises the rental on the internet. The listing encourages large groups ("sleeps 15"). They've rented to large wedding parties (75 people), a stag party with a stripper and large family reunions (once with drunken, verbally aggressive people).
It's not surprising that renters, paying $850/night, want to maximize the number of people staying there. And they bring and entertain their visiting friends.
Our renters are insensitive to community concerns such as fire danger and wildlife. The property is minimally maintained, especially defensible space. This is scary because many of these renters are clueless about fire danger, smoking cigarettes and grilling with open fire.
Parking congestion is a major issue because the two-car garage and short driveway can hold four or five vehicles at most. Though the rental management company limits the cars and people, they admit these limits are unenforceable. They've told neighbors to call the sheriff and register a complaint if there's a problem.
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The three, local, full-time families have no other recourse because Incline Village zoning is solely regulated by Washoe County. No existing local regulation limits the use of this residential property as a "hotel." If renters violate a law, e.g., trespassing, late-night noise, littering, public drunkenness/urination, illegal winter parking (all of which we've seen), we can't possibly expect our sheriffs to catch them.
We've spoken repeatedly to the management company and landlord, but we still have trespassing, parking issues and regular loud late-night parties. We don't want to waste our valuable law enforcement resources for these "nuisance" calls.
Some locals support these "businesses" because they bring in tourist dollars. Unlikely. Our neighbor-owner's income stays in Atherton, Calif. The lodging tax goes to Washoe County. Because this rental has a kitchen, renters bring their own food, so they don't patronize our restaurants or grocery stores.
But these renters do use the community recreational facilities, especially the beach, due to liberal IVGID rec pass policies. Numerous community hotels/motels are more deserving and rational locations for these large groups.
Our questions: Does the IVGID Board have the authority and desire to regulate this ongoing nightmare? If not, what's our legal recourse? Must we tolerate absentee landlords putting unregulated hotel-businesses in our quiet, peaceful residential neighborhoods, destroying our privacy and quality of life? If we move out of disgust, who will buy our home next to a year-round vacation rental? Most likely another absentee landlord.
Is this the idyllic dream of Incline Village's future? We sure hope not.
Lynn and John Schiek are Incline Village residents.