Henderson may become short-term rental capital of Southern Nevada

By: - July 16, 2019 6:16 am
where the magic happens

(Photo: City of Henderson)

You can’t do it legally in Clark County, and you can only do it in the City of Las Vegas if the homeowner is present. But the City of Henderson, which prides itself as a “premier city,” may soon throw open the gates to licensed short-term vacation rentals without the restrictions imposed in Las Vegas.  

The city council is slated to vote Tuesday night on an ordinance that would allow rentals of up to 30 days in residential areas. Henderson currently allows vacation rentals only in the tourist corridor.  Homeowners would be required to pay an annual licensing fee to the city.  

To some, they are a pox on neighborhoods — a magnet for strangers, loud parties and fast cars.  

To others, they are a relatively simple means to augment income, or a wise investment in Southern Nevada real estate.   

Keith Lynam, president of the Nevada Association of Realtors (NAR), says the calls come every day from would-be investors.    

“Multiple calls,” Lynam says.  “‘Would this make a good vacation rental property?’ ‘Would this make a good vacation rental property?’ With everything that’s going on here, people want a piece of Las Vegas.” 

Short-term rental investments are gaining some of the investor interest once reserved for house-flipping. 

But given the almost impossible task of balancing the interests of property owners — some who want to rent out their homes and others who want a ban on vacation rentals — the NAR has stayed out of the fray.  

“It’s such a tough thing,” says Lynam.  “People are entitled to quiet enjoyment of their home. But you can use it within legal reasonable means.”

“At some point in time I think there is a conversation that needs to happen. If it’s going to be in the resort corridor, the tourist corridor. Wherever,” says Lyman.  “We have zoning for everything — why not for vacation rentals?”  

But the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors, an affiliate of the NAR, supports the proposed Henderson ordinance, according to a letter submitted to the city. 

The letter cites an economic study commissioned by the GLVAR and produced by RCG Economics. 

“…non-owner occupied STRs rent out at a far higher number than owner-occupied STRs regardless of the municipality throughout the State of Nevada and beyond,” Carpenter wrote to the city, in reference to the study.  

Carpenter says the GLVAR did not poll its members before endorsing the measure.  

“We have government affairs people who decide that,” she said. “I don’t think we ever voted as a board.”  

The GLVAR is suggesting the City of Henderson require that rental owners hire a property manager.

“The city of Las Vegas’ requirement that an owner be present was kind of an overreaction,” Carpenter told the Current.  “Our point was you need to have a point of contact. A licensed property manager would have been an answer.”

The proposed ordinance has no requirement for a property manager.  

STRs contribute to home appreciation, experts say.  

Affordable housing advocates worry that “Alternative Lodging” options are displacing long-term tenants, as landlords reap a year’s worth of rent in a fraction of the time on the short-term market — 83 days, according to one study by the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy. The study says the city was losing 11 rental units per day to short-term rental operations in 2015. It estimated that area rents increased by $464 million as a result of fewer units.

Carpenter declined to address the impact more STRs may have on home prices in Henderson neighborhoods.  

If the Henderson ordinance passes, tourists seeking accommodations in Southern Nevada will be subject to three different legal standards, depending on their location.

“We’ve tried to have input at other municipalities,” says Carpenter, adding only Henderson has solicited involvement from the Realtors.  “They (local governments) should probably be consistent, but getting them to work together doesn’t always work out.” 

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Dana Gentry
Dana Gentry

Dana Gentry is a native Las Vegan and award-winning investigative journalist. She is a graduate of Bishop Gorman High School and holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Gentry began her career in broadcasting as an intern at Channel 8, KLAS-TV. She later became a reporter at Channel 8, working with Las Vegas TV news legends Bob Stoldal and the late Ned Day. Gentry left her reporting job in 1985 to focus on motherhood. She returned to TV news in 2001 to launch "Face to Face with Jon Ralston" and the weekly business programs In Business Las Vegas and Vegas Inc, which she co-anchored with Jeff Gillan. Dana has four adult children, two grandsons, three dogs, three cats and a cockatoo named Casper.