Short-term rental occupancy down due to compliance and enforcement efforts

Published on April 3. 2020

Short-term rental occupancy in North Lake Tahoe has decreased as vacation rental owners comply with a statewide order to help control the spread of COVID-19. Based on Governor Gavin Newsom’s Executive Order of March 19, short-term rentals can no longer operate for commercial purposes, effectively excluding vacationing as an allowable use during the pandemic.

As a result, most of the region’s short-term rentals are now complying with the order, with many voluntarily removing their listings from the market. Only 3% had documented visitor stays last week, down from 6% from the previous week.

“We are very encouraged that the vast majority of short-term rental property managers, owners and guests have been and are continuing to abide by the guidance we have received from the governor and our Placer County health officer,” said Supervisor Cindy Gustafson.

For those that don’t adhere, Host Compliance, the county’s short-term rental and transient occupancy tax service, responds to complaints by calling and emailing short-term rental owners, local contacts and property managers. County code compliance staff follow up to ensure that the governor’s order and the county’s Short-Term Vacation Rental Ordinance are followed. An administrative penalty of $500 can be issued to a short-term rental owner who is not following the law.

“During the last week, our enforcement team has looked into 78 complaints and issued one citation. The other STRs were already vacated, owner-occupied, or were long-term renters,” said Supervisor Cindy Gustafson. “The North Lake Tahoe and Truckee region hosts many day visitors, overnight visitors, part-time residents and full-time residents. We are working to educate everyone to stay home and reduce non-essential trips and travel.”

Under the state order, short-term rentals may only operate for the following reasons:

  • To provide COVID-19 mitigation and containment measures (for example, isolation and quarantine or the housing of displaced persons or the homeless);
  • To provide housing for essential critical infrastructure workers; and
  • For use by the property owner and his/her immediate family members.

If the unit is rented or used for reasons other than the three identified exceptions, county code compliance officers will request the unit be vacated immediately. They may issue misdemeanor or administrative citations to non-compliant participants, including owners, local contacts, property managers and occupants. Code compliance officers may also revoke or deny short-term rental permits, depending on the severity of the infraction.

Placer County urges short-term rental owners to comply with the executive order to help our community stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. Short-term rentals that aren’t in compliance with the guidance may be reported to Placer County’s short-term rental hotline at 530-448-8003. Reports may also be shared online at