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Las Vegas moves against ‘party houses’

Las Vegas took steps Wednesday to curtail “party houses” in residential neighborhoods, setting up regulations for people who rent their homes by the day or week and trying to reassure one skeptic that this approach is better than a simple ban.

“I’m torn over this. We’re not sure it will work,” said Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian, whose Ward 1 is home to many party house complaints. But she said bans in Henderson and Clark County haven’t solved the problem there.

“We do know that what the county has, what Henderson has, is not working,” she said. “This way, if anybody operates, we know — and they have to follow very strict rules.”

Las Vegas started out by following their neighbors’ lead last year, enacting a ban on rentals of fewer than 31 days in areas zoned for residential use. But officials were besieged by requests from people who have built businesses catering to corporate and family clients who don’t want to stay in the tourist corridors.

Under an ordinance approved Wednesday, a property owner or manager now must get a permit to lease a house for fewer than 31 days.

The city can set limits on the number of guests and the hours of any outdoor activity, and violations are pinned on the property owner. The landlord also must provide the city with contact information for a person who can respond immediately to law enforcement or other complaints.

Keri DeMattia, who lives next to what she described as a party house in her neighborhood near Buffalo Drive and Oakey Boulevard, told council members that she prefers leaving a ban in place.

“I’d really like the ordinance to stay the way it is,” she said. “It is not a commercial area. We don’t feel we want to live next door to Thursday-through-Sunday renters.”

She said she didn’t like the constant turnover of guests next door, nor the party trash she’s had to pick up. And she didn’t appreciate the time she came home to find a tour bus blocking part of her driveway.

“There aren’t going to be tour buses,” said Councilman Steve Wolfson, who along with Tarkanian has been spearheading the issue. “If a tour bus shows up, call me, and I’m on it that day.”

Representatives of three companies active in the short-term rental market — Las Vegas Retreats, Southwest Management Group and Executive Locations — praised the new ordinance and offered assurances that party houses can’t survive regulation.

“They will not be able to operate,” said Cherrell Tarantino, president of Executive Locations.

Contact reporter Alan Choate at achoate@reviewjournal.com or (702) 229-6435.

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