The California-Nevada Tahoe Regional Planning Agency is now telling people applying for new residential building permits that they can't rent out the homes to tourists for more than eight weeks a year.
TRPA spokeswoman Susanne Bentley said Friday the restriction is nothing new and has been part of the bistate agency's ordinances for years. What's new is that applicants will get a separate letter informing them of the limitation.
The letter is a step back from an initial proposal to get permit applicants to promise not to use homes as vacation rentals for more than the total of eight weeks.
TRPA Deputy Director Carl Hasty said the agency is concerned that vacation home rentals reduce the permanent, affordable housing pool and turn neighborhoods into areas filled with transients.
"We recognize the fact that there've always been vacation home rentals and there will always be. We're not against that,"Hasty said."But there's a quality of life issue here."
Bentley added the TRPA has received "mountains of complaints" from people adversely affected by vacation homes in their neighborhoods.
The South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce, property rights advocates, management firms and the South Tahoe Board of Realtors questioned the TRPA move, with some critics saying property rights could be affected.
"This creates an uneven playing field for those who didn't see this coming and want to build now," chamber Executive Director Duane Wallace said.
Some opponents fear the policy would force second homeowners to put their houses up for sale. Others are concerned homeowners won't report their structures as rentals, jeopardizing the collection of tax revenue.