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November 23, 2014

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Homeowner hit with $29,000 fine under ‘party house’ ordinance

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Steve Marcus

The first real test of the county’s “party house” ordinance, approved in 2010 to curb short-term house rentals, resulted in a $29,000 penalty for a homeowner in the tony Spanish Palms neighborhood.

Steve Sisolak

Steve Sisolak

The first real test of the county’s “party house” ordinance, approved in 2010 to curb short-term house rentals, resulted in a $29,000 penalty for a homeowner in the tony Spanish Palms neighborhood.

The rule prohibits the rental of homes for fewer than 30 days. The ordinance was created in response to complaints that shorter terms typically end up being rented to people who use the home for noisy parties in residential areas.

A home, at 5565 El Camino, has accrued penalties of $29,000 — $1,000 per day for 29 days — because the owners agreed to a “rehabilitation plan” and then violated it by renting the home again for fewer than 30 days.

The homeowner is listed as El Camino LLC, whose officers include Josh and David Stech, according to Nevada secretary of state records.

The 5,500-square-foot home in Spanish Palms includes a “lagoon pool,” tennis/basketball court, billiards room and 12-seat private theater with an 8-by-4-foot screen.

County records show El Camino LLC purchased the home in December 2009 for $618,900. Before El Camino LLC owned it, the house had been owned in 2007 by a group that called itself Party House LLC.

That, Dave Stech told the commission, is the period when renters had created problems for neighbors.

During El Camino LLC’s ownership, he added, it was not operated as a party house but was rented by families and corporations.

Stech admitted that he had agreed to the county plan not to rent it short-term but did so anyway.

Stech said that out of the 29 days before he reached a new agreement with Clark County, he spent 13 of those days trying to work out the new agreement. So, he asked the commission to forgive those 13 days, equal to $13,000 of his penalty.

Commissioner Steve Sisolak, who represents the district where the property is located, was adamant that he did not want to waive any of the fine.

“Just because you admit it doesn’t make it right,” Sisolak said, adding that would be like a motorist getting caught for speeding, then thinking they should be forgiven by admitting it to the police officer.

Josh Stech, Dave Stech’s son, told Sisolak that he is responsible for renting the house short-term after the new agreement with Code Enforcement. “It was entirely my fault; it was a rookie mistake,” he said.

“That’s between you and your dad, not between you and the county,” Sisolak replied. Stech added that he sold the home March 2. He figured that he got back about $572,000 of the $618,900 that he spent to buy the home. In the first year of renting, he said, they took in rent payments totalling $60,000. The $29,000 in question was being held in escrow, pending the commission’s decision.

Sisolak said he expects this to be the first of many party-house cases to come before the commission.

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  1. $29,000 - amounts to a total and outright fraud.

    This is what people get when you grant your Gov't too much authority. These political tools exploit Gov't authority and take advantage of the powers they wield.

    This is nothing more than a clear shakedown - trying to act tough on a lousy policy.

    You want to be tough on those who take advantage of your community? Why don't you go after big banks who have been exploiting the housing market and continue to create havoc on the housing market with their fraudulent foreclosures.

    Instead, what do you do? Focus on some silly agreement between people to rent a property.

    If you don't want noise level - call the cops.

    This is a total fraud! Total shame! A shakedown!

  2. Great to see. I hope this sends a message to other uncaring owners who abuse neighborhoods by renting to short-term renters. We see the same problem in some condominium complexes in town. I am rarely in favor of harsh government penalties, but it seems such penalties are deserved in this case.

  3. This ordinance is idiotic; punishing people for the perceptions of their actions, not the actions themselves. If the homes are used for loud parties, levy heavy penalties when those parties occur, not simply for short-term rentals.

    There are plenty of reputable marketplaces where individuals can market their homes for short-term rentals. AirBnB is the first that comes to mind. Unfortunately, the short-sightedness of the County Commission reigns supreme.

    Sisolak continues to meddle where he doesn't belong.

  4. I think the only real fee would be the sales tax due, resort fee included.. the ordinance seems almost illegal..

  5. "$29,000 - amounts to a total and outright fraud. This is what people get when you grant your Gov't too much authority. . . . .If you don't want noise level - call the cops. This is a total fraud! Total shame! A shakedown!"

    unlv702 -- when you're right you're right. The ol' common law nuisance, an inherent community power for centuries, should have been used. This ordinance is an unConstitutional attack on property rights, something even Machiavelli warned princes against.

    "I hope this sends a message to other uncaring owners who abuse neighborhoods by renting to short-term renters. We see the same problem in some condominium complexes in town. I am rarely in favor of harsh government penalties, but it seems such penalties are deserved in this case."

    Al_Rogers -- think this through. How exactly does a short-term rental "abuse neighborhoods"? Parties, loud anything, barking dogs, etc., are all separate neighbor issues.

    "This ordinance is idiotic; punishing people for the perceptions of their actions, not the actions themselves."

    edgewise -- I'm with you on this.

    Overall it's more proof how little government respects the very liberties it was Constituted to secure. How one uses one's own property is no one else's business until that use crosses the property line!

    "The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." -- Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, 1781-82

  6. How about we create a law that says that people who leave their dog out and the dog barks non-stop at 6:00 in the morning should be forced to lose their dog? That would be a useful law...

  7. unlv792:
    My guess is you wouldn't want one of these "party houses" next to you. If that were the case - you'd be the first one bitching about it and screaming to anyone about the County ordinance.

    bghs:
    Something tells me you would NOT rent your over $600,000 house to ANYONE, nor would you have parties to the extent that it would disrupt the neighborhood and possibly wreck the hell out of the house and property. Sure, have 100 people over at a time, but my guess is you would impose strict rules on what can and cannot be done on the property.

    And this goes for anyone else who thinks this is a bad idea, an infringement on your rights, I can do what I want with my property, blah blah blah. NONE of you would be a part of something like this. Admit it.

    The people in this story KNEW the rules and they went ahead and did what they wanted. They should shut up and pay the fine.

    PS Bet the hoity toity neighbors in Spanish Trails were none too happy about this "short term" rental.

  8. So lets see, Sisolak drives another small business out of Las Vegas. Yes these party houses actually "employ" people, directly or in directly. Government meddling, costing Las Vegas valley money and jobs.

  9. Lmao, just another way for the government to suck of the people who pay into the system. they'll do anything and will stop at nothing to get something for nothing to support their lazy pathetic followers and themselves.

  10. <<@ Det_Munch: Spanish Palms not Spanish Trails. Different neighborhoods>>

    Ooops! Sorry! They certainly are different neighborhoods.

    <<...just drinking Mogen David, do you?>>

    LOLOLOLOL Do they even still make that stuff?? When we were kids back in the 50's, this was THE wine at family gatherings! It was the first wine I ever drank! And we're not even Jewish, but back then - no one was really into drinking wine so this is what Mom got at the store.
    I also heard years ago this was the wine that was used at the Catholic churches that used wine for their Communion, this one and Lancer's Rose.

  11. These party homes are in residential neighborhoods not commercial districts. If there was a dearth of places parties could be thrown then maybe I could see it but that's not what's happening. There are banquet/meeting rooms in abundunce in Vegas so why do they have to have parties in a residential area? This isn't your neighbor having a once or twice a year bash, this every other week a party being thrown. So this isn't just about noise, you have increased traffic and people drinking. So when the party is over they hop into their cars and drive through the neighborhood. So that is acceptable to a lot of you it seems?

  12. Good job county. I wish the City of Las Vegas had the same rules and the gonads to inforce the rule. No business should be allowed in a residential neighborhood! If I wanted to live nest to a party house or short term rental I would have moved into a hotel or a commerical area.

  13. KUDOS to the County Commissioners for doing their job and enforcing the rules of peaceful occupacy! I've got no problem with people enjoying their freedoms without infringing on their neighbor's freedoms - so, Commissioner Sissolak is RIGHT ON AGAIN!

  14. I live in an affluent neighborhood in suburban Cincinnati and our HOA has the same rule. No short -term rentals, and in fact, only 5% of all the houses can be rentals at any time. If people don't like our rules, they don't buy here. I'm not a huge fan of over-zealous rules and regs, but when you invest in a home, you want your property value to remian as high as possible, don't you?