Updated: Feb 19
Lawsuit - Press Release and Petition
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August 3, 2022 Press Release – Lawsuit Filed Just as Uber, Lyft and Turo has lifted many struggling people out of poverty and created entrepreneurs overnight, high tech rental listing platforms like Airbnb and VRBO have given struggling homeowners the ability to supplement or even replace their income by renting their homes or rooms in their homes to travelers. In Nevada, this has not only helped owners of these private rentals, but it has also helped many individuals and families economically through newly created jobs, brought newfound revenue to small businesses outside traditional city-center-attraction areas who get to welcome these travelers into their establishments, and has also created thousands of individual ambassadors promoting this great State of Nevada and everything it has to offer to visitors from around the world. All this comes at relatively zero cost to the State, City, or County. A surge in prices for gas, food and other goods by greedy corporations have pushed U.S. inflation to the highest rates in the last 40 years, pressuring households and likely triggering further inflationary woes like higher interest rates and a looming recession resulting in even more hardship for individuals, families, senior citizens on a fixed income, retirees, and the working poor here in Nevada and across the United States while big corporations post record profits and executive pay reaches new heights. Why are our public officials in Nevada insistent on depriving Nevadans from the benefits the sharing economy brings to individuals and their families and overall local and State economy? Renting one’s home to travelers is a practice that’s older than the foundation of the United States. It has always been a way for property owners to earn a living. It has stimulated the local economy by employing locals and bringing extra business to other establishments in the area. The big difference today is that technology has made this activity easier, safer, and more accessible to people around the world. A large, lower income family group, for example, traditionally lacking funds for a hotel and restaurant vacation, can now experience the travels their higher-income counterparts have long enjoyed. Despite all this, our local and state officials act like this is a new industry or activity. They have shown disregard, disdain, and a lack of understanding, essentially stigmatizing all rentals under 31 days as rager-party scenes. The threat of punishment, with fines of up to $10,000 and criminal prosecution, for the simple act of renting one's private home for less than 31 days is horrific and abhorrent. This Orwellian regulatory action was proposed by Democratic Assemblywoman Rochelle Nguyen and Republican Assemblyman Tom Roberts, known as AB363, was ultimately cemented as law by our 81st Nevada Legislature in May 2021 and signed into State law by our Governor last year on June 4, 2021. AB363 directed municipalities in Southern Nevada to adopt extreme State provisions and gave local officials broad powers to craft extreme rules and regulations and dispense exorbitantly priced licenses at random. As a condition to getting licensed, homeowners will have to agree to unannounced government inspections of their private homes at any time and at the government’s discretion. They must install costly noise monitoring devices and video cameras. Those who rent their homes only part-time, or who rent only a portion of their home, must now have their own activities, and their friends' and families' activities, surveilled and the recordings turned over for viewing by government officials.
Requiring private property owners and their guests to give up such large swaths of their fundamental Nevada and U.S. Constitutional rights, and thereby to live as second-class citizens in a government fishbowl, bodes ill for all citizens of Nevada. First, they come for the short-term rental hosts, and by the time they get to everyone else it will be too late, if we do not stop this now.
Our efforts to reason with State and local officials over the years have failed. These officials have ignored our pleas and input in favor of the resort hotels and special interest groups, like the Culinary Union, two of the most powerful groups in our State. Under the new law, our public officials handed the resort hotels a 2,500-foot radius protection for each existing and future resort hotel, utterly depriving area homeowners and neighborhood small business owners of a safe and enjoyable economic opportunity.
Of all groups, the Culinary Union should understand and empathize with the plight of the laid-off, the cash-poor, and struggling working-class, especially when so many of their own members rely on renting their homes for less than 31 days to make ends meet and others make twice more money on average as maids cleanings these short-term rentals. This new legislation rips away a decent opportunity for average people to decorate or remodel a spare room or a home, cover costly personal expenses, save for retirement, pay their mortgage, invite vetted and identified travelers, and to see a growing bank account gradually increase the person's confidence, skills, and livelihood.
Prosperity opportunities for average folks, not just those at the top, democratized comfortable travel for all visitors, are worthy goals. Over-regulation, government intrusion into minutiae, heavy-handed enforcement, criminal penalties for benign behavior, and random lotteries of private property rights, should make every Nevada voter cringe and recoil. The smear campaign by our public officials labeling all of these rentals as “party houses” has caused fear among residents despite the fact that over 90% of these homes operate with zero issues. For years, Clark County officials have been encouraging residents to turn-in their own neighbors if they SUSPECT them of renting their home for less than 31 days; not if there's noise, trash, or an actual nuisance. A special hotline was set up by the County for this type of anonymous reports. Some residents abuse the hotline and have use it to settle personal scores with neighbors they don’t like or to report groups of people of a certain race, color, gender, sexual orientation, or creed who they feel “don’t belong” in the neighborhood.
It is very important to note that we have never opposed common-sense regulations or paying taxes. In fact, we proposed both, years ago, in return of being allowed to rent on a short-term basis. Unfortunately, we were shut out by the powerful resort hotels and the Culinary Union who came out in opposition. Yet, both groups have continued to accuse these rentals of not paying taxes. It is also important to note that, all the nuisance laws for noise, trash, parking, traffic, and gatherings already exist in our Statues.
Regrettably, public officials have ignored our pleas and predicament. AB363 and the most recent Clark County ordinance passed by Clark County officials on June 21, 2022 have only exacerbated the struggle for folks trying to make ends meet, leaving us with no other alternative but to plead our case to and seek protection from the Courts.
It is our hope, through this action, that our State and local officials finally recognize this centuries-old practice and work with us in crafting sensible and fair regulations, respect our civil rights and liberties, protect private property ownership in Nevada, and end regulations that make criminals out of law-abiding citizens and further compound the economic hardship individuals and families are experiencing in Nevada.
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