Short-term rentals have been a contentious issue in the City of Las Vegas. Once again, the issue in the spotlight.
Wednesday, an owner of the downtown condo, The Ogden, was granted a special use permit for a short-term rental. But many residents in the Ogden say they feel helpless to prevent their homes from becoming a hotel.
Isaac Pokojni-McDowell says when he and his wife purchased their home in the Ogden two-years-ago, they had no idea it was going to turn into a vacation rental haven. Now he says safety is his primary concern.
“Having unlicensed, this many unlicensed rentals, with no oversight can lead to problems. We know that Stephen Paddock stayed here,” he said.
That’s one reason why City Councilmember Bob Coffin said short-term rentals need to be reigned-in at the Ogden.
“If I’m a short-term renter, I’ve got access to all those units now. Like Mr. Paddock who killed so many people One October. He got in," said Coffin.
By all accounts, Paddock was staying in an unlicensed unit. Pokojni-McDowell says there are nearly four dozen.
“One licensed regulated one is ok. 45 unlicensed unregulated ones is (sic) not ok," said McDowell.
The one licensed unit was approved Wednesday. It belongs to Stephanie and Jose Valle, who seemingly bought their unit as an income producing property.
Stephanie Valle told the council, “The in-house sales team markets the building without limitations for short-term rentals for which the Ogden unit owners association do not prohibit.”
But, Pokojni-McDowell points to the HOA regulations which state,
7.10 “No part of the Condominium Project, except for the Commercial Units, shall ever be used for any business.”
Marco Ritzo is with the Vegas Vacation Rental Association. He said punishing the one owner willing to get a permit isn’t the answer. He said the city needs to find a way to enforce the regulation.
“We need to get everyone licensed, get them in compliance so they’re registered, they’re paying room tax, etc and with that make sure they’re in compliance and shut down the bad operators," said Ritzo.
Pokojni-McDowell is a NP. He worked the night of One October and says he just wants to make sure the law is followed because safety is paramount. “I never expected to see something that reminded me so much of war, in my own backyard.”
Pokojni-McDowell said Thursday the Ogden, the HOA Board and the City of Las Vegas will sit down to discuss some of the issues.
If the HOA decides to enforce the code and make short-term rentals illegal within the building, that would trump the city’s permit issued Wednesday.