There's plenty of houses, but locals still can't find a place to live
Let’s put the housing we already have in South Lake Tahoe to work. By adding a vacancy tax on houses that sit empty for most of the year, we can encourage long term rentals, local homeownership, and raise money for essential services.
Lake Tahoe has A Housing Crisis
are needed to house the workforce
commute to work on the South Shore
sit vacant in South Lake Tahoe
South Lake Tahoe is one of the last remaining livable mountain ski towns, but it’s following in the footsteps of Aspen, Jackson Hole, and North Lake Tahoe as local residents are getting priced out of town.
The City of South Lake Tahoe currently doesn't have enough funding to build our way out of the housing crisis, and we are already maxing out available state and federal grant funding. But we already have enough housing! 45% of all housing units are just sitting vacant for most of the year, up from 33% 20 years ago.
Since the peak of the pandemic, housing has felt scarcer than ever, but the population is actually down 10% since 2020 while out of town investors have been buying up property.
We need a solution that meets the scale of the problem.
Let's PASS a vacancy tax
A vacancy tax is an annual fee on houses that sit empty for most of the year. Rental properties, construction projects, and second homes used more than half the year are exempt from the tax.
Modeled after Berkeley’s successful vacancy tax, owners of vacant houses that are unoccupied more than 6 months per year would pay $3000 for the first year and $6000 every year thereafter.
If 20% of vacant second home owners shift to renting their property 6 months or more, that adds 1,460 housing units while generating $35 million each year for affordable housing, road repair, and essential services.
As implemented in other cities, occupancy will be determined by affidavit and utility usage, and enforced through existing tax laws.