Affordable Housing, STRs and Local Solutions

Member News

By Tiffany Connolly

The lack of affordable housing for Truckee’s workforce and the growing abundance of short-term rentals (STRs) is a hotly debated topic in Truckee. Locals complain that STRs are replacing long-term rental opportunities. Homeowners who are full-time residents complain that short-term renters cause too much disturbance in quiet family neighborhoods. Some homeowners who rent out their homes as STRs argue that it is the only way they can afford a second home in the area.

It is true that STRs have increased at an 81% growth rate from 2012-2018. The question that remains is – are STRs responsible for the lack of affordable housing?

The Mt. Housing Council, a project of the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, released a year-long study designed to offer insight on the correlation, or lack thereof, between STRs and the steady disappearance of affordable housing. The white paper also investigates what other resort communities are doing to alleviate the issue. You can read the 51-page Short-Term Rental White Paper here.

Businesses in North Lake Tahoe and Truckee are also struggling as employers are unable to attract and retain employees due to a lack of housing. In order to be able to serve the 3 million visitors Lake Tahoe hosts every year, employers need to find a local, stable workforce. This is proving especially difficult as, according to one study, the region is about 12,000 units short in housing the required local labor force.

HOUSING STATISTICS
There are 13,368 housing units in Truckee.

  • 28% are occupied by full-time residents
  • 20% are rented out long-term
  • 52% are second homes
  • 9% are registered as an STR (not all STRs are registered)
  • 65% of homes in the region are vacant more than 50% of the year
  • Truckee has a labor force of 9,904 people - 31.6% of this group are renters
  • Tahoe Donner represents 52% of registered STRs in Truckee

AFFORDABLE HOUSING SOLUTIONS

LANDING
The concept for Landing began in 2018 when Kai and Colin Frolich moved to Truckee to start a family and struggled to find a long-term rental home amid a sea of empty houses. To tackle this issue, they have partnered with the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation to create an online platform that connects second homeowners with vetted and qualified renters. Flexible leasing options allow for the homeowners to utilize their homes when they want. For second homeowners whose houses sit empty for the majority of year, this is a great opportunity to earn a stable income while also helping with the housing crisis in the community they love. Learn more at uselanding.com.

HOUSING PROJECTS
Coburn Crossing, the Jibboom Street Project, and The Railyard Project are current housing projects hoping to provide more affordable housing units for the local workforce. Some or all units in each project are available only to local residents who live and work in Truckee full-time. Town permitting issues are hampering some efforts to build these units, while others are moving forward.

COHOUSING COMMUNITY
Truckee River Cohousing has plans to build a community along the Truckee River on West River Street with some units being zoned as affordable housing. Members have to live and work in Truckee full-time. One-third of the units created will be offered to qualifying individuals and families at “achievable prices” while the remaining units will be offered at market rate.

WANT TO HELP OR GET MORE INFORMATION?
To learn more about what the Town of Truckee is doing, consider attending an affordable housing workshop at the Town of Truckee. If you’re interested in finding qualified renters and learning more about flexible leasing options, visit the Landing website.

Sources: Mountain Housing Council Short Term Rental White Paper, Truckee North Tahoe Regional Workforce Housing Needs Assessment (2016), Tahoe Quarterly Magazine, Town of Truckee