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City listening to industry on leasing license issue

TO THE EDITOR:

I wanted to take the opportunity to provide some clarification on a story dated March 28 in your publication concerning commercial leasing.

The city Business Licensing Division is charged with ensuring that each enterprise doing business within the city obtains and maintains the appropriate business license. In the State of Nevada, both the state and local jurisdictions require licensing. This is common throughout our country. Specifically, businesses such as shopping malls, industrial centers, office parks and mini-storage centers all require a city business license. These entities are in the business of providing commercial space for lease, and they earn revenue for providing these services to their tenants who pay rent.

Over the past few years, in an attempt to keep pace with the technological advances occurring in the private sector, the city of Las Vegas has worked diligently to modernize its business licensing processes. For example, because of the city’s technology efforts, 70 percent of all city business license applications are now submitted online. In addition, the city has modified its business licensing code, reducing approximately 200 outdated business license categories.

When initiating these changes, the Business Licensing Division also became aware of the fact that many commercial leasing businesses had been categorized inconsistently, which led to misinterpretation for businesses as they attempted to determine what license category would be appropriate for them. To correct these inconsistencies, the Business Licensing Division created a specific licensing category dedicated to commercial leasing.

As your story states, the commercial leasing category exists in other local government licensing codes and provides an easy mechanism for businesses to identify the license type they are required to obtain. For the past few years, the city has expanded its online licensing capability, last year specifically linking directly to the Nevada Secretary of State’s office. That integration allows businesses to begin the application process on the state website and then move directly to the city of Las Vegas licensing portal. Access to the secretary of state’s data also allows the division to identify all of the businesses operating within the city’s jurisdiction. The commercial leasing category was one of the business categories that the Business Licensing Division chose within the last quarter to gauge compliance.

We don’t want to create a financial hardship for businesses in this category, and we don’t believe this change will. As noted, the license fee is .00056 on gross revenue every six months. That’s about $55 for properties generating $30,000 in rental income.

As a result of this compliance process, many businesses received the letter the story mentioned. We continue to work with these commercial leasing businesses to grant them the required license when appropriate, and to identify issues which may need further clarity. The Greater Las Vegas Area Realtors has offered its assistance in this effort. To characterize the city’s compliance actions as amounting to arrests and warrants for misdemeanor violations is misleading and creating undo fear.

So far, the local businesses have identified single-purpose entities and micro-commercial leasing as issues that may be further reviewed before the city takes additional compliance steps. This group of property managers, Realtors and staff will report back to me by July 1 with their suggestions to provide clarification on the licensing requirements. This will ensure that the city’s future compliance efforts are not overly burdensome to the industry. I sincerely hope that you will follow these efforts and inform your readers that, as always, the city is working in cooperation with local business organizations.

Karen E. Duddlesten,

Deputy Director, Department of Planning,

Licensing &Enforcement, City of Las Vegas

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