Landing Locals tackles the Truckee-Tahoe housing crisis
When Coffeebar’s Marketing Coordinator, Courtney, moved to Truckee during the Covid-19 pandemic, she found an already-tight housing market that was getting even tighter. The town’s population had swelled by almost 10% during lockdown, as second homeowners became full-time residents and remote workers embraced the opportunity to live a healthier lifestyle in the Lake Tahoe area. Housing costs had soared by 50%: there was a dramatic mismatch between median household income and rental prices.
Courtney’s search for affordably priced housing became a slog. “We’d been looking for a rental in North Lake Tahoe, but new listings would be maxed out on accepted applications within a few hours,” she recounts. "It looked like I was going to be in for a long commute."
Many of her Coffeebar teammates were experiencing the same challenge, as were cafe customers who were part of the local workforce in healthcare, hospitality, retail and personal services.
Then a house that met the “must-haves” on Courtney’s wish list appeared on Landing Locals, the local-housing marketplace for Truckee-Tahoe. The company connects homeowners with vetted locals through its online platform, prioritizing renters who already live and work in the area.
The experience could not have been more positive for Courtney. “We felt much more confident going into the renting process knowing that these homes and landlords had been vetted by a local company,” she reports. “They were super responsive and sent updates throughout the rental process, from our first walk-through to signing the lease.”
For renters, the only cost is the $30 background check fee, which is done late in the process, just prior to signing a lease.
A new solution for the Truckee housing crunch
The founders of Landing Locals, Colin and Kai Frolich, had moved to Truckee in 2018 hoping to start their family in the mountains. They were surprised at the difficulty of finding a long-term rental, and quickly discovered they weren’t alone.
“While we were trying and failing to find a long-term rental, we realized that a lot of the local housing stock--vacation homes--sat empty much of the year,” Colin says. “That’s when the lightbulb went on. We saw the urgency of the problem first-hand. We learned that there were property owners who’d be willing to consider renting out their homes, under the right circumstances.”
“There’s a life cycle to a second home,” Colin explains. “There’s usually a peak period of use for a family. But not everyone wants to get into the short-term rental business after that,” he notes. “And not everyone wants to invest the funds to upgrade a comfortable family vacation home to meet the standards of the vacation rental market."
Landing Locals was founded with the help of a grant from the Community Foundation and officially launched in 2020 with the vision of increasing housing opportunities in the North Tahoe-Truckee area. The company quickly built relationships with local employers, including the Tahoe Forest Hospital and the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, as well as independent businesses like Coffeebar. That enabled Landing Locals to build a pool of vetted, locally employed tenants who will provide stable monthly rental income, while they eliminate the typical headaches that go along with the process. The company has a presence in South Lake Tahoe, as well as other resort towns in the Mountain West.
For a one-time fee, Landing Locals provides a concierge-level solution that includes an initial consultation call or in-person visit, listing the property on the company’s site as well as other real estate sites, referring prospective tenants for review, showing the property, and doing a comprehensive tenant screening. (For owners who’d like ongoing support, Landing Locals collaborates with hand-picked local property management companies, too.)
Landing Locals also helps house seasonal short term workers needed for peak tourist seasons in the winter and summer, for periods as short as a month.
The New Truckee Grant Program for Property Owners
A new partnership with the Truckee Tahoe Workforce Housing Agency can even eliminate the cost of working with Landing Locals altogether. Truckee property owners can earn a cash grant for converting their property from short-term to long-term rental, or for entering a previously unrented home into the local market.
There are income limits for eligibility. To qualify for the grant program, they must rent to an employee of a local business whose household earns up to 150% of the area median income. Half the grant is paid out at the beginning of a one-year lease, and the other half at the end of the lease term. The Town of Truckee funds the grant program with local tax revenues.
Landing Locals is a huge win-win for the Truckee-Tahoe community, visitors, homeowners, and local workers.
Coffeebar Loves Landing Locals
“Colin and Kai are really special,” Coffeebar’s COO John observes. "They have a great mission. They're increasing sustainability for local businesses like us--helping us meet the needs of our workforce. That enables us to attract and retain the wonderful hospitalians that make the Coffeebar experience special."
As for Courtney--she’s settled in to her new home and grateful to have the opportunity to put down roots in the Truckee-Tahoe community.
How you can help
Whether you're a property owner or seeking a local long-term rental, find out more about Landing Locals here!