Proposed Category 1 and Category 2 Lake Tahoe Benchmark Rental Rates

Nov 9, 2021 | Leases & Permits

The Commission will consider approval of an update to the 2012 Category 1 Lake Tahoe Berths and Buoys Benchmark Rental Rates and a proposal to establish a Category 2 Lake Tahoe Benchmark Rental Rate at its December 8, 2021 virtual public meeting.

These rental rates are used to determine rent or other compensation as part of a lease with the Commission for the occupation and use of State-owned land in Lake Tahoe and Donner Lake.

Information on how to join the meeting over the web or by phone will be available on our website 2 to 3 days before the meeting date. Please note that the time is subject to change, so please check our website to confirm.

A comparison of the 2012 benchmark rental rates and the current proposal is summarized in the following table.

Category 2012 Benchmark Current Proposal
Category 1 Berths $0.79/square foot $0.814/square foot
Category 1 Buoys $377/mooring buoy $273/mooring buoy
Category 2 Non-Water Dependent Uses n/a $13.05/square foot

Further details will be available in the December meeting agenda that will be posted to our website on November 19 or soon after.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will the rent for existing leases automatically change to the new benchmark rental rate?

No. Most leases issued by the Commission set the rent at year one and adjust the rent only by an inflation index. Regardless of whether the new benchmark would result in higher or lower total rent, neither party can change the rent without amending the lease. If a lessee wants to recalculate their rent based on the updated benchmarks before the expiration of their lease, they must apply for an amendment of their current lease or issuance of a new lease. If the lessee does nothing, the rent will remain as specified in their current lease.

Will there be a fee to submit an application?

Yes. An application requires a non-refundable filing fee of $25 and an approximate expense deposit (AED) of $1,500. The processing fees are the same whether the application is for a lease amendment or a new lease. The fees cover the actual staff time to process the application. Any unused portion of the AED will be refunded, and any additional expense may be billed. Staff will notify the Applicant if additional funds are required to complete this application.

Do the application fees go to the Lake Tahoe Science and Lake Improvement Account?

No. These fees cover staff costs to process an application. The annual rent generated by our Lake Tahoe leases is transferred to the Lake Tahoe Science and Lake Improvement Account.

What does the application process entail to revise rent? 

As mentioned earlier, a lessee can either apply for an amendment or a new lease. An amendment will recalculate the rent using the updated benchmarks but will not extend the term of the lease. A lessee may choose to apply for a new lease rather than an amendment if the lease will expire soon. Most current leases require an application for a new lease at least one year prior to expiration to account for processing time. Weighing these factors against the potential change in rent should allow each lessee to evaluate this decision. Staff is happy to assist or provide clarification.

Will lessees be required to apply for a new lease or amendment because benchmark rental rates have been updated or established? 

No. Existing leases will continue, on their terms, until their expiration unless the lessee applies for an amendment.

What is the difference between Category 1 and Category 2 Benchmark rental rates?

The Category 1 benchmark generally applies to water-dependent uses that are related to boating, such as private docks, piers, and buoys. The Category 2 benchmark generally applies non-water-dependent uses that are not used to dock or moor boats, such as cantilevered decks, sundecks, enclosed residential spaces, or artificial fill. The vast majority of leases at Lake Tahoe have private recreational piers and mooring buoys with rent based on the Category 1 Benchmark rental rate. Approximately 30 leases have non-water dependent improvements on sovereign land in Lake Tahoe. Staff would apply a Category 2 Benchmark rental rate to calculate rent for these improvements.

What is the date, time, and location of the Commission meeting where the Lake Tahoe Benchmark rental rates will be addressed?

The Commission will consider approval of the 2021 Category 1 Lake Tahoe Berths, Category 1 Lake Tahoe Buoys, and Category 2 Lake Tahoe Non-Water Dependent Uses on Wednesday, December 8, 2021, at 10:00 AM. The meeting will be a virtual Zoom meeting.

How can we get more information and details on the proposed Lake Tahoe Benchmark rental rates?

A detailed staff report on the proposed Lake Tahoe Benchmark rental rates will be available on our website on November 19, 2021, or shortly after.

Comments or Questions?

Should you have any questions, please contact Ninette Lee, Public Land Manager, at or at 916.574.1869.

You may contact our office at any point prior to the December 8, 2021 Commission meeting if you wish to submit a written comment. Comments can be emailed to or mailed to:

California State Lands Commission
Attention: Ninette Lee
100 Howe Avenue, Suite 100-South
Sacramento CA  95825-8202