Breckenridge candidate Q&A: Where do you stand on short-term rental regulations?

My stance on short-term rentals is that the current legislation is a disaster. I am a Realtor, and I have lost 12 deals since Nov. 2 because of this legislation. I know that I am not the only Realtor who has experienced this. Also, many of my clients have experienced the negative impact of this mandate. I witnessed many concerned citizens speak at public comment sessions, and Town Council voted for this disaster anyway. It does not address long-term housing effectively at all and is nothing more than a taking from property owners in the town of Breckenridge. The only reason that we’re not seeing a negative impact on real estate prices is because the market is so insane. I have been a Realtor here for 28 years, and I’ve never seen a crazy real estate market like this.

— Tom Day

While I do not own rental property, I do provide handyman services to many owners of short-term rentals in the town and county. I have spent time talking to locals and visitors, and I have heard a confluence of opposing viewpoints and passionate opinions. The increase in the short-term rental market has undoubtedly been a contributing factor to the lack of affordable workforce housing as well as rising real estate prices and valuation. However, it should be acknowledged that the short-term rental market supports the town and county business economy and provides incomes to many locals.

Non-owner-occupied short-term rentals are operating as a commercial business and therefore should be subject to impact fees that reflect the commercial nature and use of the property. Additionally, short-term rentals should be held to the same safety standards and codes that apply to commercial lodging to protect the health and welfare of their guests. I support the need to have a cap on the number of short-term rental licenses issued in the town limits. The town should concentrate those short-term rental licenses to zones that have historically had low long-term or year-round owner-occupied use. There should be fewer licenses allocated to residential neighborhoods.

— Mike Zobbe

I support well thought out and communicated regulations on short-term rentals. Our community needs to manage the ratio of tourists to the locals who support them in order to ensure a high quality of life, economic vibrancy and an excellent guest experience.

— Todd Rankin

The current short-term rental cap and fees are completely unjust. While companies like Breckenridge Grand Vacations get to build more short-term rentals because their buildings are exempt, new residents and homeowners are supposed to long-term rent to the new employees hired by those companies as they can no longer get a short-term rental license. Also, if you short-term rent just a portion of your home, you have to pay a license on the entire home. This means you are encouraged not to live in your own home! In order for the fees to be manageable, you have to rent the entire home, and therefore should not be here! That is wrong.

— Lenny Weisberg

Short-term rentals are an important economic driver of our local community and can contribute to issues with attainable housing and crowding. I say contribute because there are several contributing factors. We need to find a balance that helps the community without interfering with property rights. If our only focus is short-term rentals, I fear we will not have a balanced approach to housing that will actually help address these issues.

— Nathan Moorefield

The accommodation landscape has changed drastically over the past 10 years with the explosion of web-based marketplaces. It is concerning that the question asked of a property is how much it can earn instead of does it feel like a home. It is crucial to appreciate that Breckenridge is a short-term rental town, and it always has been. We do not have the hotel bed base of other resort towns. The guiding principle should still be to preserve and protect the fabric of our community. I believe the current council is now taking the correct steps in identifying an overlay district where short-term rentals have the infrastructure appropriate for our guests with public transportation, access and less need for vehicles.

— Jay Beckerman

There is undoubtedly a housing crisis for our local workforce; however, I do not believe in taking away homeowners’ rights on how they can or cannot utilize their properties carte blanche — especially without proper input on decisions being made. Our focus should be on incentivizing homeowners to voluntarily rent long term to locals through initiatives such as lifting current restrictions in deed-restricted communities (i.e., to build lock-offs or in-law suites), subsidizing or guaranteeing affordable rentals to 30-plus hour-per-week workers, zoning specific neighborhoods or providing tax breaks to homeowners who long-term rent a portion or all of their property. This could be balanced by increasing taxes on short-term rentals and earmarking those funds for affordable housing development. These are all just ideas I’ve heard and discussed with many constituents as alternatives to short-term rental license caps.

— Jason Libby

While short-term rentals are important to our tourism-based economy, the free market has not balanced short-term rentals for our community, and I support the increased regulation.

Council has heard the voice of our community requesting short-term rental regulation. As a result, council assembled listening sessions with Realtors, lodging companies, community members, nonprofits and other businesses. This feedback resulted in current regulations as well as the creation, immediately after passing the cap ordinance, of the Tourism Overlay District Task Force to refine the regulations. This group of industry professionals and community members has been exploring which areas of town to allow a higher saturation of short-term rental licenses — areas that make sense and advance our community’s goals, like walkability. I believe this next step is necessary to strengthen the policy.

I fully support our direction. We are putting parameters on the growth of short-term rentals in our neighborhoods, existing licenses have been grandfathered in, and the process has been transparent with plenty of public input.

Additionally, I believe it’s imperative that we remain agile — that our community continues to monitor the dynamic at the state level and how new legislation might work with local policy to impact the local rental market.

— Carol Saade

Limiting short-term rental licenses is unlikely to solve the workforce housing problems because many homeowners who offer properties as short-term rentals do so because they also personally occupy their homes/condos during portions of the year.

Rather than limiting short-term rentals, the town of Breckenridge should incentivize employers to provide housing for their employees. Additionally, the town should re-evaluate certain aspects of its Lease to Locals program, which incentivizes homeowners to lease to local workers. In the current program, “Rental rates are set by the property owner or property manager, and there are no rent requirements for the program.” This past winter, I saw a listing for a short-term to long-term rental conversion unit on Zillow, where the landlord was receiving a subsidy from Breckenridge (and Summit County) through the Lease to Locals program, and the asking price was still $3,500 a month for a two-bed, two-bath apartment. I do not consider this affordable for most of our community’s workforce.

While not currently a viable option due to tax laws, the county and town should further investigate options to offer a property tax break for homeowners who rent their properties to local workers.

— Ally “For The People” Doolin

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