Vail may rethink some short-term rental regulations
Town may suspend new registrations for some units
Vail officials are taking another look at how the town regulates short-term rentals, and may temporarily suspend some new registrations of those units.
Vail Finance Director Kathleen Halloran on Tuesday gave the Vail Town Council information about the current state of short-term rentals in town.
Vail since 2018 has required owners with short-term rentals to register with the town, including obtaining lodging tax numbers. The regulations also prohibit using deed-restricted units for short-term rentals.
Halloran said her office’s best guess is that about 95% of owners putting units into the short-term pool are complying with those regulations. Halloran added that her office is “very active” in working to ensure compliance with town regulations.
Responding to a question about complaints from Council member Kevin Foley, Halloran said the town hasn’t received as many as she expected. And, while multiple violations can result in a 12-month revocation of a short-term rental license, Halloran said no owners have yet received that penalty.
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If the town does temporarily suspend new short-term registrations — which could happen as soon as July 20 — officials will use the break to reconsider licensing fees.
“Our fee’s too low,” Mayor Dave Chapin said, noting that Crested Butte’s registration fee is currently $750.
Council member Kim Langmaid has long argued for tighter regulations on short-term rentals, especially in residential areas.
“It’s telling to see how much neighborhoods are going to short-term (rentals),” Langmaid said. “We probably shouldn’t be going any farther than that.”
Chapin said the current look at regulations doesn’t include “condotels,” buildings that have front desk services. But, Chapin added, the short-term scene has changed in just the few years Vail’s current regulations have been in effect. And the short-term scene is different than the long-standing practice of owners renting out their units to weekend visitors.
“We’ve all gotten ‘sell your home’ flyers,” Chapin said. “These are commercial businesses.”
Chapin and other council members said they want to see a report about how other communities regulate the industry, as well as a deeper look about the short-term industry’s effect on long-term rentals. Halloran said about 12% of Vail’s potential long-term rental stock is now used for short-term use.
Council member Jenn Bruno said she supports the temporary suspension of issuing new permits.
“It will give us some time to really understand the impact,” Bruno said. “We’re in a (housing) crisis. Every little step we take may help one or two people.”
14%: Portion of Vail’s housing units used for short-term rentals.
4,818: Total registered bedrooms of all Vail’s short-term rentals.
2,760: Registered short-term bedrooms from units with no front desk and aren’t fractional units.
$2 million: 2020 tax collections from Vail short-term rentals.
Source: Town of Vail