Vail begins enforcement for 31 non-compliant deed-restrictions |

Vail begins enforcement for 31 non-compliant deed-restrictions

Nearly half of the non-compliant units are in Altus Vail

The town of Vail is beginning the enforcement process on 31 deed restricted units, 15 of which are in the Altus Vail property.
Carolyn Paletta/Vail Daily archive

As the town of Vail seeks to address the local housing crisis by increasing the inventory of deed-restricted units, it is cracking down on those found in violation during its annual compliance process.

Deed restrictions have become a critical part of the town’s housing strategy, with the goal set in 2017 of 1,000 additional deed restrictions by 2027. At the time, the town had around 700 deed-restricted units of housing.

During the most recent compliance process, the owners of around 950 employee housing units had to submit proof they are complying with the terms of their deed restrictions.

In February, amid this process, George Ruther, the town’s housing director, told the Vail Daily that the “most notable compliance terms” are that tenants are “required to work a minimum of 30 hours per week, on an annualized basis, at a business located within Eagle County.”

“The deed restriction is a mutual covenant between the town and the property owner agreeing to who will reside within the homes,” Ruther said.

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According to a report in the Feb. 7 Town Council packet, 95% of the deed-restricted property owners submitted the required documentation by the deadline. There were 45 “non-compliant properties,” four of which were “repeat offenders,” the report added.

The 45 non-compliant properties were given a deadline of Feb. 28 to pay a $250 late fee and submit the necessary compliance document.

However, by that date, 31 property owners were still found to be non-compliant with the terms of the deed restriction.

“Of the 31 property owners alleged to be out of compliance with the terms of the deed restrictions, the reasons vary from failing to have a qualified resident residing in the home to neglecting to furnish the documentation required for the Town’s Housing Department to verify compliance. Other alleged infractions are more minor in nature including failure to remit the $250 late fee payment for having missed the Feb. 1 annual compliance deadline,” Ruther told the Vail Daily on April 4.

Now, the town is beginning the process of enforcement for these 31 properties.

“Given the level of public money investment into ensuring deed-restricted homes for year-round and seasonal residents living and working in the Vail community, the Vail Town Council has adopted a zero-tolerance policy for violations of deed restriction terms,” Ruther said. “The availability of housing is just too important to the community to allow violations to persist.”

According to Ruther, “failing to comply with the terms of the deed restriction can result in the issuance of a summons to appear in municipal court,” with the misdemeanor violation being punishable by up to $999 per occurrence.

Of the 31 units determined to be non-compliant, 15 are located in the Altus Vail property. According to prior reporting in the Vail Daily, this development set aside 15 units for Eagle County employees, with the deed restriction also allowing remote workers whose companies do business in the county.

“The recorded deed restriction terms in the Altus development are similar to those recorded on other properties in Vail. A qualified resident must be employed for 30 hours per week on an annualized basis at a business located within Eagle County,” Ruther wrote in an email to the Vail Daily on April 5.  

The town is currently pursuing legal action against the owner of these 15 deed-restricted units in Altus, according to Ruther.

Altus Vail has been the topic of two recent executive sessions held by the Vail Town Council, on March 7 and March 21. In the summary of the executive session on March 21, the purpose of the session was stated to be “to determine positions relative to matters that may be subject to negotiations, develop a strategy for negotiations, and instruct negotiators on the topic of deed restriction violations and compliance by Altus@Vail LLC.”

Ruther said that the Vail Police Department has issued a summons to the Altus property owner to appear in the town’s municipal court for “alleged violations to the terms of the deed restriction.”

A date for the appearance has yet to be set.

“The legal action is in response to alleged violations to the terms of the recorded deed restrictions, including failure to submit documentation to verify compliance as required and failure to ensure the homes are occupied by qualified residents,” Ruther wrote. “The deed-restricted homes must be occupied and not allowed to remain vacant. The town alleges that the homes are or have been vacant and unoccupied in violation with the terms of the deed restriction.”

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