Vail Town Council passes new short-term rental regulations

New rules include much higher fines for violations

The Vail Town Council Tuesday passed new short-term rental regulations. Some council members and residents want a cap on the rentals in town.
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Vail has changed its short-term rental regulations, but council members and residents say more work is needed.

The new regulations, which take effect Jan. 1, 2023, passed on a 4-3 vote. Mayor Kim Langmaid, and Council members Jen Mason, Jonathan Staufer and Barry Davis voted to approve. Council members Kevin Foley, Pete Seibert and Travis Coggin voted against the motion.

One of the issues for those opposed to the measure was a requirement that units with short-term rental licenses will now be required to post a sign  containing the unit’s license number, as well as the name and number of the unit’s local representative and the number of the town’s short-term rental complaint hotline.

Coggin, who short-term rents his own home from time to time, said he’s concerned that signs outside unoccupied units could “lead to unwanted attention.”

All the council members agreed to a new fee structure. Those fees are $50 per year for a unit with on-site management and $260 per year for all other units.

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Given the number of currently registered units, those fees will raise roughly $375,000 per year, about what it costs the town to administer its short-term rental program.

Council members also agreed with a new fine structure that greatly increases fines for violations.

While the council passed the new regulations, Mason said she wasn’t entirely satisfied with the results, since there was no language about capping the number of short-term units in town.

Mayor Kim Langmaid agreed, noting she believes the town has enough short-term rental units.

Lindsea Stowe, an owner of the Two Arrows coffee shop and bar in Vail Village, said a cap is needed, both to keep at least some homes affordable and to lessen complaints from renters who have short-term units in the town’s commercial cores.

“When you’re in a commercial core area, you should expect commercial core businesses,” Foley said.

Ian Maxwell, chief operating officer of Vail Elevation, said he believes the regulations are too little too late.

New, higher fines

Vail’s new short-term rental regulations have greatly increased fines for violations.

First violation: $1,500, up from $500.

Second violation: $2,650, up from $1,500.

Third violation: License revoked for three years, a change from a $2,500 fine.

“I think we can handle things in a better way,” Maxwell said.

But Seibert said a cap could be seen as taking away a property right.

“If you put a cap at 20% (of units in town), you’ve said to the other 80% that’s a right they no longer have,” Seibert said.

Coggin added that a hard cap on short-term rentals is “more like a cluster bomb,” adding that questions would be whether the cap would land on the whole community, the core resort areas, or the residential areas of town.

Mason said discussing a cap might be something the council could take up later. But, Seibert noted, there are other ways of controlling short-term rental numbers, adding that some homeowner associations have already voted to ban short-term uses.

“I encourage (other associations) to look into it,” Seibert said.

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