Here’s what you need to know about Vail’s new short-term rental regulations
• Fire extinguishers need to be inspected every year.
• Plastic-toppped extinguishers can’t be re-charged.
• If you don’t have any gas-fired appliances, you don’t need a carbon-monoxide detector…
• … Unless you have an attached garage.
Source: Town of Vail
VAIL — With a March 1 deadline approaching, officials here are working to ensure property owners are ready to comply with the town’s new short-term rental regulations.
Staffers, along with the Vail Town Council, spent months crafting new regulations, largely as a response to the growth of online rental sites including Airbnb. The end result was a new law that requires property owners to obtain special licenses. Those licenses will be available online starting next week. Current regulations require only a standard business license.
The new licenses are tied to specific units, and owners must meet several new requirements. In the absence of complaints, officials aren’t physically checking units, but owners must provide a notarized affidavit affirming they’ve met requirements including:
• Having life safety equipment in the unit, including fire extinguishers and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
• Notifying duplex neighbors of the intent to short-term rent a unit.
• Acknowledgement of town parking, trash and noise regulations.
• Posting license numbers in all online and print advertisements.
• Providing interior signs with contact numbers and emergency exit locations.
• Having a local agent to handle complaints and problems.
The ordinance also has enforcement provisions. Three documented, unresolved complaints in a year can lead to revocation of a unit’s license.
In the run-up to the regulations’ March 1 effective date, town officials have had meetings with property managers and unit owners to hash out a good number of questions.
The last of those meetings was held the evening of Wednesday, Feb. 14, at The Grand View room atop the Lionshead Village parking structure. At that meeting, several property owners had a number of questions, with staff members on hand to answer those queries.
Town code enforcement officer Miguel Juaregui told the group that potential complaints can come over parking, trash and noise.
“We’re holding you accountable,” Juaregui said, adding that it’s up to owners to notice and address patterns of behavior from guests.
The idea, Juaregui said, is to keep the Vail experience consistent for all guests, from those staying in the town’s top-flight hotels to those who rent a condo for a weekend.
To help meet that goal, owner representatives have to be available at all hours and must respond to complaints within 60 minutes — 30 minutes between 11 p.m. and 8 a.m.
That requirement has a number of owners looking for local representatives.
Property owner Marianne Mulherin currently uses an out-of-state management company. She wondered if that matters if most complaints can be resolved over the phone.
Town sales tax administrator Johannah Richards said complaints — expected to be from neighbors about short-term renters — will first be referred to the owner’s agent. That could require someone who lives in the area.
Mike Vaughan, of the Vail Fire Department, also fielded several questions about requirements for alarms and fire extinguishers.
Responding to a question, Vaughan said that homes need smoke alarms — preferably in every room where someone sleeps and on every level of a unit.
Carbon monoxide alarms are different. Any unit that uses gas for heating or water, or any unit with a gas or wood-fueled fireplace, needs a carbon monoxide detector, Vaughan said. Units with attached garages need the detectors in the vestibule between the garage and the living area.
The town’s parking, trash, noise and life-safety regulations have all been on the books for some time. What’s new, though, is property owners having to affirm compliance — and have a local representative.
Julieanne Zenz and her husband own a condo in Lionshead Village. After the meeting ended, Zenz, a Chicago resident, took a few minutes to talk about the new regulations. Zenz said she and her husband will comply, but worried about the additional expenses being imposed on property owners.
“The problem for us is that everyone puts their hands in your pocket,” Zenz said. “That eventually gets passed on to the consumer.
“People are asking for a significant sum of money,” she added. “Everything adds up.”
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, firstname.lastname@example.org or @scottnmiller.
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