Carbondale to look at possible regs, tax on short term rentals

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The Town of Carbondale is preparing to embark on the growing valley-wide debate over short-term vacation rentals and their impact on the local rental housing market.

And not just private house rentals under 30 days which tend to cater more to tourists as an option to hotels and other accommodation.

A new Carbondale advocacy group also wants the city to consider regulating so-called medium-term rentals – homes, condos, or accessory units that are rented for a limited number of months at a time, but not in the rental market. long term.



In a two-and-a-half-hour meeting on December 21, 2021, the Carbondale board heard from representatives of Community First Carbondale, which formed last summer to fight what it sees as an unhealthy proliferation of rentals in town.

The problem, said group member Kevin Rayes, is that immobilizing so many units in this way displaces local workers, including newcomers and longtime residents.



“A common cause has brought us all together,” said Rayes. “It’s a problem that erodes the authenticity that makes our valley unique. “

It’s also unfair to permanent residents of neighborhoods where a neighboring house suddenly becomes a hotel with people coming and going and creating other impacts, he said.

Rayes was joined by fairly recent arrivals and others who grew up in the Roaring Fork Valley, left for a while, then struggled to come back and reestablish their roots due to the housing crisis.

“I love Carbondale, but I don’t feel like Carbondale loves me,” said a five-year-old resident who spoke at the meeting and identified himself only as Drew.

“It is difficult to defend tenants,” he said.

While the tight rental market that is punctuated by rising rents and sky-high costs to buy a home has been a problem for years, a relatively new phenomenon that has arisen from the pandemic is the move towards medium-term rentals. or temporary, Rayes said.

“With the ability to work remotely, individuals rent properties for periods that exceed the definition of short-term rental,” the group said in a written submission to city council.

This served to create a “donut hole” effect, where the unit is occupied by a revolving door of out-of-town tenants who do not intend to settle and with whom no tax dwellings. accommodation is not collected, they said.

Carbondale is now looking to reach out to other communities in Roaring Fork Valley to resume the discussion and consider some steps to keep things under control.

The city is requesting the collection of the local accommodation tax on overnight stays for units rented through Airbnb, VRBO and other vacation rental platforms.

However, Carbondale does not have a paid licensing process and does not collect additional fees or taxes, as Glenwood Springs and other mountain towns now do.

The city of Aspen recently imposed a moratorium on new applications for short-term rentals – which is contested by a citizens’ initiative – in an attempt to curb the proliferation of such units.

Pitkin County is also considering an ordinance regulating short-term rentals and Snowmass Village Council is revising its policies.

One concern in Carbondale is that while this has not yet happened to a large extent, outside real estate investors are being sought out to buy available homes and turn them into vacation rentals, Rayes said.

Community First Carbondale proposes, in addition to a higher tax on short (STR) and medium term (MTR) rentals, to also limit them to secondary suites or a part of the main house where an owner lives as an address main.

It would be a nod to existing residents who are using these rentals as a way to allow them to continue living in Carbondale, according to the group’s proposal.

In addition, “only a natural person can apply for an STR permit and cannot hold more than one permit simultaneously”, proposes the group with the aim of preventing real estate companies from entering the local STR market.

The group also proposes to limit MTR to housing that is not used as a main residence, with a ceiling of two medium-term rentals per year, per housing.

A local resident who runs DOS as a business opposed the move, noting that most of her clients are second home owners who, without the short-term option, would not put their home on the market long term rental.

“The house would be left empty” when the owners were away, she said.

However, she said she would support an appropriate tax and clearance process for STRs.

STRs also provide jobs for housekeepers, maintenance workers and other types of support, she noted.

Directors were generally open to considering the group’s proposal and recognized that the challenges associated with vacation rentals are a priority for the city. But some administrators also suggested that the city take it step by step and maybe focus on RTS first, and not dive into MTRs right away.

The city could also consider arrangements to prevent the conversion of labor housing to short-term rentals in the future.

A proposed short-term rental regulation ordinance could be on the city council’s table by March, according to directors’ instructions after the Dec. 21 meeting.

Senior Journalist / Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or jstroud@postindependent.com.

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