Letter to the Editor: Short-term rentals are free and should be regulated

We would like to commend the various government entities in Summit County for trying to deal with the impacts of short term rentals. Our message and warning is: Short-term rentals don’t pay their way.

How can we say this? For starters, the Upper Blue Sanitation District has effluent studies showing that short-term rentals have double the impact of owner-occupied residential units. Thus, the district charges higher fees for short-term rentals.

Short-term rentals are commercial businesses often located in the middle of owner-occupied residential areas, and they pay residential property tax, not commercial property tax. A commercial property tax would be almost three times a residential property tax year after year. We understand that this unfortunate tax loophole is based on the Colorado Constitution, but we can’t help but wonder why there’s such an outcry to levy an “impact fee” on short-term rentals and limit some. the number, when they clearly don’t. pay their way.

Another indicator of the lack of a level playing field for short-term rentals is that conventional hotels are paying the commercial property tax rate and managing many of the impacts of their operations. These impacts are easily defined as loss of housing for the workforce, disruption of neighborhoods from noise, garbage pickup, parking, increased strain on city infrastructure. Short-term rentals also impact the workforce by creating more low-wage jobs and therefore the need for more affordable housing.

Additionally, there are many life safety issues associated with operating a short-term rental that are rarely addressed by their owners.

Additionally, the incentive demolition of existing homes to replace them with mega-homes is the added fuel to the current rise in local real estate prices.

We commend Summit entities who are working to alleviate what we consider to be an existential problem.