Aspen and Pitkin counties in Colorado limit vacation rentals to 120 days per year

Last week, the Aspen City Council and the Pitkin County Board of Commissioners unanimously passed an ordinance limiting short-term rentals to no more than 120 days per year.

The 120-day restriction applies to properties within Aspen’s city limits as well as properties in unincorporated parts of the county and is “designed to reduce the negative impact of short-term rentals on Aspen’s community, housing supply, economy and environment.” According to the regulatory decision of Aspen. 

City and county officials initially pushed for the 90-day limit, but have heard from STR owners and operators about how raising the lower limit would affect households, businesses, and businesses. Aspen’s industry and economy. 

“Extending the limit from 90 days to 120 days is a big win for the law, but many of the provisions are well thought out and don’t take into account the different types of short-term rentals and the impact of them to the community. Aspen Pitkin County Short-Term Tracy Sutton, rental association officer and president of Aspen Signature Vacation Rentals. “Fortunately, we still have a chance to solve some of our problems.”

yang city

Aspen STR Ordinance No. 9 was unanimously passed on June 28, six months after stopping issuing STR permits to nearly 7,000 ski communities. The new rules will go into effect on July 29. 

In addition to the 120-day limit, Regulation 9 limits the number of short-term rental permits to 75% of existing permits in a given area. In other areas, there is no limit to the number of short-term rentals.

Aspen currently has 1,319 authorized recreational facilities, and that number will drop below 1,000 due to attrition.

The city offers three different types of STR permits: Classic STR, Occupation STR, and Exceptional Inn STR. STR Lodging Exempt refers to apartment hotels, which are apartments that offer hotel-style services such as a front desk, concierge service, and on-site amenities.

Classic STR permits are limited to certain neighborhoods and ski areas of the city, but not limited to commercial, residential, and reserve areas. However, there is no limit to the number of STR permits for STR holders and citywide residents.

In the 70s and 80s, some apartments built for the STR were not included in the area.

All STR holders are limited to two per bedroom plus an additional person. The permit application must state the number of bedrooms and the maximum occupancy in the room.

The license fee for STR Classic and STR Owner Use is $349 and the license fee for STR Lodging Exempt is $148. This license fee is in addition to the $150 business license fee already requested.

Read the full terms and conditions starting on page 108.

The board is considering amending the rules to address the no-carry rule. Currently, the law prevents the transfer of an STR license when someone purchases property to be used as a short-term rental, but advocates, including Sutton, are pushing for a provision that would allow viewing review all bookings after purchasing the property. . sold.

Council and city officials said the active participation of community members in public hearings and task forces helped develop the ordinance.

“Community engagement has always been central to our process and the regulations that lead to it,” the staff memo said, adding that community engagement will continue to define STR program form.

The board will continue to choose the voting language for the STR tax, which could end in the November election. 

Outlawed Pitkin County

Pitkin County trustees on June 22 unanimously approved the creation of a short-term rental permit system and limited rental operations to 120 days per year.

Council has also introduced a minimum period of four days to reduce parking and littering problems in the community.

The new rules apply only to unincorporated areas of Pitkin County, that is, areas outside the jurisdiction of Aspen and Snowmass, and will go into effect September 20, 2022. According to Pitkin County District Attorney John Ely, the unincorporated area has 300 to 400 short-term residents. rental contract.

“But we won’t have an exact number of STRs until we have a licensing plan,” Ely said. “Regulations are expected to change over the next five years as we better understand the scope of STR’s operations.”

City and county officials cite labor shortages in the area due to a lack of affordable housing as a driving factor behind the ordinance.

However, the 120-day limit may not increase the availability of affordable or other housing. In fact, Aspen owner Presley Swann says some STRs can leave workers idle for years instead of housing.

Sutton said the city of Redstone has been hit hard by the county ordinance.

“Some people will lose their homes because they can’t hit the 120-day limit,” says Sutton.

Matthew Betcher, also a member of the Aspen Pitkin County Short-Term Rental Coalition, said he and his partners rely on income from short-term rentals to pay the mortgage on their Redstone home and other properties. New regulations could force people to sell.

“The board effectively stole the sound and spirit of the house and Redstone,” Betcher said. “For what?”

Betcher said small businesses in Redstone would also be affected.

“The summer tourist season in Redstone is busy, but the rest of the season is very quiet,” he said. “Now that the county has decided to eliminate all summer zero options, it will be very difficult for businesses to stay open. By only allowing nightly rentals for four months, the Board has ignored it. voice of nearly all local businesses. They oppose the ordinance.”

Stephanie Holder, who owns a flat in Cor Aspen, told Aspen City Council that “short-term rentals for reasons we don’t know are unreasonable.” 

“You put people in a quandary. You create a black market, you rent out short-term, but instead of getting sales tax, the city loses everything.”