BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) - An ordinance to put a cap on the number of short-term rental licenses in the town of Breckenridge went into effect Monday at midnight. The goal is to get the current number of licenses down to 2,200.
Since the idea of a cap started to become more of a reality, property owners have rushed to apply for licenses.
"Hundreds. I mean, people have been scrambling to get licenses, even if they have no desire currently to short term rent, they just want to sorta bank it," said Eric Mamula, the Mayor of Breckenridge.
"They're afraid of losing the opportunity," said Steve Fisher, a Broker with Liv Sotheby's in Breckenridge. "I would say half if not three-quarters of the full-time resident's population went ahead and got 'em anyway just for a rainy day. For a potential retirement play."
Monday afternoon, Mamula estimated there are at least 3,000 licenses in Breckenridge but after midnight, no more will be approved.
"I think the fear right now is if you sell your property, the next owner will not be able to have a short-term license until they make it through the waitlist," said Mamula.
The waitlist goes into effect on Monday at midnight as well, but that only kicks in once the town hits its goal of 2,200 licenses. Then new applications will be considered.
In addition to the rush to get a license, Mamula said many have expressed a fear that the new ordinance will hurt property values.
"Depending on who you talk to, and I've talked to many realtors, some are afraid this is going to ruin the market, and some don't think it will have any effect at all. You know it might be a short-term blip but there are real estate agents that really feel that there are people out there waiting, that don't like where the town has gone lately with the number of short-term rental licenses that we do have and how it's affected some of the neighborhoods," he said.
Fisher said he's been looking at other areas out east where similar ordinances have gone into effect.
"...and the reverse has happened, where values increase, making places a little more exclusive," he said.
Wealthier families who don't need the short-term rental income started buying homes, creating a more exclusive vacation or long-term rental situation.
Fisher said there's not enough data to tell what will happen in Breckenridge. Luckily there is room to make adjustments.
Mamula said the town is creating an "overlay district task force" that will look at making short-term rental rules that are specific land-use districts, but for the time being, he says the goal is to take a pause on the current rate of growth.
"It will stop some of the inventory that we have that we feel is more long term in nature from slipping into short term, which has happened over the last couple of years," he said.
It's not a solution to directly address housing needs for the workforce- he says there are many other projects in the works to do that.
"We're in the middle of building 80 units right now with Goreman out behind the new water plant, we're gonna start on another 300 units... the town has been engaged in a ton of buy downs so we're buying properties, putting a deed restriction on them and then turning around and selling them, sometimes for as much as 25% less."
Mamula says this is more about community preservation.
"We have heard an outcry from many people in the community that this has gone too far. That neighborhoods that used to be people that you knew because they were all single owner or long-term rented, have now changed and people are complaining that they now live surrounded by four or five hotels that are just houses that are now rented all the time."
For more information about the program, or the waitlist, click here: https://www.townofbreckenridge.com/your-government/finance/short-term-rentals
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