BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (CBS4)- The Town of Breckenridge could see a cap on short-term rentals as early as November if the legislation passes readings set for September. While amendments are possible, the idea would be to reduce short-term rental licenses from 2,476 to 2,200.
"We have about 3,900 total licenses, out of that about 1,500 are exempt," said Eric Mamula, Mayor of Breckenridge, "So those are things that act more like hotels in designated areas- they have a front desk, they have security, they have a phone number you can call and book a room at say Beaver Run or their timeshare, so we're exempting those properties during this bit of legislation, this would only be for roughly 2,500 properties."
The ordinance would not impact any existing licenses but if the short-term rental property was sold, it would not transfer to the new owner. So the cap would essentially happen through attrition.
Mamula says the legislation would go into effect 35 days after the second reading on Sept. 28, so Nov. 2, and expects a flood of applications until that time.
For those in the property management business, the feeling is different.
Toby Babich is the owner of Breckenridge Resort Managers and part of the Summit Alliance of Vacation Rental Managers. He believes the idea of a broad cap has created uncertainty in the short-term rental community.
"We'll see people who will want to sell and get out, I've been contacted by people a couple of times already about people that are saying, 'What should we do? Should we sell now? Should we hold on? Do we want to hold onto our license maybe and see how it rolls out…' So we're going to see people that want to panic sell and just get out of the market because they're worried about their long-term investment," he said. "What we're going to see either way is a stagnation, whereas management companies we can't refill our coffers as we're losing these properties and it's going to cause some difficulties for us to be able to retain staff."
Alex Micheline is the Assistant General Manager for the restaurant, Kenosha Breck and not only has he lost employees, he is outside the county because he couldn't find anything available closer to work.
"I think it's concerning that 52% of our inventory in Breckenridge is short-term rentals," said Micheline.
The restaurant is hiring for many positions and closed Wednesdays to give existing staff a break. He doesn't believe the cap will hurt business at all and is in favor. In fact, he thinks it needs to be more restrictive in certain neighborhoods.
"You don't need to have an Airbnb in Blue River if it's going to take away from the housing pool for locals," he said.
Mamula knows the idea isn't popular but says the cap ordinance could be amended. Many have called and emailed with great suggestions.
"We have just unleashed the hurricane, I mean the number of just emails and calls and comments from both sides have been almost overwhelming," he said.
The bottom line, he says is restoring the balance which has been thrown completely off by the rapid growth of short-term rentals.
"Summit Council has not wanted to wait because we're seeing such a degradation in our community of homes that people actually live in and over the last 5 years we have actually seen an increase of 534 short-term rentals," he said. "This started out as a housing discussion because obviously, we don't want to see our entire workforce have to live 30 miles away or 50 miles away to come to work but it has really morphed into the fabric of our community discussion. Do you want to live in a community that is nothing but empty homes or homes that are just rented out every 3 to seven days?"
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