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Coronavirus In Colorado: Property Owners Ignoring Ban On Short-Term Rentals In Summit County

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) -- For weeks now, hotels, motels and all short-term rental operations in Summit County have been forced to close down by order of the county heath department -- but CBS4 has found hundreds of rentals still listed on VRBO.

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Mindy Brewer owns a property management company and hasn't rented a unit since the order went into affect.

"Texas, Florida... everybody was coming in on that day. Everything changed," Brewer says.

While Brewer is playing by the rules, many other property owners are not.

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"It's appalling. I am against it," Brewer says.

Summit County commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence is frustrated over people not following this law.

"People either aren't taking this seriously or thinking that they are above the law," Lawrence says.

The county is in uncharted territory but responding behind the scenes -- moving county staff to help the short-term rental team track down and warn owners who aren't following the rules.

"It's absolutely not fair. I want to say 'Thank you and I appreciate all of those red people that are not renting right now.'"

The Summit County sheriff says it's tricky to enforce the new rules during this crisis. They don't want to fill jails with people not complying and potentially spread the virus -- and they want to keep first responder safe, limiting their contact as well. So far, there has not been a single health order violation citation written. Instead, they are using warnings to plead for compliance.

"But violators are subject to fine up to $5,000 and up to 18 months in jail," Lawrence says.

"It's not fair to me who's following the rules," Brewer adds.

Another major problem is county leaders say they are running into is second-home owners allowing their friends to come stay in their  houses without paying, even though the statewide order bans this as well.

Property owners can't travel unless it's time sensitive essential maintenance on the home.

Bottom line, if you don't live in Summit County full time, officials don't want you there right now.

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