Short-term Rentals in Ski Resort Communities


    The supply of traditional hotel lodging in ski resort communities has not increased noticeably in recent years. In contrast, demand for ski vacations continues to grow. Consequently, residential short-term rental (STR) lodging has satisfied the growing demand for ski resort lodging in recent years. Robust metrics for quantifying these trends need to be developed.

    Historically, housing units fell into one use category or another and their usage rarely changed. In today’s internet-enabled sharing economy, housing units can quickly move in and out of various states of use throughout the year based on many factors.

    Longstanding businesses such as professional property management companies and hotels are being impacted by the rapid growth of short-term rentals. Tax revenues are also impacted, including property taxes, accommodation taxes, and business licensing fees. A three-tiered strategy for managing all of the housing needs in a resort community is the best approach.

    Year-Round Monitoring and STR Management

    The dynamic nature of housing uses today requires a year-round technology based monitoring program to enforce the licensing and permitting compliance of residential short-term rentals. Cities and counties have a vested interest in identifying unpaid tax and licensing revenues. The increased revenue from previously uncollected taxes combined with the efficiency gains of an automated system will assure a positive return on investment (ROI).

    Comprehensive Housing Inventory Database

    chair liftIn conjunction with compliance and monitoring, a comprehensive housing database must be developed. This system will track changes in the use of all housing units over time, including the ebb and flow of transient housing into and out of the long-term rental and owner occupied bed bases.

    The primary sources of information populating the database include: county GIS, assessor, rental registration data, census and other rental data, STR monitoring data, and zoning data. The County’s GIS and assessor data systems record all housing units and properties, thus forming the foundation of a comprehensive housing database.

    Such a database will improve planning, rental licensing, monitoring, tax collection, regulation, and provide an important tool for understanding the nexus between STRs and affordable housing. Monthly or quarterly reports on the state of housing in a community should be reviewed by city staff and local officials.

    Regulatory Enhancement

    A level playing field is desirable for homeowners, property management companies, hotels and residents and visitors alike. Municipal governments need to identify specific ordinance measures that will best balance neighbor’s rights and zoning with owner’s property rights. License fees should be commensurate to rental revenue and offset increased mitigation costs.

    Application for licenses and permits should include survey questions that provide information to the comprehensive database. Penalties for non-compliance need to provide appropriate incentive to ensure a high degree of registration.

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