Understanding Short-Term Rental Property Guidelines in Summit County

Understanding Short-Term Rental Property Guidelines in Summit County

  • Maureen Lathrop
  • 11/22/22

Summit County in Colorado is one of Earth's most beautiful mountain paradises. It is the home to many world-class ski and snowboarding resorts that make Colorado famous, including Breckenridge Ski Resort, Keystone Ski Resort, and Copper Mountain Ski Resort. These stunning resorts not only have some of the best terrain and snow in the world but also amazing activities for off-mountain adventures, such as ice skating, alpine rollercoasters, ice sculptures, and more. Mountain towns are filled with luxurious shopping, dining, and of course, opportunities for apres ski cocktails and drinks. Light snow, cozy indoor and outdoor fireplaces, warm drinks, and friendly company make nights in Summit County seem like a dream.
However, Summit County doesn’t stop thriving when the snow melts in spring. These mountain towns glow with plenty of opportunities for summer outdoor activities. Residents and visitors alike enjoy hiking, biking, mountain biking, climbing, and swimming. With stunning views of the Rocky Mountains and the Continental Divide, there’s natural beauty all around you in Summit County. Simply stepping outside onto your porch brings you into the wild Rocky Mountains. Living in Summit County is an adventurer’s dream come true.
Many folks interested in Summit County homes for sale are also curious about how to use their property as a short-term rental to create extra income and maximize the value of their new luxury home. However, in Summit County, there are some regulations around short-term rentals to protect the community. Our guide will walk you through the short-term rental property guidelines in Summit County and what to expect if you’re looking to start a short-term rental business here.

What is a short-term rental?

Short-term rentals are defined as rental properties that are rented out for 30 days or less. Typically, these rentals are listed through sites like Airbnb or VRBO and are rented to vacationers visiting the area or digital nomads looking for a place to work and play.

What are the benefits of short-term rentals?

Short-term rentals are a great way to maximize the value of your property. You get to enjoy the property when you want to and then rent out your property for short-term rentals when you aren’t around to enjoy the area. Short-term rentals are top-rated in Summit County. There are tons of things to do in all seasons, from snowboarding and skiing in the winter to hiking, mountain biking, and kayaking in the summer. The region is also popular in the fall for the leaf-peeping season. Thus, during any season of the year, there are plenty of visitors looking for a place to stay during their vacation or getaway. With minimal large hotels in the area, short-term rentals are a great way for visitors to have a cozy, private place to stay to access the natural beauty of Summit County.

Why are short-term rentals regulated?

Although tourism is a huge benefit to Summit County, there are some issues that need to be regulated, which is why short-term rentals have some rules. To start, the purchase of properties for short-term rentals decreases the amount of Summit County real estate available for long-term rentals. This is important for the dynamic workforce that is needed during the winter skiing and snowboarding months to staff the resorts. With increased short-term rentals, there’s decreased housing available for the workforce.
In addition, although tourism is a huge benefit to the area, too many visitors can also change the vibe and feel of the mountain community. Permanent residents want to ensure that tourism growth is done in a methodical way that helps preserve the amazing social climate of the mountains for years to come.

The changing rules of short-term rentals

Short-term rentals are regulated first by the state, then by the city, and finally through the county, and each has different priorities for short-term rentals. Summit County started to regulate short-term rentals in 2018 to help preserve the mountain community and address the housing issues for long-term workers in the area.
Summit County set up different zones to help regulate short-term rentals. First, the Resort Overlay Zone includes areas that overlay with popular ski resorts like Breckenridge, Keystone, and Copper Mountain. There is no limit to the number of nights the property can be rented in these areas, and the regulations also allow for larger occupancies. Properties in the Resort Overlay Zone must apply for a resort license. Then, there is the Neighborhood Overlay Zone. All properties outside the Resort Overlay Zone are considered in the Neighborhood Overlay Zone. Properties in the Neighborhood Overlay Zone must apply for a license. The Neighborhood Overlay Zone limits the number of occupants and the number of nights that the property can be rented.
The licenses do not pass to the next owner when selling your property. Each individual owner of a property must apply for a license. There are sometimes moratoriums issued on commercial properties, including short-term rentals. These are used to address the impact of short-term rentals on the neighborhoods in the Neighborhood Overlay Zone and the availability of long-term housing for workers.

The best options for short-term rentals

If you’re looking to purchase a short-term rental in the Summit County area, one of your best options is to purchase a resort property. These properties are already included in the resort they are located on and will make it easier to navigate the changing legislation around short-term rentals. Resort properties also have access to great amenities such as pools, hot tubs, concierge services, and other resort features.

Partner with Maureen Lathrop

If you’re ready to get started looking for Summit County, CO, real estate, you’re going to need a great realtor to work with, such as the team at Colorado Mountain Living. Maureen Lathrop and Joe Alvine are experts in Summit County real estate. Contact them today to get started looking for amazing mountain homes for sale.

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