Official deadline December 31
by Mark Reaman
Fewer than half of the people with vacation rental permits in the town of Crested Butte have applied for the new 2018 licenses, despite the application period being open for a month. They have until December 31 to submit an application to the town. After that, there is a 30-day grace period but the late application will incur an additional $500 fee. If they do not apply by the end of January, they will lose their license.
There are 247 people on the 2017 vacation rentals list in town. Under new regulations passed by the Town Council, each of those properties is “grandfathered in” as unlimited vacation rental licensees. Only 114 people have submitted official applications thus far.
Under the new rules, there are two categories of vacation rental licenses. The first is an unlimited license that allows eligible property to be short-term-rented any number of nights each year. The town imposed a 30 percent cap on such rentals, which would put the number at 212. If that cap is reached, a waiting list is started. There are currently 22 people on the waiting list who want an unlimited license but must wait to see if the cap is reached.
The second license is meant for primary residents. A home in town that serves as a primary residence for locals can be rented up to 60 nights a year. There is no cap on the number of those properties. The unlimited license application fee is $750 per year and with the new changes, the property owners have to apply for two years. The primary residence license fee is $200 per year.
Formal town inspections of all vacation rental properties will be required before a permanent license is issued. Community development director Michael Yerman said inspections will begin after the first of the year. However, inspections might not occur for several months. In that case, a temporary license will be issued to qualified applicants. The permanent licenses are issued after a property passes inspection.
“The inspection will be focused on life-safety issues along with neighborhood impacts,” explained inspector Eric Treadwell. “So we will be looking for things like working fire extinguishers and smoke detectors, along with making sure the rental property has bear-proof trashcans and proper parking. Parking is very important.”
Inspections are scheduled by appointment.
Yerman said the goal of the town is not to put up obstacles. “Our goal is to get people in compliance,” he said. “We are flexible but we have hard rules when it comes to life and safety issues. We anticipate parking will also be an issue for some people. We know of a few properties where people planted trees or gardens in their parking spots and those will have to go back to parking. If Eric finds any major life-safety issues they will have to be addressed immediately.”
Yerman and Treadwell also emphasized that the recently approved five percent excise tax on vacation rentals will go into effect January 1. Homeowners who short-term-rent their property will have to collect and remit the additional tax as part of the sales tax process.
Treadwell added that he has received word from 17 current license holders that they do not plan to apply for a 2018 license.
According to Yerman and Treadwell, the easiest way to apply for a vacation rental license is through the town’s website. They advised people to go to the Community Development Department tab and follow the links. They said there is a lot of information on the new system and easy to understand directions on how to apply and pay for a license.