County commissioners researching new compliance services to help manage STRs

“We want to have a level playing field”

by Crystal Kotowski

The Gunnison County commissioners want to make sure that people who short-term rent their homes are paying their fair share of taxes. Their first step will focus on information gathering through a compliance service to determine how big the problem is.

For the second time in six years, the Board of County Commissioners is pursuing a countywide study on short-term rentals to assess the extent of tax non-compliance. The county used the company VR Compliance six years ago and is currently gathering information on two companies, STR Helper and Host Compliance, of which the county will choose one. The cost of ongoing monitoring for one year is about $30,000, and funds will be used from the local marketing district reserves.

“Some of my concerns are with traditional lodging,” noted commissioner Jonathan Houck, indicating that hotels shouldn’t be at a disadvantage to private homes that rent to vacationers.

“That’s my position; we want to have a level playing field,” added commissioner Phil Chamberland.

As a software, data and consulting services provider exclusively focused on helping local governments overcome the challenges associated with STRs, Host Compliance manages all phases of the regulatory cycle, from researching whether regulation is needed, to drafting and enforcing effective short-term rental regulations.

Similarly, STR Helper is a software solution to help enforcement officers identify and manage STRs.

“I don’t see this as an ongoing thing—but once we get more information, we might feel differently,” said county manager Matthew Birnie.

The commissioners confirmed that their focus is on education, noting that six years ago after the first report they sent postcards to the individuals who were found not in compliance. Results were positive. However, further regulations are not out of the question. As Birnie said, “The state is making moves on enforcement,” and it is in the state’s authority to enforce compliance.

Birnie will report back to the commissioners with more information on the scope of services of the different compliance services.


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