Letter to the Editor: The 180-day permit for short term rentals should be reinstated

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The municipal governments of Summit County are going ’round and ’round trying to solve the short-term housing dilemma. There are five general categories of owner/resident in this county.

  1. Full-time resident owners: live here, have paid property taxes several years, kids attend schools, invested in the community, etc.
  2. Part-time resident owners: “snowbirds” and “coolbirds” — stay multiple months per year to ski or escape the heat of their state.  Four- to eight-month residents.
  3. Vacation Homeowners: visit a few times a year but rent their properties a large portion of the year.
  4. AirBNBers: purchased the property for investment purposes and are run like a hotel rooms. These may be corporate-owned units or the owner may own many local properties and rent all of them throughout the year.
  5. Longer-term renters: rent a ski or summer season, six months lease or a year or multi-year lease

The municipalities want to increase options for No. 5 but seem to be unfairly punishing No. 1 and No. 2, who, it can be argued, are the most invested (both in money and time) in this community. There was formerly a class of short-term permits that allowed these two parties to short-term rent for less than 180 days. This allowed the owner to both maximize their time in the community while also maximizing the utility of their property.   These two owner classes have no impact on the housing supply because they are using their property in the long-term manner that the county and towns are trying to encourage. The governments need to reinstate the 180-day permit.

Nos. 3 and 4 are totally different animals — and where the solution lies. Nobody is against this class of investors making money, but the governments need to craft a solution where the owners most invested (Nos. 1 and 2) in this community are not punished.