7 Replies Latest reply: Feb 20, 2019 7:56 AM by homeaway_community_manager RSS

    The city just outlawed Short Term Rentals. What do I tell people who've already made reservations?

    minercottage New Member

      We've owned a small 700-square foot rental cottage in the city of Idaho Springs, Colorado, since 2012. We've had nothing but great guests, have received all 4- and 5-star reviews, have always paid our sales and lodging taxes, and have never received a single complaint from any of the neighbors.

       

      In November of 2018, City Council decided to outlaw Short Term Rentals within city limits. The only exceptions are if you are the primary resident and are renting out a single room. You also have to have off-street parking. We don't meet either of those requirements. (Neither do a lot of other STR's in the city.)

       

      Of course, even though it was passed in November, they just informed me this morning that I'm in violation and need to stop immediately. I have renters in there today through March 3rd, and I told the city I would not kick them out on the street. We also have 16 other guests who've made reservations between now and September. When I asked if I could please honor these reservations (since the people have already made plans, paid for their stay, purchased airline tickets, etc.), the city gave me a resounding NYET!

       

      What can I do? I feel absolutely sick about having to ruin someone's vacation plans, but the city isn't giving me any choice. Any suggestions on how to break the news to our renters? They're going to hate us, but what else can I do?

       

      thx

      larry

        • Re: The city just outlawed Short Term Rentals. What do I tell people who've already made reservations?
          margaret CommunityAmbassador

          I am sorry this has happened to you! The only thing you can do now is contact the guests, explain the situation and give them a full refund.

          • Re: The city just outlawed Short Term Rentals. What do I tell people who've already made reservations?
            feibus Senior Contributor

            You really have three choices:

             

            1. Ignore the city, pay the fines or penalties, whatever those are.

            2. Get an attorney and file a lawsuit for interfering with your business that's lawful in the state of Colorado.

            3. Contact the guests, give them refunds.

             

            LOVE Beau Jo's.  

            • Re: The city just outlawed Short Term Rentals. What do I tell people who've already made reservations?
              wildiris Active Contributor

              Usually, when a new law is passed outlawing something that was previously legal, the law doesn't go into effect immediately and has an effective date several months in the future.  Get a copy of the ordinance for yourself and double-check the effective date.  For guests who haven't checked in yet and would be renting after the effective date of the ordinance, send them a detailed emailing explaining the situation (and that you have no control over it) and issue a full refund.  You want to give them as much time as possible to make other arrangements.

               

              Your current guests present a greater problem.  What's the penalty for violating the ordinance?  If it's a fine that's not more than your rental amount, I think I would let the current guests stay instead of evicting them mid-stay and pay the fine to the city.

              • Re: The city just outlawed Short Term Rentals. What do I tell people who've already made reservations?
                minercottage New Member

                Thanks. It took a week for this post to get approved, so I've already handled it.

                 

                I told the people who'd reserved it in March what was happening and gave them the option of keeping their reservation, knowing the city could kick them out, or canceling it. Everyone is taking their chances and keeping their reservations, so fingers crossed.

                 

                I canceled all reservations after April 1st, and shut the cottage down.


                The city planner told me they don't want out-of-town people buying up/owning houses in the city unless they offer them up as long-term rentals for the locals. We lived near town when we bought it in 2012, but a job transfer moved us to Omaha. I don't know why they couldn't grandfather us in, but you can't fight city hall. Especially when they pass the ban in November but don't bother telling you about until February.


                thx.

                  • Re: The city just outlawed Short Term Rentals. What do I tell people who've already made reservations?
                    twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                    Actuallly, you can fight City Hall, but it costs money and time......

                     

                    That would be like saying all homes have to have sprinkler systems in the home. Typically those type of changes are for new construction after the date of the change and any home that is destroyed by fire, etc would then be subject to rebuild to the new codes.

                     

                    It just depends on how much time, energy and stress you want to put out there to see if they will grandfather you in??? (I would look carefully at the current codes though because many may already say residential areas can NOT run a business from homes built in that area. I think the exception might be daycare for less than 5 children. Even though it is being used as a residence if you have a business license then.....”business”. Catch 22

                    • Re: The city just outlawed Short Term Rentals. What do I tell people who've already made reservations?
                      georgygirl1955 Senior Contributor

                      You should be careful of steep fines if you are caught since you have been warned already. 

                      Too bad you were not tuned in before they legislated away your property rights.

                      Be willing to pay the piper..... fines here are starting at $1300 etc per violation, or $500 per day.

                      Will you fork that over if the city comes knocking, or a neighbor reports you?

                      You are not responsible for the govt decision and legislation. They likely had a "grace period" between November and February.

                      If it were me, I would cancel the guests, or have them contractually sign that they will pay any fine incurred. ( they won't  sign ).

                      The more the public rebels against these govt restrictions, the better off we all will be and eventually the towns may loosen the regulations.

                      This is going on all over the country and the world.

                      The govt is taking away basic property rights and overreaching ( in my personal opinion).

                      Now I wll get off my soapbox.

                    • Re: The city just outlawed Short Term Rentals. What do I tell people who've already made reservations?
                      homeaway_community_manager HomeAway Employee

                      Hi minercottage,

                       

                      We encourage you to please follow your local laws. That being said, we also encourage you to stand up for your rights as a homeowner.  Here is an article about how you can fight short term rental regulations. You should also check out the the Short Term Rental Advocacy Center website, so you can rally your fellow owners and fight this unfair law.  Finally, please reach out to our Government Affairs team at: governmentrelations@homeaway.com.  Thank you!

                       

                      Erinn

                      HomeAway Community Manager