Colorado high country commissioners, including Summit, blast Airbnb report that disconnects short-term rentals from housing crisis

Elected officials from seven mountain counties say the giant short-term rental company cherry-picked data to divorce itself from the worsening housing crisis

Jason Blevins
The Colorado Sun
A lockbox is pictured at the Winterpoint Townhomes in Breckenridge on Thursday, May 14, 2020. The townhomes are one of many short-term rental properties in Summit County.
Liz Copan/Summit Daily News archive

A group of 15 commissioners from seven mountain counties is blasting a recent study commissioned by short-term rental giant Airbnb that dismissed the idea that short-term rentals are eroding worker housing in Colorado’s high country.

“Airbnb narrowly focused on positive impacts, and facts appear selected to craft a story that is not entirely true, especially when it comes to negative impacts created by the STR industry,” reads a response from commissioners in Eagle, Grand, Gunnison, Pitkin, Routt, San Miguel and Summit counties to the recent report by Airbnb. 

Summit County Commissioner Tamara Pogue called the study “a fairly standard piece of industry marketing.”

“I’m not sure that it will have much validity or relevance in terms of the conversation over (short-term rental) regulations, and certainly not as it pertains to housing,” said Pogue, who has been critical of short-term rentals permeating her community’s neighborhoods that previously had been used by working locals. “It’s fairly obvious that the intent of the report is to further support a multi-million dollar industry.” 

Pogue said it’s interesting to see Airbnb outline its business as an industry. She sees the report validating the notion that homes rented to visitors are commercial enterprises and maybe commercial taxes are appropriate for those properties. She also sees all those jobs supported by short-term rentals making the (short-term rental) industry one of the largest employers in Colorado’s high country, “and some of our lowest wage employers.” 


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