Colorado’s mountain town homeowners are tired of being cast as villains in the fight over short-term rentals

They say rules intended to free up housing for local workers could force them to move out of town

Summit County working local since 2010, Tommy Jeffries walks on his patio, Sept. 1, 2023, of the Breckenridge home he bought in 2017, while cleaning and upkeeping for the next short term rental guest. Jeffries, who manages a ski shop, relies on short-term rental bookings in the spare bedrooms to keep up with the mortgage after years of bad experiences with irresponsible long-term renters.
Hugh Carey/Colorado Sun

Tommy Jefferies has had more than 220 guests this year rent rooms in the four-bedroom home he has converted into a hostel in a neighborhood north of Breckenridge. 

He does all the cleaning and reservation work on top of his gigs as a snowcat driver, ski shop manager and dog walker. The 35-year-old who scraped up just enough to buy the home six years ago calls Airbnb “my full-time job.” 

“Without income from my guests, I could not live in this town,” he said.

When Summit County’s new regulations on short-term rentals land next month, Jefferies will be limited to 35 reservations a year. He’s certain he will not make enough to pay his mortgage with a nearly 90% annual reduction in bookings. 

He pleaded with county commissioners to help him protect the only way he’s found to stay a resident in the county. 

“It’s so frustrating,” he said. “I went to so many meetings where all this was being discussed and we were literally laughed off the speaking podium. I’ve never experienced such a gross display of not being heard. They are not counting me as a local. They have shown this dark light over everyone who is a short-term renter and they want us to all look like absentee owners. I’ve lived in this valley for 13 years and they are forcing me to leave. They treat me like an outsider in my own home.”

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