Dillon Town Council passes new short-term rental ordinance, hoping to level playing field
The Dillon Town Council voted to pass new short-term rental ordinance at their regular meeting Tuesday night, hoping to even the playing field among renters in the area.
Dillon joined the ranks of Summit County municipalities to put new short-term rental regulations in place this year, along with Breckenridge and Silverthorne, while Frisco and the county work to smooth out the kinks of their looming regulations.
Dillon Town Manager Tom Acre said the timing is far from a coincidence.
“I think with everyone else doing it it’s good for us all to have something in place at the same time, otherwise the people trying to pull things would come to the town without any regulations,” said Acre. “I think it’s good that we are all going to have something in place at about the same time.”
The purpose of Dillon’s regulations is largely to allow the town a means to take an accurate head-count of renters in the town, and to assure that renters are following the rules in regards to paying their fair share of taxes.
“Ours is primarily a licensing fee so that we know who exactly is doing the short-term rentals,” continued Acre. “That’s the main crux of our ordinance … along with generally making sure everyone is paying what they need to be paying as far as taxes.”
The ordinance — largely developed through town council work sessions and public input meetings over the last two months — will go into effect on Jan. 1, though the town is offering a three month grace period until Apr. 1 for renters to come into compliance before any enforcement would take place.
As Acre noted, the ordinance largely revolves around new licensing standards. According to the ordinance, a valid license is required for each rental unit, which also stipulates the owner of the property collect and remit all pertinent taxes. Owners must submit an application for a license at least 30 days prior to advertising any rental properties, including the unit’s address, proof of ownership, designation of a responsible agent, a signed affidavit certifying compliance with building and safety codes and more.
Dillon’s ordinance requires a responsible agent —someone available to respond to any issues stemming from short-term rentals units within an hour.
In addition to the application, the town reserves the right to inspect short-term rental units to determine whether there are any extraordinary fire hazards, and if the units are clean and sanitary. In turn, the town can require the owner to make changes to correct objectionable conditions.
There will also be a licensing fee to help offset administrative and personnel costs associated with license administration and enforcement. Licenses expire annually on March 31, and applications for renewal must be submitted at least 30 days prior to the expiration of the existing license.
Along with licensing information the ordinance also dives into enforcement, detailing offenses that can result in suspension or revocation of licenses. According to the ordinance, suspensions or revocations can be made for fraudulently obtaining a license, failure to designate a responsible agent, failing to comply with nuisance and safety standards, failing to provide parking and trash requirements and more. Suspensions and revocations can also come into play for failing to pay required taxes or any illegal activity. Owners have 10 days after notice of suspension or revocation to appeal the order.
The ordinance also provides posting requirements for rental units, necessitating that owners post important information such as the owner’s contact information, safety information and general guidelines for town regulations such as trash and parking among others.
Finally, the ordinance requires that any advertising for short-term rental units must include the license number. Acre noted that Dillon would be participating with other municipalities in utilizing a third party compliance firm to assure that owners advertising rentals are in compliance with the ordinance.
“We don’t think it’s going to decrease the amount of short-term rentals, but it will put everyone on an even playing field,” said Acre. “We’re going to be surprised if we see a large number of rentals that are not in compliance. But we need to go through the exercise regardless to make sure the playing field is even.”
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