Summit County plans to extend program that converts short-term rentals into long-term housing for locals | SummitDaily.com
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Summit County plans to extend program that converts short-term rentals into long-term housing for locals

The program launched Oct. 15 and has provided the community with 54 additional bedrooms

The Couer Du Lac condominiums in Dillon are pictured Tuesday, Feb. 8. Couer Du Lac is rented about half and half to residents and short-term renters.
Jason Connolly/For the Summit Daily News

This story has been updated to clarify the graphic.

The idea of a short-term rental conversion program got its start last summer when Summit County Housing Director Jason Dietz presented community leaders with short-, mid- and long-term solutions to help curb the community’s affordable housing issues.

Over the subsequent months, Dietz and his team worked to develop a program under the direction of the Summit Board of County Commissioners and in collaboration with the town of Breckenridge. The program’s details were finalized in the fall, and on Oct. 15, it officially went live.



The goal was to financially incentivize short-term rental owners to turn their units into long-term housing for locals. These financial incentives varied depending on how long the lease was for — six-month or yearlong leases were both an option — and how many bedrooms a unit had. The longer the lease and the more bedrooms, the bigger the financial incentive for the owners converting their properties.

For a six-month studio lease, the incentive starts at $5,500 and goes up to $13,000 for a three-bedroom or larger. For a yearlong lease, the incentive starts at $9,000 and goes up to $24,000 for a three-bedroom or larger.



The program was planned to last until April 15 unless Summit County leaders wanted to extend it, and the conversation about whether to do so happened at a Summit Board of County Commissioners work session Tuesday, Feb. 8. Ultimately, all three commissioners agreed they’d like to see the program continue for at least another year.

The board agreed that some of the initial success was promising.

“I think it’s a little too early not to continue to invest in this program just with the timing and just to see how it goes,” Summit County Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence said. “I also think that there’s still potential for folks that maybe couldn’t have taken advantage of it this season.”

A couple exits the Couer Du Lac condominiums in Dillon on Tuesday, Feb. 8. Couer Du Lac is rented about half and half to residents and short-term renters.
Jason Connolly/For the Summit Daily News

Lawrence is referring to the timing of when the program was launched, which Dietz partly attributed to the relatively low number of units converted. According to Dietz’s presentation, the number of properties converted was 30, and Dietz said he would have liked to see that number reach 60. Dietz said he mostly attributes this to the program’s October launch date, when many owners of short-term rentals already have reservations on the books.

Even though this was the case, Dietz said his team feels confident the program could reel in additional converted properties, especially since a few owners have already reached out to the county to express interest in the program and have inquired about participating if it was extended.

In total, the 30 units converted across unincorporated Summit County and the town of Breckenridge amounted to 54 bedrooms that housed 57 members of the local workforce. The average monthly rent per bedroom was $1,212, and the total cost per bedroom the county paid in incentives was nearly $9,000. The county committed $500,000 in incentives to the program, as did the town of Breckenridge. The county has spent just over $288,000 thus far with about an additional $150,000 spent by Breckenridge.

Though some homeowners have expressed interest in participating if the program were to be extended, Dietz and Summit County Commissioner Tamara Pogue noted that it would be worthwhile to increase communication efforts. Dietz said most of those who participated in the program were individual owners. Though property managers were generally supportive of the program at its inception, not many participated this time around.

“There’s a handful of companies that really utilized the program, but most of them didn’t,” Dietz said. “They kind of stuck with what they knew, and then we definitely had some kinks in our paperwork process as we were developing the system, the forms and everything, as we were moving forward.”

Dietz also pointed out that it was a “Herculean effort” to get the program up and running and that his team didn’t have the additional resources nor the time to convince property managers to get on board. Now, Dietz said his team has entered a “slow season” and that he’s confident they will all have a chance to “digest lessons learned and make tweaks.” He did note that his department is short staffed and that extra team members were always welcome.

Since the program was supported by the commissioners, Dietz said he would work on negotiating an extended contract with Landing Locals, the organization that helps run the online platform, and present the details in a follow-up work session. At the request of County Commissioner Josh Blanchard, his team will also explore the possibility of expanding the program by reaching out to other towns to gauge their interest.

Launched by Summit County and the town of Breckenridge on Oct. 15, 2021, the pilot program called Lease to Locals helped convert short-term rental units into long-term leases and seasonal leases for the local workforce. This chart shows how many of those converted units were seasonal rentals and how many were long-term rentals.
Nicole Miller/Summit Daily News

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