Town of Breckenridge to rent out units to businesses for their employees this winter
BRECKENRIDGE — Breckenridge is moving forward with a new housing program that would allow businesses to master lease town-owned apartment units, subleasing them to their employees over the winter at 40% to 60% of area median income rental rates.
The town owns the nine apartment units from its buy-down program. While the town is attempting to sell the units, it was decided at the last council meeting that the units should be occupied by local employees as winter approaches.
Nichole Rex, a housing planner on the town’s community development staff, explained that the units will be made available to renters via a lottery process that will give priority to businesses located in Breckenridge. However, Summit County businesses also will be able to apply.
Mayor Eric Mamula said businesses should be prioritized on a geographical basis for those outside of Breckenridge. For example, he said a business at Farmers Korner should be more eligible for the units than a business in Silverthorne.
The lease on each unit will be for a minimum of six months with a potential for a month-to-month extension. Proposed rental rates range from about $650 to $1,130, depending on the unit and costs to the town, such as homeowners association fees.
Of course, the employer and occupant must abide by HOA rules. Town Manager Rick Holman said the town wants to be respectful of neighbors, so there will be a two-strike rule if HOA guidelines aren’t followed.
A business that master leases a property will have the option to purchase the unit and apply 75% of rent paid to the purchase price of the property if the business owner decides to buy. Rex said the town plans to start the program by Monday, Oct. 5. There then would be a two-week application period before a live lottery Oct. 17. The goal is to get leases signed on Nov. 1.
Rex added that if the town receives a serious purchase offer before the lottery date, staff will consider that offer.
Council member Kelly Owens wanted to make sure the application process was simple enough that small businesses were able to apply. Rex said the application would be an online form with fields for information about the business, which units the business is interested in and whether the business wants to rent multiple units.
Owens also asked for a more detailed occupancy limit because the town’s current occupancy limits address only adults. Rex said those details, including addressing occupancy for people with young children or infants, would be incorporated into the leases.
It also was brought up that there should be a component of the lease that allows employers to rent only to employees at the town-set price or lower so that a business can’t make money off renting the units.
“I can’t believe that we’re going to be able to offer some 40% to 60% AMI rentals,” Owens said. “It’s really a terrific step for us.”
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