Airbnb and VRBO Respond to New Summit County Regulations and Short-Term Rental Programs

Short term rental properties in the village of Copper Mountain Resort are pictured on August 13. Community leaders across the county are reviewing short-term rental regulations in an effort to mitigate impacts on the community.
Ashley Low / For the Daily News Summit

When Summit County and its cities began discussing ways to reduce the number of short-term rentals in the community in the hopes of creating more affordable housing, representatives from VRBO and Airbnb began to advocate for them. special interests. A VRBO executive said he was not surprised the county and its cities are taking action.

Philip Minardi, director of public affairs at Expedia Group, the company that owns VRBO, said when Summit County officials started discussing moratoria, caps, conversion programs and more, it didn’t was a shock to the company. In fact, Minardi said the company is ready.

“It wasn’t something new to us,” Minardi said of the county’s initial discussion on short-term rental programs. “We have spent nearly a decade working with cities and states and towns across the United States to develop fair and effective regulations that meet the needs of not just our customers, our hosts, our managers. , service providers who make up our ecosystem but also the communities in which we operate.

Summit County isn’t the only community – or even the first – in the country to review its short-term rental regulations, but Minardi said all angles should be considered before taking action.

“We were well positioned and happy to be as useful as possible to the communities in Colorado, and obviously getting all the stakeholders to the table was the first step,” said Minardi. “Summit County has done an incredible job in this regard. I think it deserves to be credited with a very careful and thoughtful process. “

Minardi noted that all communities are unique and that a program or measure implemented in one place will not always work in another. Even still, he highlighted Seattle as a community that overhauled its system. Four years ago, the city imposed limits on the number of units a landlord could operate, and he initially passed a tax on all rentals that would be used to accumulate funds for affordable housing projects.

Minardi also pointed out Louisville, Kentucky, which imposed restrictions on short-term rental density in 2019, and to the leaders of San Diego who recently passed an ordinance that limits the number of short-term rentals throughout the house there may be some in town.

“I think we’ve moved the conversation to a place where we’re not talking about bans anymore, and we’re not talking about not regulating the industry,” Minardi said. “I think to a large extent the conversation now is how to limit the industry in a way that makes sense and recognizes that coming out of the pandemic, recovering travel and tourism, especially in a market like Colorado, is of critical importance.

“The good thing is that there are now quite a few cities that we can point to and say that they have done it right, or that they are thinking about it well, or that they are undertaking a deliberative process that will put the city in place for a long time. success in the long term.

As for Airbnb, the company did not speak directly to the county’s programs but noted that short-term rentals are part of the economic vitality of a tourist community.

“Short-term rentals are an economic lifeline for local residents who share their homes to supplement their income and for small businesses that depend on spending by visitors to recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic,” the door wrote. word of the company Mattie Zazueta in an e-mail. “Airbnb strives to be a good partner for local leaders, and we will continue to engage with them to encourage sound policies that preserve the benefits of home sharing. “

In the email, Zazueta said a recent Oxford Economics analysis found that in 2019, spending by Airbnb customers supported more than 1,450 jobs in Summit County, and a third of them they were in the restaurant industry. Additionally, the study found that for every 1,000 Airbnb customers who stay in Summit County, four jobs are supported.

When asked what programs or measures VRBO executives don’t support, Minardi said he would rather not comment because the county’s short-term rental code is still being changed. He reiterated that the county’s approach to the issue deserves praise.

“I think they look for solutions in a pretty holistic way and approach them from a number of angles,” Minardi said. “The message we’ve delivered to Summit and Breckenridge and all of those communities is that we’re here to help you find a way forward that works. I think we focused on giving them ideas that might make sense for their challenges, and I think Summit has done a great job so far.

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