Santa Fe County has framework on new short-term rental law
October 27 – Santa Fe County has the beginnings of a regulatory framework for short-term housing rentals that developers hope will ease the housing shortage and help maintain communities in which homes are occupied by people who live there and not by short-term tenants. .
Voices against the new law – mostly landlords who rent rooms or houses – say the new ordinance is too broad and does not take into account the character of rural villages.
County commissioners on Tuesday approved 3-1 an order that will require landlords who engage in short-term rentals to register with the county. The practice is defined as the renting of a dwelling, or part of a dwelling, for periods of less than 30 days. This rental is usually done through online companies like Airbnb or Vrbo.
Commissioner Anna Hansen said she was “very happy” to have passed the measure after having wanted such regulation for six years.
“Nothing is perfect,” Hansen said. “There is always work to be done. What I thought was really important was that we put something in place.”
Hansen was joined by curators Anna Hamilton and Hank Hughes. Henry Robyal voted no and Rudy Garcia abstained.
The ordinance distinguishes between landlords who live on the property they rent out and those who do not. The annual license fee for the first group is $35, while the last group is now required to pay an initial fee of $375 and $300 per year thereafter.
A key change in the order is a one-year moratorium on new listings for non-owner occupied short-term rentals starting in March. Current owners will not be affected by the moratorium, Hansen said, although they will have to register and pay the fee.
Residents and spokespersons for local organizations argued for and against the ordinance at Tuesday’s meeting. Kathleen Casey, an artist in Madrid who rents out her studio on a short-term basis, said the county law is more suited to towns like Santa Fe than her tiny village.
“In the county it is difficult to earn a living, and [short-term renting] has been a huge benefit to people,” Casey said. “It has improved businesses here and helped to even out income.
Casey said Madrid will soon lose four short-term rentals for reasons unrelated to the order, leaving seven. Those four will not return for at least a year during the moratorium, she said, which could have a significant impact on local businesses that depend on tourism.
Another short-term rental landlord in the county, Liz Emmens, called the order a violation of property rights. She attended the first two public hearings of the ordinance and helped organize a group of like-minded people across the county to oppose it.
“No one is against having a prescription,” Emmens said. “We all agree that it makes sense to have a reasonable order.”
Emmens said she was pleased to see some of the “more onerous” parts of previous versions of the order removed, such as water and sewer monitoring requirements. But she remains concerned about the ordinance’s requirement for landlords to notify neighbors and give their contact details.
Still, she said, as the regulatory issue progresses, her group hopes to “advocate for our rights and educate the commissioners and be part of this process in any way we can.”
Supporters of the ordinance, like Adam Johnson, executive director of the Old Santa Fe Association, hope the licensing requirement and moratorium will help the county gather more information to craft an effective short-term rental policy. term.
Johnson said the organization is concerned about property takeovers in towns like Tesuque, Cañada de los Alamos and Madrid that could “disrupt the community fabric” and, potentially, turn neighborhoods into hotel blocks.
“I hope to see better data that will allow us to understand the effect of [short-term rentals] on the residents of the county, especially the historic villages,” Johnson said. “I am concerned about speculation in these increasingly popular destinations.
He said the Santa Fe-based organization is hoping for a “primary residence requirement,” in which only owners who live on the property could rent rooms or casitas, for example, on a short-term basis.
Hansen said she would like to wait until the county has registration and moratorium data to try to implement any new regulations on short-term rentals.
“We’ll know, for sure, how many we have across the county,” Hansen said. “We will be able to see what the impacts are on our constituents.”