NewsCovering Colorado


City council looks to limit growth of short term rentals

Posted at 7:48 PM, Oct 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-26 20:25:49-04

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — Colorado Springs City Council is preparing to make a pair of changes to the way short term rentals are regulated in the city. The first proposal would limit the number of guests that can stay in a home to two people per bedroom, plus two additional guests. The other proposal limits the total number houses that could be used as short term rentals in a given neighborhood.

The city's current occupancy limit is set at 16 people. Additionally, not more than five unrelated adults can stay in the same home at the same time. Councilman Don Knight explained that people rarely travel with a birth certificate, and enforcing the current ordinance was simply too difficult.

"If you have a four bedroom house, the most you could rent it out for is 10 people," Knight explained. "Very simple mathematics there."

The density limit has drawn more disagreement, both on the council and among citizens groups formed in the last year to persuade City Hall in regulatory matters. One option would prohibit any new short term rental permits within 500 feet of an existing permitted property. The other option would require spacing of at least 5 lots between permitted properties.

Mike Applegate, founder of the grassroots Neighborhood Preservation Alliance of Colorado Springs, supports the idea because he and his members don't want neighborhoods to be overrun with short term rentals.

"What we've been asking the City Council to consider is treating especially the non-owner occupied short term rentals as bed and breakfasts, because that's essentially what's going on minus the breakfast," he said.

Ryan Spradlin, founder of the grassroots Colorado Springs Short Term Rental Alliance (COSSTRA), thinks Council should let the market dictate the volume of short term rentals. He believes the number of properties listed on sites like AirBnb and VRBO fell compared to this same time last year.

"We've had a 31 percent reduction since we had our meeting last October, yet now they're pushing even harder for a cap and for restrictions," Spradlin said.

Applegate said the number of listing has grown since January. Both men attributed their data toa company called AirDNA. The Denver-based market analytics company compiles information about houses listed g data on short term rental platform liek AirBnb and VRBO. Spradlin and Applegate agree that the AirDNA data showed around 2,200 active listings in Colorado Springs in June.

The City of Colorado Springs Planning Department has issued 1,247 short term rental permits since January 1, which suggests a compliance rate of around 56 percent. The city is currently in the bid selection process for a vendor to assist with compliance enforcement. It is a criminal offense in Colorado Springs to lease property as a short term rental without a permit.

Mr. Knight said City Council will vote on the occupancy change on Tuesday. He expects a vote on the density limit sometime in November.