The short term rental industry is a new and quickly evolving field. In some cities, the regulations are vague or ambiguous and operators work under the constant shadow of potential illegality.
Fortunately, Vail, Colorado understands how important tourism is to the economy and in turn has moved to regulate short-term rentals. It’s not quite as simple as “throw your property online and collect checks”, but at least the process is fairly transparent. Here’s what you need to know.
If you’re renting your property for months or years, you’re considered a regular landlord. But if you’re renting it for periods of less than thirty consecutive days, your property is considered a short-term rental. This means you’ll need to register.
The application process includes the requirement of a signed affidavit acknowledging life safety, parking, trash, and noise regulations. It also includes the designation of a local property contact within a 60 minute distance of the short term rental unit. If the owner lives within that distance they may self-designate as the local contact. The local contact must be available 24/7 week to respond to complaints. Short-term rental properties are required to have individual Town of Vail sales tax licenses and file periodic returns.
Vail strongly recommends reading the adopted Ordinance prior to applying for your registration.
Then you will fill out application documents online and apply for a Town of Vail Sales Tax License. You must post your Short-Term Rental Registration Number on all advertising, whether in print or online. Verify that all of the safety requirements are in place at your property, and you are good to go.
Now you’ll have to file taxes with both the Town of Vail and the State of Colorado. These are the tax rates you’re looking at:
o Town of Vail – 4% (Collected by the Town)
o State of Colorado – 2.9% (Collected by the State)
o Eagle County – 1.5% (Collected by the State)
o Vail Local Marketing District – 1.4% (Collected by the State)
Total of 9.8%
Note that while Airbnb collects state taxes, it does not collect the Town of Vail 4% sales tax. Check to make sure any platform you’re using is covered.
You also need to be on the ball about complaints. Vail’s Short-Term Rental Hotline will contact the local representative after a complaint is made with them. The local representative needs to resolve the issue that was the subject of the complaint within sixty (60) minutes or within thirty (30) minutes if the problem occurs between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., including visiting the site if necessary. Failure to resolve a complaint in the listed time frames will result in fines starting at $500. And ultimately revocation of your STR Liscense after just 3 strikes.
It’s important to either be ready to resolve complaints or find a rental management company that will be.