Blue River Short-Term Rental Rules

Image - Blue River Short-Term Rental Rules

Over the years, affordable workforce housing has steadily increased in prevalence as an issue in Summit County, Colorado. However, since the onset of Covid-19, the challenge for the Summit County local workforce has continued to mount. And, many local businesses believe the lack of such housing is a significant factor driving worker shortages. Plus, if those employed here cannot live locally, many are concerned there will be a potential shift in the "character of Summit County". Accordingly, starting in 2018 and carrying on to the present, stakeholders across Summit County have discussed possible solutions for the lack of affordable housing in Summit County for local employees. And, various governmental authorities across Summit County have expended significant time and effort to find and implement measures that might potentially ease the local workforce housing crisis. Stemming from these various meetings, governmental bodies across Summit County have either adopted or are considering adopting new regulations regarding short-term rental (“STR”) licenses.

With the building height restrictions in place locally, Summit County does not have towering hotels with tremendous capacity to potentially serve its resort visitors. And, most locals agree the absence of such multi-story structures adds to the charm of our mountain community. However, Summit County tourism nonetheless relies on a healthy supply of places to stay, and short-term rentals in unincorporated Summit County certainly comprise a significant component in that regard. As a result, governmental bodies across Summit County are currently in an experimentation phase, enacting short-term rental rule changes in an effort to find the right balance between fostering increased local workforce housing while sustaining our vital tourism business. In turn, the regulatory landscape is quickly changing. As a resource for folks interested in potentially purchasing Blue River real estate and using their home to conduct short-term rentals in Blue River, my aim is to maintain this informational resource for learning more about Blue River short-term rental rules.

Blue River Short-Term Rentals
Property Owner FAQs

Which jurisdiction controls your Blue River short-term rental license?

The towns of Blue River, Breckenridge, Dillon, Frisco and Silverthorne have narrowly defined geographical borders.  Their rules obviously apply only to properties falling within their specific boundaries.  A surprising number of properties nearby to Blue River, Breckenridge, Dillon, Frisco and Silverthorne are actually outside official town borders and are instead located in unincorporated portions of  Summit County.  And, Summit County short-term rental rules differ significantly, dependent upon where a particular property is located.  As a result, it’s extremely important to understand which local governmental jurisdiction controls a potential short-term rental property in Summit County.

If you’re unsure whether a property is located within a particular town or instead in unincorporated Summit County, there’s a quick way to figure it out.

  1. Go online to the Summit County GIS tool
  2. Accept the County disclaimer.
  3. Enter the property address.
  4. Once the property appears at the bottom of the page, the bottom-left-corner field will say “Jurisdiction”.  It will tell you if the property is subject to the short-term rental rules of a specific town (Blue River, Breckenridge, Dillon, Frisco and Silverthorne) or instead if it is in unincorporated Summit County.

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What constitutes a short-term rental in Summit County?

Any Blue River Property Rental Less Than 30 Consecutive Days

Since Blue River is an incorporated town with its own code and regulations, we must turn to the Chapter 6 of the Town Code that sets forth the Blue River Short-Term Rental Rules.  Section 6-1-20 of the Town Code defines the term "short-term rental" to be “the rent for any form of consideration of a dwelling, dwelling unit, accessory dwelling unit, or portion of any dwelling unit to a specific person or persons for periods of time less than thirty (30) consecutive days. A short-term rental is an activity that shall remain accessory, ancillary, and subordinate to the primary or principal residential use of such dwelling or dwelling unit. The phrase short-term rental does not include commercial hotels or motels."

Accordingly, the Blue River short-term rental rules seek to address the common scenario, where a Blue River property owner seeks to use popular platforms like AirBnb, VRBO and others to rent their home to tourists visiting for periods of less than 30 days. If you conduct any (even just one) rental of your Blue River property for a period of time less than 30 consecutive days, the prevailing rules that apply to Blue River require you to obtain a short-term rental license from the Town, and you must follow all Blue River short-term rental rules that are applicable to your Blue River property.

If you're a Blue River property owner who only plans to conduct property rentals for periods of time that are thirty consecutive days long or greater, Blue River’s short-term rental rules have no application whatsoever. In that case, there is no need for you to apply for or obtain a Blue River short-term rental license for your Blue River property. Rentals longer than 30 consecutive days in length are generally considered long-term rentals. Long-term rentals are encouraged, because they help provide housing to local employees. In fact, areas like Summit County and the Town of Breckenridge actually provide incentives for long-term leases to locals. With that in mind, no new regulations or restrictions are currently contemplated for rentals over 30 days in Blue River.

Blue River Short-Term Rental Rule Changes

Blue River Short-Term Rental License

The Town of Blue River previously adopted regulations requiring Blue River short-term rental property owners to obtain STR licenses. The fee for a new STR license is $200. Thereafter, renewals are $150 per year.  All Blue River short-term rental licenses expire December 31st each year.  Licenses do not automatically renew and require a re-application and fee.

Blue River Short-Term Rental Occupancy Limits

The Town of Blue River currently maintains an occupancy limit of 2 persons per bedroom plus 2 total persons.

Blue River Short-Term Rental Discussions in Fall of 2021

The Board of Trustees (“BoT”) for Blue River had a brief discussion about STRs at its retreat in August 2021 and then again in September 2021. As of September 2021, the BoT noted that 18% of properties in Blue River were licensed as STRs.

The BoT conducted a work session on November 2021, where Town staff presented current data on Blue River short-term rentals. And, the Town of also maintains Blue River short-term rental statistics on its website.  And, Blue River crafted a Good Neighbor Policy regarding Blue River short-term rentals.  The BoT plans to eventually determine an overall future plan for STRs. However, there is no firm plan on the table at present. Accordingly, whether Blue River decides to adopt any new regulations is currently an open question.

No Caps & No Moratorium on Blue River Short-Term Rental Licenses

At present, there are no caps and no moratorium on short-term rental licenses in Blue River. Accordingly, the Town of Blue River continues to receive, evaluate and process new short-term rental applications at this time.

No Caps on Blue River Short-Term Rental Rental Nights

At present, there are also no caps on the number of rental nights for Blue River short-term rentals. Blue River permits short-term rental owners a potentially unlimited number of rental days in any calendar year.

Need Help Understanding Blue River Short-Term Rentals?

If you’re interested in further discussing local real estate and how STR license changes might potentially affect your decision to buy or sell a property in Blue River, please don’t hesitate to contact Philip for help.