Breckenridge Short-Term Rental Rules

Image - Breckenridge 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 Breckenridge real estate and using their home to conduct short-term rentals in Breckenridge, my aim is to maintain this informational resource for learning more about Breckenridge short-term rental rules.

Breckenridge Short-Term Rentals
Property Owner FAQs

Which jurisdiction controls your Summit County 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.

Image - Breckenridge Short-Term Rental Rules

What constitutes a short-term rental in Breckenridge?

Any Breckenridge Property Rental Less Than 30 Consecutive Days

Since Breckenridge is an incorporated town with its own code and regulations, we must turn to the Breckenridge Short-Term Rental Ordinance, which was passed in 2018 and became effective on January 1, 2019. Section 1 uses the term "accommodation unit" and defines it to be “a separate and distinct living unit including condominium, townhome, house, trailer, studio unit, condominium unit, or any such other similar unit which is rented to any person, who, for consideration, uses, possesses or has the right to use or possess such accommodation unit for a period of less than 30 consecutive days, regardless of the number of days during a license year such unit is rented."

Accordingly, the Breckenridge short-term rental rules seek to address the common scenario, where a Breckenridge 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 Breckenridge property for a period of time less than 30 consecutive days, the Town requires you to obtain a Breckenridge short-term rental license, and you must follow all Breckenridge short-term rental rules that are applicable to your Breckenridge property.

If you're a Breckenridge property owner who only plans to conduct property rentals for periods of time that are thirty consecutive days long or greater, Breckenridge’s short-term rental rules have no application whatsoever. In that case, there is no need for you to apply for or obtain a Breckenridge short-term rental license for your Breckenridge 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 Breckenridge.

Breckenridge Short-Term Rental Rule Changes

Breckenridge Short-Term Rental License

In June 2017, the Town of Breckenridge passed an ordinance requiring Breckenridge short-term rental property owners to include their license numbers in advertising for units offered for rent for any period of timeless than 30 days. At that time, the initial purpose was to level the playing field and help town staff collect sales taxes more efficiently from short-term rental owners."

In August 2018, in an effort to address community complaints regarding short-term rentals, the Breckenridge Town Council unanimously passed a Breckenridge short-term rental ordinance with accompanying Breckenridge short-term rental administrative rules. The 2018 ordinance and regulations went into effect starting on January 1, 2019. The 2018 ordinance and regulations created a new annual administrative fee schedule for Breckenridge short-term rental licenses as well as a set of minimum health and safety standards for Breckenridge short-term rental properties.

Breckenridge Short-Term Rental Responsible Agent

As part of the 2018 Breckenridge short-term rental ordinance and regulations, the Town created a new role, the Breckenridge Responsible Agent. As defined in Section 4-1-2 of the ordinance, a Breckenridge Responsible Agent is a “…management company, rental agent, or individual who is identified by a licensee as the licensee’s responsible agent…. A licensee may, at the licensee’s option, identify an alternate responsible agent to act for the licensee if the responsible agent, for any reason, is not successfully contacted by the Town in response to a complaint…."  In essence then, the Breckenridge Responsible Agent is a person or company who agrees to be available 24 hours per day and 7 days per week to respond – within 60 minutes – to any complaint submitted by the public to the Town’s STR Complaint Hotline regarding a particular Breckenridge short-term rental.

To further clarify and therefore be able to better regulate the conduct of occupants within Breckenridge short-term rentals, the Town eventually clarified the definition of “unreasonable noise” emanating from Breckenridge short-term rental properties. The Town also made compliance with violations thereof to be the “nondelegable responsibility” of the owner of a Breckenridge short-term rental property.

Breckenridge Short-Term Rental Occupancy Limits

In September 2019, the Town Council passed an occupancy limit for Breckenridge short-term rental properties. The ordinance became effective on January 1, 2020. As part of the new ordinance, the Town defined an “occupancy limit” as “the maximum number of persons permitted to reside overnight in an accommodation unit.” The Town established an occupancy limit for all Breckenridge short-term rental units (except studios) at 2 persons per bedroom plus four 4 total additional persons. In turn, the Town set an occupancy limit for all Breckenridge short-term rental studio units as simply a total of 4 persons. The Town Council also declared that the number of bedrooms in a short-term rental unit would be based on what’s listed in the Summit County Assessor’s records.

Breckenridge Short-Term Rental Cap License Cap

Over the years, the Town noted a steady and dramatic increase in Breckenridge short-term rental licenses:

  • 2012 – 2,881 Breckenridge short-term rental licenses
  • 2013 – 2,911 Breckenridge short-term rental licenses
  • 2014 – 3,341 Breckenridge short-term rental licenses
  • 2015 – 3,385 Breckenridge short-term rental licenses
  • 2016 – 3,388 Breckenridge short-term rental licenses
  • 2017 – 3,572 Breckenridge short-term rental licenses
  • 2018 – 3,737 Breckenridge short-term rental licenses
  • 2019 – 3,783 Breckenridge short-term rental licenses
  • 2020 – 3,762 Breckenridge short-term rental licenses
  • 2021 – 3,945 Breckenridge short-term rental licenses

On September 28, 2021, after listening to several hours of additional public comment (much of it in opposition), the Town Council unanimously passed an ordinance capping Breckenridge short-term rental licenses for non-exempt properties. The Breckenridge short-term rental cap ordinance went into effect on November 2, 2021. As a brief review, regardless of whether it’s a timeshare, partial ownership or full ownership property, an “exempt” property is one that essentially operates in a hotel environment with 24-hour security and front desk. The Town Council currently recognizes exempt properties in sixteen Breckenridge subdivisions. A “non-exempt” property is pretty much any other Breckenridge residential property.

As part of the new ordinance, the Town Council adopted a cap on new Breckenridge short-term rental licenses for non-exempt units at a maximum of 2200 licenses. As of October 19, 2021, the Town of Breckenridge then had 2282 non-exempt short-term rental licenses and 3718 exempt short-term rental licenses. Between the date of this data (October 19, 2021) and the effective date of the ordinance (Nov. 2, 2021), it is reasonable to assume that the Town of Breckenridge received a significant number of additional short-term rental license applications for non-exempt properties. While the exact number of non-exempt STR licenses is always changing, the Town does maintain a Breckenridge short-term license waiting list that is also available on the Breckenridge short-term rental web page. Until the total number of Breckenridge short-term rental licenses decreases below 2200, the Town will not issue any new Breckenridge short-term rental licenses.  When that does eventually occur, the Town will provide a wait-listed Breckenridge property owner with notification of eligibility, the property owner will have 5 days to apply for a Breckenridge short-term rental license.

For units currently under construction, if a building permit was issued and in effect on September 14, 2021, owners may eventually apply for a STR license within 20 days of eventually receiving a certificate of occupancy.

Breckenridge Short-Term Rental License & Regulatory Fees

In November 2021, the Town Council approved regulatory & license fees for Breckenridge short-term rental properties. The ordinance became effective on December 28, 2021. The annual Breckenridge short-term rental regulatory and license fees are separate. In that regard, the annual Breckenridge short-term rental accommodation fee is $400.00 per bedroom or studio without a limit on the number of bedrooms charged. And then, the annual fee for a Breckenridge short-term rental license is based on the number of bedrooms within the property, and it as follows:

  • Studio Unit - $75.00
  • One-Bedroom Unit - $100.00
  • Two-Bedroom Unit - $125.00
  • Three-Bedroom Unit - $150.00
  • Four or more Bedroom Unit - $175.00

The Town requires annual payment of the Breckenridge short-term rental accommodation fee at the same time as the Breckenridge short-term rental license fee.

Ongoing Discussions | Breckenridge Short-Term Rental License Rules

In 2022, the Town Council continues to discuss potential changes to Breckenridge short-term rental license rules and the possibility of adopting new Breckenridge short-term rental zones.  As a result, no new Breckenridge short-term rental ordinances have yet been adopted in 2022.

Need Help Understanding Breckenridge 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 Breckenridge, please don’t hesitate to contact Philip for help.  After all, if you made it to this point, you’ll agree I’ve written "the book" when it comes to Frisco short-term rental rules!