Peak 7 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 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, the 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 Peak 7 short-term rentals 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 Peak 7 real estate and using their home to conduct short-term rentals in Peak 7, my aim is to maintain this informational resource for learning more about Peak 7 short-term rental rules.
Peak 7 Short-Term Rentals
Property Owner FAQs
Peak 7 Short-Term Rental Rule Changes
The entirety of the Peak 7 area is part of unincorporated Summit County. As a result, the controlling short-term rental ("STR") rules for Peak 7 are those promulgated by the Summit County Board of County Commissioners (“BoCC”).
Peak 7 Short-Term Rental Licenses
Responsible Agent | Occupancy Limit | No Cap
Several years ago, the Summit County Board of County Commissioners (“BoCC”) adopted regulations requiring Peak 7 short-term rental property owners to obtain STR licenses.
Peak 7 Responsible Agent for Short-Term Rentals
As part of those short-term rental ("STR") license rules, the BoCC also adopted a Peak 7 Responsible Agent requirement. For Peak 7, a Responsible Agent is defined as follows: "a person or company... [who] shall be available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week to respond to potential issues and violations...." The BoCC established a Hotline to receive complaints that arise regarding Peak 7 short-term rental properties. When a member of the public submits an initial complaint concerning a Peak 7 short-term rental, it is directed to the Responsible Agent for the property at issue. And then, the Peak 7 Responsible Agent must be able to affirmatively respond to the complaint within one hour of notification. As part of their response, the Regulations also expressly require that the Responsible Agent shall "respond to the complaint, including visiting the site if necessary." If violations reported to the Hotline are not corrected or if there are repeat offenders, County staff will then pursue more formal action.
Peak 7 Short-Term Rental Occupancy Limit
The BoCC also added the following Peak 7 short-term rental occupancy limits:
- Single family, duplex and townhome units: a) 2 persons per bedroom plus 4 additional occupants; OR b) 1 person per 200 square feet of living area, whichever allows for a greater occupancy
- Condominium units: Either (a) or (b) below, whichever allows for a greater occupancy
- a) 2 persons per bedroom plus 4 additional occupants, or 2 persons per bedroom plus 2 additional occupants in buildings with interior egress components less than 44 inches wide and without a sprinkler system; OR
- b) 1 person per 200 square feet of living area
When a condominium unit contains a County-approved lock-off room that meets the definition of a lock-off room set forth in Chapter 15 of the Development Code, the lock-off room shall be allowed a total of 4 occupants.
- Units w/ Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems ("OWTS"): the maximum overnight occupancy of the unit shall be limited to the capacity established on the OWTS permit. OWTS systems in Summit County are typically designed to accommodate a maximum occupancy of 2 persons per bedroom.
No Cap on Peak 7 Short-Term Rental Licenses
The BoCC declined to add a cap on the number of total number of allowable short-term rental licenses in Peak 7. And, in that regard, it has never since added a cap of any type on the number of short-term licenses that the County will issue.
Sept. 17, 2021 to Dec. 16, 2021
90-Day Moratorium on Peak 7 Short-Term Rental Licenses
In the fall of 2021, the BoCC conducted meetings to hear public comment and discuss solutions to the local housing crisis. On September 14, 2021, the BoCC passed a temporary 90-day moratorium on new Peak 7 short-term rental licenses. STR license renewals and conversions were unaffected. The BOCC’s 90-day STR license moratorium wholly excluded the Keystone, Copper Mountain and Peak 8 resort areas. The BOCC’s short-term license moratorium for Peak 7 took effect at 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 17, 2021 and thereafter ended on December 16, 2021. During that temporary moratorium, the BoCC and County staff pledged to examine data with the aim of proposing narrow regulatory amendments that will prevent the continuing loss of long-term housing units.
Creation of Peak 7 Short-Term Rental License Types
On November 23, 2021, the BoCC conducted a first reading of proposed legislative amendments that would create overlay zones and licensing types for short-term rental properties located in Summit County. Based on community feedback, Summit County staff offered a Summit County Short-Term Rental presentation, which contained proposals for new Summit County STR license rules. The BoCC adopted two types of overlay zones for Summit County short-term rentals. The first is the Resort Overlay Zone, but it only applies to STR properties located in Copper Mountain, Keystone and Tiger Run RV Resort plus the SkiWatch and 4 O'Clock neighborhoods in Breckenridge. The second is the Neighborhood Overlay Zone, and it applies to all pEAK 7 short-term rental properties.
Neighborhood Overlay Zone for Peak 7 STR Licenses
The Neighborhood Overlay Zone essentially encompasses all other properties in unincorporated Summit County that are not located in the Resort Overlay Zone. County staff reported to BoCC that these areas were not developed as resort neighborhoods. While some individual homes may have been designed or purchased with an intent towards STR use, the BoCC found that the neighborhoods themselves were not developed to support intense, hotel-like STR use with tourist amenities. Additionally, incidences of complaints are relatively high when compared to the Resort Zone, demonstrating tension between traditional neighborhood uses and STRs.
For Peak 7 short-term rental properties, there will be three different Neighborhood Overlay Zone license types:
Type I Short-Term Rental License in Peak 7
This license type may only be obtained by a Peak 7 homeowner who uses the property as their primary residence. A Type I License is for a property owner who rents a bedroom in their Peak 7 home throughout the year or rents their Peak 7 home as an entire unit when they go on vacation. When the Peak 7 property owner is present and offering a bedroom for rent, there will be no limit on the number of nights that the bedroom may be rented annually. When the Peak 7 property owner is not present and chooses to rent the entire home, 60 nights per year will be the allowable limit.
Type II Short-Term Rental License in Peak 7
This license type is targeted toward second-homeowners who want to use their Peak 7 property and short-term rent it. With that said, a Peak 7 local who uses the property as their primary residence but wishes to rent their entire home in excess of 60 nights, could apply for this license type. A Type II License will allow Peak 7 owners to rent their Peak 7 property for up to 135 nights a year, while using it for themselves the rest of the year. County staff anticipates that the vast majority of STRs in the Neighborhood Zone would fall under this license type.
Type III Short-Term Rental License in Peak 7
The County sees this license type as most appropriate for investment property STRs. They are typically rented in excess of 135 nights per year, and the County sees them as more akin to commercial lodging businesses. Peak 7 owners, who want unlimited short-term rentals (or anything in excess of 135 nights per year), will first have to apply for a Conditional Use Permit ("CUP"). To obtain a CUP, the BoCC established the following minimum standards needed to obtaining approval:
- Owners of Peak 7 single family homes must show the following to obtain a CUP:
- Separation from occupied spaces of at least 100 feet separation, as measured between closest points, between all indoor/outdoor occupied spaces. Occupied spaces includes fire pits, hot tub, residences, but will not include sheds or detached garages; OR
- The single family home must have an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) in compliance with County code
- If lot is smaller than 40,000 sq ft, it goes through the Conditional Use Permit Class 4 process, reviewed by the County Planning Commission. Occupancy is 2 persons per bedroom plus 2 total additional persons
- If lot is bigger than 40,000 sq ft, it will go through the CUP class 2 process reviewed by County staff. Occupancy is 2 per bedroom plus 2 but can apply for additional occupancy if it goes through the Class 4 review process
- Owners of Multi-family properties in Peak 7 must have all of the following to obtain a CUP:
- Direct shuttle to ski area(s) or transit stop within 100’ from property
- Substantial Recreation-Based Shared Amenities, 3 of the following: Pool, hot tub, sauna, tennis / pickle ball courts, game room, or other substantial amenity as approved by the Review Authority
- A minimum of 100 units in the HOA
- Occupancy maximum will be 2 guests per bedroom plus 2 persons
As of the time of this writing, the County does not maintain lists of Peak 7 multi-family properties that have been pre-determined to meet the preceding three requirements for shuttles, amenities and minimum number of units; instead, each applicant must produce corresponding proof regarding the three requisites while submitting a CUP for a Peak 7 multi-family property.
The Peak 7 STR CUP process usually takes about 2-4 weeks (although that is always subject to change). Once a Peak 7 property owner receives approval of their CUP application, they may then apply for and obtain a Type III short-term rental license.
the fall of 2021, the BoCC conducted meetings to hear public comment and discuss solutions to the local housing crisis. On September 14, 2021, the BoCC passed a temporary 90-day moratorium on new Peak 7 short-term rental licenses. STR license renewals and conversions were unaffected. The BOCC’s 90-day STR license moratorium wholly excluded the Keystone, Copper Mountain and Peak 8 resort areas. The BOCC’s short-term license moratorium for Peak 7 took effect at 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 17, 2021 and thereafter ended on December 16, 2021. During that temporary moratorium, the BoCC and County staff pledged to examine data with the aim of proposing narrow regulatory amendments that will prevent the continuing loss of long-term housing units.
Formal Adoption of Peak 7 STR License Rules
On December 16, 2021, the BoCC conducted a second reading of its new short-term rental ordinance. After listening to several hours of public comment, the BoCC voted on and adopted the final version of its various short-term rental amendments. If you had an active Peak 7 STR license or applied for a Peak 7 STR license before the new regulations were adopted on December 16, 2021, you will have until September 2025 to convert your current Peak 7 STR license to one of the preceding three new license types. With that said, a Peak 7 STR property owner could also elect to convert during any renewal period prior to 2025.
Last but not least, the BoCC adopted new fees for short-term rental licenses, which are as follows:
- Neighborhood Zone, Type I STR License: $200
- Neighborhood Zone, Type II STR License: $300
- Neighborhood Zone, Type III STR License: $100 (does not include STR CUP fee - see below)
- Pre-existing STR License Renewal: $500
The filing fee for a STR CUP is $200 (above and beyond the STR license fee). As previously noted above, an STR CUP is required for all Type III STR licenses in the Residential Zone.
May 24, 2022 to Feb. 23, 2023
9-Month Moratorium on new Peak 7 Short-Term Rental Licenses
On May 24, 2022, the BoCC conducted a public hearing that started with County Staff presenting a Summit County Short-Term Rental Data Update. Despite their own past efforts to address loss of local workforce housing, the BoCC concluded that STRs in the Neighborhood Overlay Zone would continue to increase in 2022, unless it took action. Even though the BoCC enacted new Summit County STR policy in the fall of 2021, the County represented that the number of STR licenses had nonetheless significantly increased. As a result, the BoCC passed Resolution 2022-36, and it took effect immediately on May 24. The chief focus of the Resolution was to create a 9-month moratorium on new Peak 7 short-term rental licenses from May 24, 2022 to Feb. 23, 2023.
As provided on its STR Moratorium page, the County explained the purpose of the moratorium as follows:
[to] allow staff time to propose new regulations to address the increase in STRs in the Neighborhood Overlay Zone and their impact on local workforce housing, as well as to address inconsistencies and conflicts within the Land Use and Development Code (“Code”) regarding commercial lodging operations and short-term vacation rentals.
It’s important to reiterate that the 9-month STR moratorium only applies to the issuance of new Peak 7 STR licenses. As such, the moratorium does not affect:
- Any already-existing STR licenses for Peak 7 properties. All current STR license holders can continue forward as permitted by the terms of their existing license;
- Any pending Peak 7 STR license applications that were submitted prior to 3:35PM MT on May 24, 2022; or
- Any Peak 7 STR license renewals.
The County created a process for requesting a Special Exception to the 9-Month STR Moratorium, but it only applies in the following two circumstances:
- Property Under Construction To qualify as an owner of a property under construction, you must have passed a Foundation Wall inspection from the Building Inspection Department prior to or within 30 days of the enactment of the moratorium; or
- Property Under Contract To qualify, you must have been under contract on a property prior to May 25, 2022
The Special Exception process includes an application that can be submitted at a cost of $780, and it closes on June 23, 2022. In sum, Peak 7 falls within the Neighborhood Overlay Zone; consequently, with the preceding limited exceptions, no Peak 7 property owner can obtain a new Summit County short-term rental license until the moratorium ends on Feb. 23, 2023.
Need Help Understanding Peak 7 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 Peak 7, 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 Peak 7 short-term rental rules!