Silverthorne Short-Term Rental Rules

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In recent years, affordable workforce housing has become a pressing issue in Silverthorne, Colorado. The onset of Covid-19 further exacerbated the challenges faced by the local workforce, leading to worker shortages. Some local businesses attribute these shortages to a lack of affordable housing options, which in turn raises concerns about a potential shift in the "character of Silverthorne." In response, local governmental entities, including the Town of Silverthorne, have been actively discussing and implementing short-term rental (STR) regulations as a stopgap measure to stem the ongoing loss of local employee housing.

On the other hand, tourism is the lifeblood of the Silverthorne economy, and Silverthorne short-term rentals have historically played a vital role in supporting our County's tourism industry. While Silverthorne, like the remainder of Summit County, boasts a charming mountain community with no towering hotels, Silverthorne short-term rentals are crucial in providing accommodation options for visitors. The delicate balance between fostering increased local workforce housing and sustaining tourism has prompted local governmental bodies to experiment with changes to Summit County short-term rental regulations. Consequently, the regulatory landscape is rapidly evolving, and it includes new Silverthorne short-term rental rules.

As a resource for those considering purchasing Silverthorne real estate to engage in short-term rentals, my objective is to provide valuable insights into Silverthorne short-term rental rules. Stay informed with the latest updates and changes in Silverthorne short-term rental regulations that may impact your investment.

Silverthorne Short-Term Rentals
Property Owner FAQs

Silverthorne Short-Term Rental Rule Changes

Silverthorne Short-Term Rental License

In October 2018, Town of Silverthorne staff proposed and the Town thereafter adopted regulations requiring Silverthorne short-term rental property owners to obtain STR licenses. Silverthorne short-term rental owners are required to file a short-term rental license application and renew their Silverthorne short-term rental license on an annual basis.  If the property is within a duplex, the application must include a copy of written notice that was provided to the owner of the adjacent unit. Silverthorne short-term rental owners are also required to read and sign a set of Good Neighbor Guidelines. And, the Town mandates that Silverthorne short-term rental owners submit a sworn affidavit certifying their property fully complies with health and safety standards listed in the ordinance.  A complete list of all such health and safety items can be found in Section 1-16-8 of the Silverthorne Short-Term Rental ordinance, but they include certifying that:

  • smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers are installed and operable;
  • roofs, floors, walls, foundations, ceilings, stairs, handrails, guardrails, doors, porches and all other structural components will be capable of handling all loads to which they may be normally subjected; and
  • electrical panels are clearly labeled.

Silverthorne Short-Term Rental Responsible Agent

As part of the 2018 Silverthorne short-term rental ordinance, the Town created a new role, the Silverthorne Responsible Agent. Section 1-16-2 of the ordinance defines the Silverthorne Responsible Agent as “an individual who is available for immediately responding to any issues arising from the Short Term Rental Property 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. 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. The Responsible Agent may be the Owner.”

To obtain a Silverthorne short-term rental license, the Town requires each owner to name a Responsible Agent. The Silverthorne STR ordinance contains some of the strictest Responsible Agent requirements anywhere across Summit County. More specifically, when a person calls the Hotline with a complaint, it is immediately directed to the Responsible Agent.  The Silverthorne STR ordinance directs the Responsible Agent to resolve the complaint issue within 60 minutes, or within only 30 minutes if the problem occurs in a timeframe from 11:00PM to 7:00AM.

Silverthorne Short-Term Rental Occupancy Limits

As part of the 2018 Silverthorne short-term rental ordinance, the Town also established occupancy limits for Silverthorne short-term rentals. In that regard, Section 1-6-8(f) states that a Silverthorne short-term rental property “shall not be more than two persons per bedroom plus two.”  The Town Council also declared that the number of bedrooms in a Silverthorne short-term rental property would be based on what’s listed in the Summit County GIS Parcel Query Tool.

Silverthorne Short-Term Rental License Fees

On November 10, 2021, the Town Council approved a second reading of an ordinance to increase various rates and fees starting on January 1, 2022. That fee increase included a new per-bedroom fee for Silverthorne short-term rental licenses. The new annual fee schedule is as follows:

  • Studio $150/year
  • 1 Bedroom $200/year
  • 2 Bedrooms $250/year
  • 3 Bedrooms $300/year
  • 4 Bedrooms $350/year
  • 5 Bedrooms $450/year
  • 6 or more Bedrooms $500/year

Silverthorne Short-Term Rental Tax Rate

Also in November 2021, the Town Council agreed to ask voters to increase the excise tax rate on Silverthorne short-term rental stays from its current 2% level to 6%. In December 2021, Town staff presented draft language for this proposed tax increase. On April 5, 2022, residents of Silverthorne voted to raise the tax on Silverthorne short-term rentals from 2% to 6%. It was the first such tax raise since 1998.

No Moratorium on Silverthorne Short-Term Rental Licenses

At the end of August 2022, the Town released a map of Silverthorne short-term rental license holders.  In the fall of 2022, the Town Council conducted a Silverthorne short-term rental community survey, planned Silverthorne short-term rental open house sessions and discussed possible rule changes for Silverthorne short-term rental licenses.  Silverthorne short-term rental licenses expire annually on November 30, and every Silverthorne short-term license holder is required to submit a renewal application to continue forward.

2023 Caps on Silverthorne Short-Term Rental Licenses
STR License Applications Still Being Accepted

On January 11, 2023, the Town of Silverthorne formally passed Ordinance 2022-25, which instituted caps on the future issuance of Silverthorne short-term rental licenses.  The ordinance created a map with three Silverthorne short-term rental license zones:

  • Area 1 covers the majority of Silverthorne homes, and the number of Silverthorne short-term rental licenses in Area 1 is now capped at 10% of the total residential units in that zone;
  • Area 2 covers a a smaller portion of the central downtown district, and the number of Silverthorne short-term rental licenses in Area 2 is now capped at 50% of the total residential units in that zone; and
  • Area 3 covers a local workforce housing zone where homes carry deed restrictions that already either curtail or eliminate short-term rentals.  Nonetheless, the ordinance reaffirms that no Silverthorne short-term rental licenses will be issued in Zone 3.

While the new ordinance does establish a Silverthorne short-term rental license cap, the Town's stated purpose during hearings was to allow for the issuance of additional Silverthorne short-term rental licenses and to ensure "there is plenty of room to grow".  More specifically, the Town stated that, at present residential numbers, the ordinance would allow for about 740 total short-term rental licenses in Silverthorne.  That number represents almost 20% of the total number of approved residential units within the Town.  To provide perspective, here's an overview of recent Silverthorne short-term rental license numbers:

  • As of a Town Memorandum dated April 4, 2024, the Town has issued 378 total Silverthorne short-term rental licenses:
    • Zone 1 – 10%. Existing licenses: 180 issued vs. max of 215
      • 35 Silverthorne short-term rental licenses remaining
    • Zone 2 – 50%. Existing licenses: 198 issued vs. max of 526
      • 328 Silverthorne short-term rental licenses remaining

In sum, the Town has pledged to monitor Silverthorne short-term rental license numbers on a routine basis, and it will revisit the issue if the number of licenses starts to approach the new caps.  At present then, it's business as usual, and the Town continues to receive, evaluate and process new Silverthorne short-term rental license applications.

No Caps on Silverthorne Short-Term Rental Nights

There are also currently no caps on the number of rental nights for Silverthorne short-term rentals.  The Town permits Silverthorne short-term rental owners a potentially unlimited number of STR rental days in any calendar year.

Need Help Understanding Silverthorne Short-Term Rentals?

If you’re interested in further discussing local real estate and how Silverthorne short-term rental rules might potentially affect your decision to buy or sell real a Silverthorne property, 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 Silverthorne short-term rental rules!