Silverthorne Short-Term Rental Rules

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

Silverthorne 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 - Silverthorne Short-Term Rental Rules

What constitutes a short-term rental in Silverthorne?

Any Silverthorne Property Rental Less Than 30 Consecutive Days

Since Silverthorne is an incorporated town with its own code and regulations, we must turn to the Silverthorne Short-Term Rental Ordinance, which was passed in October 2018 and became effective immediately. Section 1-16-2 uses the term “Short Term Rental Property” and defines it as a “residential dwelling unit, or any room therein, available for lease for a term of less than thirty (30) consecutive days.”

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

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

Silverthorne Short-Term Rental Rule Changes

Silverthorne Short-Term Rental License

The Town of Silverthorne previously adopted regulations requiring Silverthorne short-term rental property owners to obtain STR licenses. Silverthorne short-term rental owners are required to file an short-term rental license application and pay an annual fee. 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, Silverthorne mandates that 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 1-13-8 of the Silverthorne 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 complaint comes in to the Hotline and is directed to the Responsible Agent, the 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 Assessor’s records.

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 in order 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 the homes in Silverthorne, 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 license 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 April 6, 2023, the Town has issued 327 total Silverthorne short-term licenses
    • Zone 1 (10% cap) Existing licenses: 163 (vs. max allowed of 214)
    • Zone 2 (50% cap). Existing licenses: 164 (vs. max allowed of 526)
  • As of April 6, 2023, Town staff noted there are 11 licenses that expired on November 30, 2022 and regarding which the owners have not yet applied for renewal.

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. Silverthorne permits short-term rental owners a potentially unlimited number of 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 STR license changes might potentially affect your decision to buy or sell a property in Silverthorne, 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!