City council changes tax rules for short-term rental owners

Local

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The city is adding a new stipulation to an ordinance they passed last year.

The short term rentals ordinance, passed in October, required those renting out part of their homes to get a permit, register with the city, and pay Lodging Automobile and Rental Taxes, or LART. Hosts had to pay the 8.25 percent sales tax, as well as the 2 percent for that LART fund.

One woman who has an Airbnb said this is discouraging people from having short term rentals at all.

“I am a hairdresser,” Airbnb host Traci Hoffler said. “Been doing that for the whole four years I have been living here.”

She likes making Colorado Springs an affordable place to stay for visiting families, as well as making a little extra cash for her three kids at home.

Hoffler’s family ran into a rough patch, and said the income from the Airbnb saved it from being devastating.

“Because we had this income, it helped us really stay afloat,” Hoffler said.

Back in October, the city imposed some rules on short-term rentals like this and to make sure they have a permit and the property is up to par.

“It’s really about having the people that have short term rental pay their taxes and fees that are supposed to do,” City Council President Richard Skorman said.

Just this month, city council passed an amendment to the ordinance. Property owners now have to pay that tax retroactively, for as long as they’ve been renting the unit.

“I feel like it makes it harder,” Hoffler said. “That’s a lot of taxes.”

Skorman said it’s what’s best.

“In case neighbors are having issues with parking and noise or other problems,” Skorman said.

“My husband grew up in this house,” Hoffler said. “It means a lot to be able to do this and keep this house in the family and provide for our children and help other people out at the same time.”

The city is hiring a third-party consultant to find people that haven’t registered their short-term rental with the city.

They’ve gotten about 700 people signed up, but Skorman estimates there are 1,500 to 2,000 out there.

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