Short-term rental ordinance causing turbulence in neighborhood, economy

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — FOX21 News is tracking a new development, after a short-term rental tax was imposed by the City of Colorado Springs.

One man says a short-term rental across the street is not abiding by the rules, the owners insist she is, and an economist is questioning whether the city the will even be able to follow through with this ordinance.

“With the affordable housing pressures we now have, you start to think, ‘Are we making it even more difficult?'” asked economist Tatiana Bailey on retroactively taxing short-term rentals. “I would think that it would be very difficult to go back retroactively for many years, but I am not sure how you would enforce that.”

Bailey said the city should come up with something enforceable.

“Provide an incentive for the VRBOs to do this the right way,” Bailey said.

Bailey also believes if there is no penalty for rental owners who fail to register with the city and get the necessary permit, some will continue to fly under the radar.

However, she does see the other side of the issue.

“There are hotels and motels and resorts, like the Broadmoor and Cheyenne Mountain that say, ‘VRBOs are hurting us,'” Bailey said. “It’s understandable. They are being leveed these higher taxes, they feel like it’s not a level playing field.”

Al English lives across the street from an Airbnb.

“I’m concerned what it does to property values. Do I want to buy this house if I know I got a Super 8 across the street? I think not,” English said.

He has recorded a paper trail of violations he believes the city isn’t enforcing, such as capacity inside the home and parking limits.

“When you are repeatedly reporting these incidents that are in violation and nobody does in anything about it, that’s what concerns me,” he said.

The rental in question belongs to Tanya Mitchell, who told FOX21 News she plays by the rules.

“I want to be part of the solution, I got my permits, I pay my taxes,” Mitchell said. “I am not aware of any law that has been broken. Whether there are kids playing in the front yard, which seems really normal to me, or people drinking some beer together in the back yard.”

An ordinance violation can result in the revocation of an owner’s short-term rental permit, and Mitchell says she lives in town and has provided neighbors her contact information in the event that any issues arise with her guests.

The city said it is working to enforce the rules and taking in code enforcement complaints, but adds it will work with short-term rental owners to rectify problems before taking drastic action.

To report an issue to code enforcement in your neighborhood, call 719-444-7891.

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