Conservation Conversations: A check list for short-term rentals
Now that the holiday and ski seasons are upon us, droves of tourists will be pouring into Grand County to enjoy our lovely winter weather (or lack thereof).
Some people like short-term rentals, some people don’t. However, the reality is that short-term rentals are a growing industry in both Grand and Summit counties, and they are probably not going away any time soon.
A short-term rental (also known as a vacation rental) is the nightly or weekly rental of dwellings, dwelling units, mobile homes, rooms or accommodations, excluding hotel and motels, for less than 30 consecutive days, including but not limited to single family dwellings, duplexes, multi-family dwellings, townhomes, condominiums, time share or similar dwellings.
Many hosting sites provide a service to clients listing their properties online for rent to wide audience groups online. Some examples include, but are not limited to VRBO, Airbnb, HomeAway, Trip Advisor, and many other vacation rental hosting sites.
All property owners desiring to engage in the short-term rental of a residence in unincorporated Grand County must apply for a short-term rental permit with the county (see link below). This permit must be obtained and renewed on an annual basis. Each town has its own regulations regarding STRs; thus, individuals living in town should contact their town government office.
Because some STR renters are new to the county and may not know the area like the locals, here are some suggested resources for guests to provide them (and your fellow neighbors) with the safest and most pleasant stay possible.
• Install a 911 reflective address sign at the end of the driveway for clear identification of your property for guests and emergency responders. Remember, guests may not be arriving during daylight hours.
• Clearly post the proper address (911 address) on the inside of the door in case of emergency. This should include the county road number if you live on a county road.
• Have a list of important numbers and websites easily available, including
1) the STR owner or a responsible party (24-hour contacts)
2) Dial 911 for emergencies (keep in mind that international guests may not be familiar with 911 as the emergency number)
3) Local hospitals, doctor’s offices, clinics, and urgent cares
4) Police and sheriff department non-emergent numbers
5) Fire Protection Districts
6) Chamber of Commerce Offices
7) Popular local tourist locations (including US Forest Service Office, Bureau of Land Management and Rocky Mountain National Park)
8) If there is public transportation available, info on the Public Transit routes/schedules
9) 511 or cotrip.org for road conditions and closures
• Post an emergency exit plan and highlight the location of fire extinguishers
• Make sure all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning and the batteries are good, and tell guests where extra batteries can be found, just in case the batteries die in the middle of the night and the alarm starts going off.
• Remind guests to check fire restrictions before lighting an outdoor fire and include the fire department’s number or a link to the county’s fire restrictions page
• Post applicable street parking rules (especially pertaining to winter snowplowing operations)
• If trash service is provided onsite, state when and where to put the trash out. Ensure that outdoor garbage bins are “bear-proof”
• Post the maximum occupancy of the short-term rental
• Post noise and disorderly conduct expectations — no person shall make, cause or permit unreasonable noise to be emitted from the short-term rental that is audible upon private premises in excess of the limits set forth in Title 25, Article 12 of the Colorado Revised Statutes or constitutes disorderly conduct under C.R.S. § 18-9-106
• Good Neighbor Guidelines are good guidelines that all renters should abide by. For a complete list of guidelines, go to http://www.summitcountyco.gov/DocumentCenter/View/24591/Good-Neighbor-Guidelines?bidId=
Grand County STR Department: http://www.co.grand.co.us/943/Short-Term-Rentals
Material for this article came from Middle Park Conservation District’s “High Country Rural Living & Land Management” guide. This 64-page educational guide discusses all sorts of conservation topics for living in Grand County. Explore the guide at http://www.middleparkcd.com/ultimate-landowner-guide/.
Conservation Conversations is a series brought to you by the Middle Park Conservation District, CSU Extension, Grand County Division of Natural Resources and Grand County Wildfire Council. Today’s article explores the conservation of Grand County’s tourism, charm, and friendly neighbor relations related to short-term rentals.
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