Letter: The good points of short-term rentals
July 17, 2018
My husband and I rent a property in Grand County on a short-term basis. Wendy and Kurt Engelmann's letter regarding short-term rentals (STRs) requires a response.
Grand County has been measured and thoughtful in addressing all sides of this issue. Over the course of the year, they have expanded and revised long-standing regulations. At this point, owners who rent are required to register their property and pay a $25/pillow fee. All owners who rent must collect state and lodging taxes and remit those taxes to the county and the state. In registering, you are required to have a fire extinguisher, smoke and CO2 detectors, and two local contacts. You agree to a maximum occupancy and number of parking spaces. All these are reasonable and provide safety for renters, restrictions to manage the impact on neighbors, guidelines for owners, and income to the state and county. Several meetings and much research and thought have gone into setting these requirements.
My husband and I feel quite fortunate to be able to escape the city and spend time in this beautiful area. We also feel lucky to have this place to share with others. Like all homeowners, we have no intention of letting our cabin become rundown or damaged. It is our second home. In the four years we have rented, we have had no damage beyond normal wear and tear. We have become friends with some of our renters and look forward to renting to their friends and family. This is far from a Motel 6 as the Engelmann's state, with apologies to Motel 6.
This is not to say that there are no issues with STRs. However, they are the same issues that come up in any neighborhood. Owners should be notified of problems and should address those problems immediately.
There is no denying that renting helps with the expenses of owning a second home. However, as we were told when we bought, don't buy it if you can't afford it. We like sharing the Grand Lake area and access to Rocky Mountain National Park with others. We like having people come here who contribute to the economy of this county. We like introducing people to the area who may someday buy here because of their rental experience as we did. The benefits to the town of Grand Lake and the county may not have been tabulated but it would be very interesting to know how much money comes into the county from people who are renting from STR owners. As businesses close for the off-season and restaurants struggle, it might be a good time to think about how people who share their homes help keep the county afloat.
When we thank tourists for coming to our area and supporting the arts, festivities, and businesses, we would do well to remember that owners who rent their homes help bring these people in and give them a memorable experience in Grand County.
Betty Bush, Aurora