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Although exotic vacation locales — like Hawaii's island of Oahu, which spans 597 miles — are still popular with the American public, travelers are evidently eager to stay closer to home (and often, in less luxurious accommodations) during a getaway. In fact, many Colorado homeowners have benefitted from the short-term vacation rental boom, raking in millions of dollars in a given season. But area residents have also faced legal issues surrounding their short-term rental properties. Whether this side hustle will continue to be a feasible one for many homeowners remains to be seen.

Since the gig economy has become more normalized in recent years, it's no surprise that Americans are turning to platforms that allow them to bring in extra money. Airbnb is just one of those platforms that's become immensely popular throughout the nation, allowing property owners to rent out their humble (and not-so-humble) abodes for short periods of time to make some cash. Although 96% of millennial investors are interested in real estate investments, these avenues have provided ways for just about anyone to bring in additional income in a relatively passive way by making the most of the real estate they already own.

Despite the fact that only 37,000 homes were built as rental units throughout the nation in 2017, Americans definitely aren't shying away from renting — even in the short term. Rather than stay in a stuffy hotel, many adventurers would rather enjoy the unique experience of an Airbnb booking. It's often a more comfortable and interesting experience, with many homeowners really going the extra mile for their guests. Plus, this option may be considerably more affordable (even though there are trade-offs and risks involved for both parties).

The appeal of Airbnb listings is clear in Colorado, where Airbnb says homeowners raked in an impressive $148.1 million in supplemental income during the 2019 summer season alone. While Denver was the most popular travel destination in the state, others like Colorado Springs, Breckenridge, Boulder, and Estes Park were notable in the number of visitors that various Airbnb listings brought to town. Colorado also became part of Airbnb's "Experiences" feature in 2018, offering more than 200 exciting opportunities for visitors to take part in what makes this state so beloved.

Explained Laura Spanjian, Airbnb's senior policy director for Colorado, in a statement: "The Airbnb community continues generating significant, positive economic impact across Denver. With more guest arrivals this summer than ever before, hosts and small businesses are receiving an economic boost from this expanded tourism economy and the state is receiving additional tax revenue as a result of this growth. As we look ahead to fall, we remain committed to working [with] communities around the state to ensure short-term rentals continue contributing to the Denver economy."

Of course, not everyone is happy about the influx of visitors. Denver homeowners, in particular, have been subjected to harsh regulations regarding short-term rentals. The city enacted new rules in 2016 that required residents to obtain licenses in order to prove their homes that are available on these platforms are their primary residences. The regulations were meant to ensure that residents weren't purchasing secondary homes for the sole purpose of renting out those homes, as officials felt that this practice would decrease the city's housing supply and subsequently raise the price of both rentals and home ownership.

But despite the fact that a recent report found that short-term rentals comprise only 1% of Denver's housing market, the city is now pursuing criminal charges against homeowners who don't comply. As a result, many Denver residents have surrendered their short-term rental licenses for fear of prosecution. While only 93 residents took this action in 2018, the recent crackdown has prompted the surrender of 154 such licenses already this year. In Colorado Springs, complications have arisen pertaining to the enforcement of short-term rental regulations. And in both cities, locals have expressed problems associated with those who book these rentals — and yet, they are generating money that benefits the local economy.

Other cities throughout the nation are experiencing similar conflicting reactions to the growing popularity of short-term rentals. While the outcome may not yet be certain, it's clear that there is a real demand for these setups — and Americans are enthusiastic about the prospect of being able to book and to get others booking.

This branded content was provided by the online marketing firm, HubShout.

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