- Matthew Schniper
- Joseph Korte's VRBO.
Hundreds of Colorado Springs residents rent out their homes via Airbnb, VRBO or another vacation rental service, but the city doesn't have any regulations regarding those rentals or know whether all are paying sales taxes.
"Right now, the city doesn't regulate them," says city Planning Director Peter Wysocki. "We don't have any inventory of that whatsoever."
But that could change.
A working group within Wysocki's department has formed to take a closer look at vacation rentals. Serving on the committee are city staff, City Councilor Jill Gaebler and representatives from the Council of Neighbors and Organizations, Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC, the bed and breakfast industry and Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau.
"We are looking at options on how we could register or license them so we could have some kind of inventory, so we can have contact information [for owners]," Wysocki says.
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The city occasionally receives complaints regarding noise or parking around vacation rentals, he says, but officials don't know who to contact in such cases.
But the chief reason the city is delving into registering vacation rentals is to collect the city's 3.12 percent sales tax and its 2 percent Lodgers and Automobile Rental Tax on overnight rooms. It's believed that many don't pay the tax, which could bring in considerable revenue, although city spokesperson Kim Melchor says via email the city entered into an agreement with Airbnb in October 2016 to collect LART and sales tax and remit it to the city for all of its registered hosts. "However," she adds, "VRBOs registered on other platforms or operating on their own still need to register individually for sales tax licenses."
Gaebler says the idea behind the new regulations isn't to restrict property use but rather "to capture these taxes" and "to educate them on being good neighbors."
CVB estimates that up to 250 Springs properties serve as overnight rentals on any given evening, she says. In LART alone during the fourth quarter of 2017, the city collected $31,447.44 from Airbnb plus another $10,968.66 from 88 other vacation rentals, says the city's sales tax office.
Gaebler says she expects a new ordinance to be considered by City Council this summer.