As Democrat-controlled US Congress tries to pass equality law, the American Rescue Plan Act and Law for the People down our throat, one of our local Democratic town councils is also looking to expand its totalitarian reach with a proposal to limit short-term tenancy in Breckenridge.
Their big government supporters see nothing wrong with the council dictating the winners and losers in public policy. But imposing government restrictions on short-term rentals has serious negative constitutional, economic and personal consequences.
The biggest concern is whether the government has the constitutional right to tell private landlords to whom they can lease their property. Can the government legally compel a landlord to use their property in a certain way against their will? If so, that slippery slope could end with the government imposing on who, when, how often, and for how much a landlord can rent their property. Will the city end up forcing a landlord to only rent to a certain type of person, as the Breckenridge Tourism Board recently suggested?
Landowners have certain rights under the Constitution of the United States free and exempt from government interference, and unhindered private property is one of the cornerstones of our republic. Once the government infringes on the right to private property, it does not take long before the government takes control and eliminates these rights.
I guess the end goal of Breckenridge City Council is to eliminate short term rentals altogether and turn them into mandatory housing for long term employees so the city doesn’t have to build warehouses for employees. . I have always maintained that the government should not interfere in the real estate sector and thereby disrupt the normal market forces of supply and demand.
Instead, an appropriate function of government is to provide incentives to private developers, employing companies and individuals to help facilitate market-based solutions to local housing needs. A draconian and top-down policy as suggested by the council is not the right solution.
Current short-term rentals are ubiquitous in the Town of Breckenridge and Summit County, providing these entities with significant revenue through license fees and local and state rental taxes. The tenants themselves contribute to the local economy with significant sales taxes on accommodation, food, skiing, entertainment, and everything else their credit cards are slipping for while they’re here. This Denver family of four staying at this short term rental on the High Street is happily injecting thousands of dollars a week into our local economy.
In addition, the short-term rental income allows many people to own resort real estate and thus pay the 1% city transfer tax directly into the coffers at 150 Ski Hill Road. Without those real estate purchases and without that 1% tax, we are not funding golf courses, free transportation systems, recreation centers, performing arts centers and all the other great things that make our resort community. so nice and special mountain.
Finally, where will the thousands of short-term guests stay if not in the current units? They come here ready, willing and able to spend the money in our stores, restaurants and bars. But if there is no place for them to stay conveniently and affordably, they will certainly go elsewhere, making it easy for them to vacation and invest.
This government proposal to limit short-term rentals is a wild ride. If we start loading all short term rental units with long term occupants, we will soon have a lot of employees living here and no visitors or investors to buy our goods and services.
A better solution is to find ways for employers to finance employee housing. Employers could pay their employees enough so that they can afford to own a condo here. Employers could develop housing for employees with government tax incentives on satellite land in cheaper areas nearby. Employers could purchase units to rent specifically to their employees.
More government intervention means less freedom for owners. Let’s keep our local government busy filling potholes and shooting fireworks and keeping them out of the rental business where they don’t belong.
Kim McGahey’s “Conservative Common Sense” column appears in the Summit Daily News on Tuesdays. McGahey is a real estate broker, Tea Party activist, and Republican candidate. He has lived in Breckenridge since 1978. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.