Home Listing method Short-term stays trigger a long-term problem

Short-term stays trigger a long-term problem

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Increase in overnight rentals makes it more difficult to solve the shortage of affordable housing

Park City is one of the most popular vacation destinations among western mountain towns, attracting an influx of tourists and second-home owners and reshaping what it means to be part of the community.

Overnight and short-term rentals have been on the rise for years, especially since 2016, as footfall increases. With the housing stock changing, many of the residents who live here – and the workers needed to keep businesses running – are the ones who struggle to find suitable housing.

During the economic downturn of 2008, many people bought homes in Park City and converted them into second homes. Jason Glidden, director of housing development at City Hall, said today only 30% of homes in Park City are considered primary residences.



Vacation rental company Airbnb, which started the same year, became an instant hit as it opened cities up to bigger crowds. Services like Airbnb allow owners to manage their properties independently and earn extra income by renting them out on a short-term basis. Short-term rentals are often much more lucrative for owners than renting their units on six- or 12-month leases.

The number of short-term rentals, which are units where guests stay no more than 30 consecutive days, has increased significantly in recent years. There are currently 2,400 licensed nightly rentals within Park City boundaries, but Glidden estimates there are an additional 1,200 unlicensed units. Certified units must undergo health and safety inspections to ensure they are up to code.



“How can we develop in a way that is both sustainable and addresses affordable housing issues? I think we can work together. I think the best outcome for our community is when we recognize (conservation and development) and say we can do both.

Pat Matheson, Executive Director of Mountainlands Community Housing Trust

With the increase in overnight accommodation and short-term rentals, seasonal workers are struggling as long-term accommodation is hard to come by.

Pat Matheson, executive director of the nonprofit Mountainlands Community Housing Trust, which helps people find affordable housing in Summit County, said 99% of available long-term housing is constantly occupied, leaving workers arriving in town with few options.

Only 15% of Park City’s workforce lives within city limits, Glidden said, and low housing inventory makes available rentals harder to track. But as house prices continue to rise without similar wage increases, the disparities will only grow.

To mitigate the difference, area employers, including the Park City government, are trying to secure affordable housing for employees as a method of recruitment.

“If you can’t attract employees, you can’t provide services. It’s detrimental to the economic future,” Glidden said.

The Old Town, in particular, has become a hotspot for short-term rentals. For residents who live there full time, it is difficult to build relationships with neighbors if people are constantly coming and going. And it’s something that officials say endangers the vibrancy of the community.

Until the past 15 or 20 years, the majority of homes in Park City were primary residences, but now neighborhoods are littered with homes that sit vacant for much of the year, or where short-term renters come and go. . When houses are in use, year-round residents may be disturbed by visitors who are often noisier or produce more waste than long-term tenants.

Glidden and Matheson agree that a sense of lost community and a workforce that does not live in the city impacts Park City’s overall social equity and diversity.

City officials face several hurdles when it comes to solving nightly rental issues, but the biggest hurdle is getting landlords to offer long-term leases instead of looking for new ones. bigger profits.

Glidden said they are looking to other resort towns for ideas. For example, in Big Sky, Montana, a new program offers landlords money to convert short-term rentals into long-term homes. The program helps offset the difference in income so owners still receive a return on their investments.

If long-term rentals are considered primary rather than secondary residences, owners will also benefit from tax breaks.

The city is considering offering restrictions on acts that would increase the number of people living in the city, similar to a program in Vail, Colorado. The program could be used as down payment assistance to help increase long-term housing options for those who may not be able to afford it. Landlords would be paid cash to live in the houses or to offer six-month rentals.

Another possibility could be the passing of ordinances that restrict overnight rentals in certain areas of Park City, but state law currently prohibits local governments from preventing rental operators from listing properties on sites. web or ban them.

In 2016, the city set a goal of creating 800 new affordable housing units by 2026, or nearly 80 units per year, to maintain the community’s anticipated growth. Glidden said that as they continue to work towards the goal, they are looking to sponsor projects or work with private developers who are obligated to make 20% of units affordable.

Officials are also considering changes to development codes, such as a proposal that would allow businesses to build secondary suites to house employees, to find solutions.

But the biggest challenge is balancing the need for affordable housing with residents’ perspectives on density and the desire for open space. Glidden said that to achieve the city’s goals, there needs to be a community conversation about development in areas where it’s appropriate.

Matheson agreed that there are technical solutions to the problem, such as construction and financing, but there are growing difficulties associated with development.

“How can we develop in a way that is both sustainable and addresses affordable housing issues? Matheson said. “I think we can work together. I think the best outcome for our community is when we recognize (conservation and development) and say we can do both.

“A community is built on people, and people who engage with each other can find solutions to these other things.”