Short term rentals ordinance passes council

ALAMOSA – After close to six months of work sessions, public comment sessions, public outreach and multiple options for considerations developed by the Department of Development Services with the city, Alamosa City Council checked a significant item off the “to do” list during Wednesday night’s meeting with the passage, by unanimous vote, of one ordinance and two resolutions governing short term rental (STR) properties within city limits.

Upon passage of the ordinance, Alamosa City Manager Heather Brooks said, “It is important to bring resolution to this item so business owners can predict what will be expected of them, neighborhoods will have some protections from nuisances, there is reasonable preservation of housing units for residents, and the community can welcome visitors.”

The ordinance – “Ordinance No. 25-2021… Amending short-term rental regulations”   (that defines the governing rule) plus the two resolutions (that set fees associated with licensing and zones that set the cap on the number of licenses) all go into effect on Wednesday, May 4, 2022.

Anyone currently operating (or interested in operating) a short-term rental needs to get a copy of the ordinance from the City of Alamosa for a full explanation of what is involved. But, for the sake of closure on the topic, what follows is a brief overview of what was passed.

According to the ordinance, short-term rentals are “residential dwelling units” that rented for a period of less than thirty days. But not all there are provisions.

Single family dwellings and duplexes can be rented out in their entirety. However, multifamily dwellings (containing four or less living units) can only rent out one unit. Short term rental of units in multifamily dwellings with more than four units are prohibited.

A short-term rental license is required prior to operating an STR within Alamosa. For those who are applying for a new license, the fee is $750 with a renewal fee of $300 per year for every year of operation after that.

All licenses expire on December 31 of the year they were issued. Property owners (or managers) can apply for a renewal starting 45 days before that date. But there is no grace period on license renewal. If the fee is not paid by the expiration date, the license is no longer valid.

There are a significant number (currently 147) of property owners who hold existing business licenses that allow them to operate a short-term rental. According to the ordinance, those STR operators with a valid business license as of December 15th, 2021 - and having been kept continuously current – need to get a short-term rental license within 45 days of May 4, 2022 to stay in operation. However, those operators will not have to pay the initial $750 fee for the STR license but, instead, the $300 renewal fee.

Also, as has been reported, zones have been established with a five percent cap on the numbers of STR licenses that will be issued per zone, based on the number of housing units within the area. Those zones will soon be posted on the city’s website with more specific information.

Additional regulations are included in the ordinance related to parking limitations, advertising, transferability, safety, conditions and notification of neighboring properties. when a new STR license is issued.

The full name of the ordinance is “ORDINANCE NO. 25-2021 AN ORDINANCE AMENDING SECTION 21-2-405 OF THE CODE OF ORDINANCES OF THE CITY OF ALAMOSA AMENDING SHORT-TERM RENTAL REGULATIONS”. Again, anyone operating STRs or interested in doing should get a copy of what was passed for a much more complete explanation of what is involved.