Unfortunately, you can’t just take some pictures on your phone and post your house in AirBnB. Short term Renting your home is like running a small business and there are a few step you’ll need to take to make sure you meet local regulations, are set up properly for taxes, and have a plan to provide a good experience for your guests.
These are the five steps to start short term renting your property in Summit County:
1) Apply for a License
This is an important first step before you short term rent your home. You will need a license from the town where your property is located or from the county, if it isn’t in a town, prior to advertising your property because your license is required to be listed in your advertisements. There is even a special field on AirBnB. If you don’t list your license in advertisements there is a fee for non-compliance.
Where your property is located in the county will determine where you need to apply for a license and remit sales tax to but otherwise the steps you need to follow are pretty similar.
Here I have linked to the guides provided by each town and the county.
Use this handy map to double check where you property is in relation to town limits, you might be surprised to find out that your property is just outside one of the incorporated town. The pink lines outline each town. If your property isn’t within any of the pink outlines then you will need to go through the county.
2) Choose a Responsible Agent
You will need someone who will be responsible for responding to any guest complaints and who is able to promptly go to the property if necessary. Likely this will mena that you need someone who lives locally to fill this role.
As stated in the town of Breckenridge’s description of a responsible agent: “a person who will act as a local contact for the accommodation unit and who will respond to address the needs of guests occupying the accommodation unit,” This can be a management company, rental agent, or an individual. Some of the towns require the responsible agent to be licensed as well.
3) Plan for taxes
There are sales taxes charged to all short term rental income.
Airbnb charges guests sales tax on top of your nightly fee and pays the taxes on your behalf but VRBO does not. If you plan on short term renting your home through VRBO or another method other than Airbnb you will need to plan to pay that tax on your own, and may want to consider that tax when pricing your property. Additionally if you plan to rent your property not through AirBnB and not through a management company you will need to apply for a state sales tax license. The sales tax rates do vary throughout the county with each town having slightly different rates. Properties in Unincorporated Summit County are not subject to lodging tax
If you aren’t using a management or rental company you’ll need to take care of having photos taken and completing your listing on your rental site of choice. I’m happy to recommend a few local photographers as I highly recommend not taking photos yourself. Better photos = more listings.
5) Plan for turnovers between guests
Again this might be something your management or rental agent handles for you but if they don’t or if you are renting on your own, you’ll want to hire a good cleaning crew or make sure that your Responsible Agent is also willing to do cleaning and turnovers. Like photographers, I can also recommend a few cleaning companies for you to interview.