SANTA FE COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – New rules are coming for short-term rentals in Santa Fe County after county officials pumped the brakes on new short-term rentals like Airbnb’s and other vacation rentals. Now, county commissioners want to extend the restrictions until they come up with a better plan.
Last year, Santa Fe County leaders put into effect a one-year moratorium stopping people from establishing short-term rentals on newly purchased property unless the owner is living on the site. The goal is to stop buyers from snapping up residential property and renting it to tourists in areas surrounding the City of Santa Fe.
That moratorium expires on November 24. Now, some county commissioners want to extend it to figure out what to do long-term about these short-term rentals.
“People don’t like to be regulated, but at the same time, for the wellbeing and health and safety of the county residents, we need to know what’s going on in the county,” said Santa Fe County Commissioner Anna Hansen.
The county called for a report to research the impact the rentals have on the area, which included a community survey. One concern from residents the report addressed, was whether these types of rentals reduce affordable housing. The report found they don’t.
What the results did find was rentals with an owner living on-site were better for neighborhoods, cutting down on noise and safety complaints as well as zoning and tax collection conflicts.
“What they recommended in the report is that we limit the number of non-occupied,” said Hansen.
The report also found there are 246 short-term rentals in Santa Fe County that aren’t even registered. The commission hopes to use the possible extended moratorium to figure out how to address them and whether penalties are appropriate.
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The report is drawing criticism from property owners, who believe the moratorium is unfairly limiting what people can do with their own property, and extending it is not the answer.
“I think if they could streamline a simple registration process, permitting process, it would be so much better, and they could enjoy the tax that they get from us,” said Short Term Rental Fellowship of Santa Fe County member Heather Nordquist.
Commissioners have ordered a public hearing on November 17 to vote on extending the moratorium for 3 months. The leaders believe the extension will give them enough time to look at the findings and make changes.