Santa Fe city councilor says many short-term rentals operating illegally

Politics - Government

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The City of Santa Fe is cracking down on short-term rentals, saying hundreds of them are not permitted and could face fines. There are also still a couple hundred permits up for grabs.

Santa Fe is losing $3.8 million annually to short term rentals, according to a survey done in 2019. “They’re just not paying it when people come and rent, they’re just not paying it,” says City Councilor Carol Romero-Wirth.

Romero-Wirth says that’s why the city recently capped the number of short-term rental permits at 1,000. Still, she says, there are about 1,600 of these rentals, through websites like Airbnb, operating across the city.

She says about half of them are not following the city’s ordinance, requiring them to register the rental and get a permit. “There’s something like 800 that are permitted,” she says.

Romero-Wirth is supportive of these rentals but wants them to come into compliance, saying the lost revenue isn’t the only problem they’re causing. “That’s had a negative impact on the neighborhoods, the neighbors are feeling like the character of the neighborhood doesn’t feel the same,” Romero-Wirth says.

The city planning commission this week will hear a proposed amendment to the current ordinance that would have code enforcement officers cracking down on people who aren’t permitted and inform them about the remaining 200 permits that are available.

“And then once we hit that 1,000 level cap, those houses that can’t get permits maybe will become longterm rentals [that] help with our housing shortage,” Romero-Wirth says. According to the councilor, because of the budget deficit, they will not be hiring any more enforcement officers for this extra enforcement, if this amendment passes.

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