Rental restrictions are bad for Aspen
According to the papers, Aspen City Council is considering new restrictions on short-term rentals within residential areas of Aspen. I think the promoters of any government regulation should have to satisfy a very high standard of compelling need for the regulation to advance an urgent public policy. Otherwise, we reach a place (we probably have surpassed that place) where people feel government is there to suppress rather than to protect them. I am unaware of any compelling need or public policy urgency in this case. Because I understand the basic, unavoidable laws of economics (i.e., human behavior); however, I can predict some of the inevitable consequences of such restrictions, including:
1. Real estate values in the residential areas of Aspen will be reduced marginally (the fewer potential uses for property, the lower the value), and values will increase marginally outside the city limits, especially in areas closest to town.
2. Restricting the supply of short-term rentals in Aspen will increase the prices of such rentals, driving some business outside the city limits and even to other resort destinations.
3. More homeowners in the residential areas of Aspen suddenly will find they have more “guests” from out of town rather than formal renters. (Additional legal restrictions invite additional scofflaws.)
4. The city will have to choose between (a) spending additional resources on rental police to enforce the restrictions, intruding further into people’s personal business, or (b) ignoring rampant disregard for the law.
5. Future potential purchasers of property will have another negative factor to consider when weighing a purchase in Aspen vs. elsewhere.
If City Council believes the above inevitable consequences of rental restrictions are in the best interests of Aspen, they definitely should support the tightest restrictions they can possibly think of.
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