There are a lot of similarities between lodges and vacation rentals (short-term rentals), including:
- That they provide accommodations to visitors to Aspen.
- That they often provide a range of amenities and services to the guests who are staying in these units.
- That both lodges and vacation rentals hold business licenses and pay sales and lodging tax to the City of Aspen.
- For both, guests are limited to a maximum stay of 30 days or less.
This is where the similarities end. Lodges are commercial properties, and vacation rentals operate in residential properties. Lodges are generally located in areas of the city (zone districts) that are intended and designed to provide for the impacts of commercial uses. Vacation rentals, being operated in residential buildings or neighborhoods, are often not located in areas that can withstand the impacts of these rentals without burdening neighbors or Aspen’s infrastructure. Property taxes for lodges are based on commercial tax rates. Vacation rentals, being located in residences, have a much lower property tax burden. Lodges generally have 24-hour, seven days per week, on-site management. Vacation rentals are typically managed or rented by off-site entities including property management firms or real estate agents. Lastly, under current regulations, the requirements for lodges to ensure the safety of their guests, provide for a quality visitor experience, and contribute to Aspen’s efforts to facilitate a functioning economy and maintain a sustainable system of infrastructure, are significantly more rigorous than those required of vacation rentals.