A ban on short-term home rentals throughout most of the county remains in effect Monday, after county commissioners and town councilors voted to uphold it.
The prohibition requires that homeowners outside designated lodging areas rent their homes for no fewer than 30 days at a time.
The ban essentially forbids the type of residential vacation rental promoted by online brokerages such as VRBO.com and many of those arranged by Jackson business the Clear Creek Group.
After almost a year of deliberation on this and related topics, both boards arrived at the proper conclusion, Town Councilor Jim Stanford said.
“The laws are clear, the building codes are clear, the staff reports are clear and the community sentiment’s been clear,” he said.
The two boards’ decision overturns an informal interpretation of the law made in 2007 at the Clear Creek Group’s request that had allowed one short-term residential rental of a home every 30 days.
The Clear Creek Group rents luxury homes to tourists for weekly rates of as much as $100,000.
The business also brokers real estate and manages properties.
Alone among members of both boards, Jackson Mayor Mark Barron sought to uphold the 2007 interpretation, saying it had been the law’s intent since its adoption in 1994.
Historically, Barron said, illegal short-term rental has meant multiple rentals of a home within the span of a month. Since the 1990s, he said, homeowners regardless of their location have been allowed to rent their homes to vacationers for any length of time, but only once a month.
“This is an over reach,” Barron said of the boards’ decision.
Residential short-term rental is defined in county code as “the rental of all or a portion of a house, townhouse, condominium, apartment, or other residence for less than thirty (30) days.”
County law states that “no [residence] shall be rented for less than thirty (30) days unless specifically approved for residential short-term rental.”
The town’s ordinance reads substantially the same.
Certain areas of the county including the Aspens and Teton Village are specifically approved by statute for short-term rentals.
The commissioners’ and councilors’ vote Monday means that the law will be interpreted to mean strictly what it says: that homes are not to be rented for fewer than 30 days.
In the past the Clear Creek Group has contracted with vacationers month-long leases that forbid the visitors from remaining in their rented homes for more than a certain fraction of those 30 days. While technically a 30-day lease, according to the firm, opponents characterized such leases as violating both the spirit and the text of the law.