The Park Record editorial Oct. 8-11, 2008 | ParkRecord.com

The Park Record editorial Oct. 8-11, 2008

Family budget crunch? Rent a room to a seasonal employee

Here is a small bailout idea for local homeowners: Consider renting a spare bedroom to a seasonal employee this winter. Every winter, hundreds of young people converge on Park City to work at the local ski areas and restaurants. Some are foreign students, others are American college grads just starting out in the work force, but before committing to more serious professions they want to spend a season in a ski town.

For the most part they are exuberant about skiing or snowboarding, love the mountains, enjoy the nightlife and, well, are broke. So, when they arrive in Park City with a job but with no housing, they are faced with severe sticker shock.

Mostly these seasonal employees are looking for modest accommodations close to the resorts, and since some are far from home for the first time, they also appreciate a little family support.

Last year, the incoming workers were seen as a godsend by local employers as they stepped up operations for what turned out to be a very busy ski season. But the number of arrivals outstripped the local affordable-housing inventory.

That’s where local homeowners can help fill the gap and maybe put a bit of spare change back in the family budget. With a little research and planning, that extra bedroom or basement apartment could serve as a temporary home for an eager employee.

However, it is not enough just to put out a For Rent sign. As Park Record business editor Andrew Kirk explains in this week’s business section, it is important to follow a few guidelines to ensure a good experience. For instance, it is critical to abide by local zoning ordinances (some neighborhoods prohibit rentals), get a business license and obtain comprehensive insurance to cover the rental. There are more tips on page A-7.

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The ski season hasn’t begun yet, but there is already a skiff of snow on the ridgelines and every indication is that seasonal employees will soon be arriving in droves. A reasonably priced room is all they need.

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