City changes condo licensing | ParkRecord.com

City changes condo licensing

by Andrew Kirk, OF THE RECORD STAFF

Owners of Park City units in nightly rental pools are under closer scrutiny this year, but it’s for their own benefit, explained a report by Chief Building Official Ron Ivie to Mayor Dana Williams and the Park City Council this week.

Prior to Dec. 29, 2009, only property managers were listed on the business licenses for nightly rental units. The past year has seen hundreds of Park City condo owners change property managers, thereby requiring a new business license and building inspection.

This year the city is working to add the name of the property owner to all licenses, so a change in property management will only require a transfer of the business license to the new managers, saving time and $70 for the applicants.

The city is also working to refund owners who have already paid for a new application the $70 difference between a new license and a transferred one.

The shift was largely prompted by the failure of Premier Resorts and David Holland’s Resort Lodging in 2009, explained city business license clerk Shelley Hatch.

Approximately 575 unit owners were required to apply for a new license and undergo inspection after the two companies went under after leaving owners unpaid for visitor stays during the second half of the 2008-2009 ski season.

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Hatch said the city recognizes these owners as victims and regrets the additional work the old policy caused them.

"This is to give them a break," she explained. "We don’t want to make them pay the application fee this is to help ease the burden."

The new policy has the potential to cause some confusion, but the report to the elected officials explained that it’s a good move in the long run.

"Currently the paperwork is indeed a drawback but (is) expected to subside over time. Staff believes that the applicants will eventually see that this will work to everyone’s benefit," Ivie wrote.

Additionally, there are organizational benefits to the city, Ivie said in the report. When there are complaints about or problems with a unit, the old policy made it difficult to identify the owners. Now the city will have on file who owns and who manages every unit engaged in nightly rentals.

That has also prompted a city wide inspection of rental pools, which hasn’t been done in three years, the report said.

Hatch explained that the recent changes should be understood as a part of a two- or three-year process to reform the policy on nightly rental business licenses.

Before the process began, a property manager was allowed to apply for a single business license that covered several units and then submit a spreadsheet to the city listing the addresses.

It was inefficient for the city, Hatch explained. requiring licenses for individual units, it has also made it possible for the city to aid the Summit County Assessor’s Office in properly taxing properties.

Now, the city and county can share records and aid one another in making sure every unit participating in nightly rental business is identified and taxed accordingly.

Besides more revenue, this makes the public safer, Hatch said. It reduces the likelihood of guests renting condos without fire extinguishers and proper safety railings, for example, she said.

Barbara Kresser, Summit County assessor, said the new records are a "very important tool we use."

"It gives us a starting point from which we research," she said. "We’re happy when they do this extra step for us."

Nearly 100 notices have already been sent out this year to owners with "primary residence" status on file at her office but appear to be participating in nightly rentals. Places designated as primary residences receive a significant break on property taxes compared to those without the designation.