A national company wants to help Boulder residents make some extra cash by renting out their homes during University of Colorado football games — a venture the city says is flatly illegal.
GamedayHousing.com assists property owners who live near popular sports facilities, such as CU’s Folsom Field, in renting their homes to sports fans during game weekends, in exchange for a 20 percent commission.
“Big games like Colorado vs. Georgia always bring in crowds of supporters for both teams,” co-founder Chris Brusznicki said. “There are never enough hotel rooms to accommodate these kind of crowds, so we help local property owners make some extra bucks by renting out their homes for the weekend.”
Yet Boulder officials point out that it’s illegal to rent out homes in the city for fewer than 30 days, unless the properties are licensed as hotels or motels. Violators can be fined up to $2,000 and face up to 90 days in jail, according to city code.
“Hotel, motel zoning is not usually permitted in residential areas, therefore, it is not legal to rent out a residential property in Boulder for less than 30 days,” said Charles Ferro, Boulder’s land use review manager.
GamedayHousing.com‘s Brusznicki argues, however, that one of the code’s exemptions allows short-term rentals.
The exemption states that if the dwelling is the “owner’s principle residence,” and is rented for no longer than “12 consecutive months in a 24-month period,” the building does not require a rental license from the city manager.
The owners of GamedayHousing.com said they interpret the exemption to mean homeowners can rent out their primary dwelling for any time less than 12 months. But Boulder officials said the exemption is meant only for properties rented for more than 30 days.
The company plans to continue its expansion into Boulder with the belief that it is not acting illegally, Brusznicki said. But if property owners are prosecuted by Boulder, they’re on their own.
“If someone is fined for renting their home they would be responsible for paying that,” co-founder Geoffery Polk wrote in an e-mail. “We rely upon our owners to make sure they are complying with applicable laws when renting their homes, and if they do not, that is their responsibility to deal with the authorities.”
GamedayHousing.com rents more than 150 homes nationwide and charges an average of $1,850 for a two-night stay, depending on the popularity of the game. There are currently no homeowners yet participating in Boulder, but the site has a waiting list of interested renters for the CU-Georgia game in October.
Sheila Horton, executive director of Boulder Area Rental Housing Association, said the GamedayHousing.com‘s Boulder expansion might be a waste of time for the 5-year-old rental company.
“No one in Boulder is going to use the company,” Horton said. “Pretty much everyone knows it’s illegal to rent less than 30 days in Boulder unless you’re a hotel, so I don’t think anyone would even talk to the company at this point.”
Yet at least one similar company, CollegeWeekends.com, entered the Boulder market last year, and currently lists 10 availabilities in the city, including properties on Iris and Mapleton avenues, and on University Hill.