A proposed change in El Paso County would increase taxes on Airbnb rentals from 7.15% of their value to 29%.

El Paso County Assessor Steve Schleiker wants to meet with Airbnb operators and other short-term rental owners to address concerns about a potential policy change that could quadruple their property tax bills.

Schleiker will hold open houses from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 5, 10 and 12, a county news release announced. The meetings will be at Centennial Hall, 200 S. Cascade Ave., on each of those dates.

Schleiker has weighed assessing short-term rental properties, such as those listed on Airbnb and VRBO websites, as commercial instead of residential, so his office would be in line with state law.

The properties then would be taxed at 29% of their value rather than 7.15%.

Per Colorado law, the residential assessment rate is adjusted each year to ensure that homeowners pay no more than 45 percent of property taxes statewide and nonresidential property owners pay 55 percent.

A property owner’s taxes are calculated by multiplying a property’s assessed value by the total mill levy, including levels set by area taxing districts such as library and school districts.

Under state law, properties rented for fewer than 30 days are nonresidential and should be taxed as such, the assessor says.

But Schleiker said he hopes the General Assembly will address the issue first.

“It’s just not something that’s unique to El Paso County. This is a Colorado law that many assessors are concerned with,” he said. “The law just needs to be changed to reflect the dynamic of short-term rentals and Airbnbs.”

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Schleiker said he’s contacted local legislators and met with the Colorado Springs Short-Term Rental Alliance.

At the open houses, he hopes to address rumors regarding short-term rental policies, explain how those properties are assessed, and clarify his role and responsibilities.

If the state doesn’t clarify the inconsistency, he said, he would make the change no sooner than 2021, so the owners wouldn’t have to pay more taxes until 2022.

Other problems also need to be addressed if the properties are going to be assessed as nonresidential, Schleiker said.

“There is a lot of homework that needs to be done. How do you expect assessors to discover these types of properties? ... They aren’t like regular businesses that have storefronts, signage, things like that.”

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