Angel Fire and Red River eye short-term rental revenue

(Image of an Airbnb Listing in Angel Fire)
With the growth of short-term rental companies like Airbnb, Vacation Rentals by Owner (VRBO), and HomeAway, the Village of Angel Fire and Town of Red River governments are considering modeling their own laws after Town of Taos regulations.

In Taos, short-term rental property owners pay a $300 annual fee, which includes business registration, fire and building inspection, short-term rental monitoring, codes compliance and short-term registration fees. Many short-term rentals also pay an additional $100 to help the community create affordable housing for Taos’ workforce. Property owners who only rent a room will be exempt from paying the $100 fee.

During the Oct. 23 regular meeting, Red River Mayor Linda Calhoun reported to council ideas she gleaned from a recent meeting of the Intergovernmental Council of the Enchanted Circle (IGC).

Calhoun noted Red River could charge a similar fee but added, “We could apply it any way we want: Affordable housing, free WiFi, transportation [like the Blue Bus or airfare]. We have about 250 rentals and they’re making a lot of money.

“We may get some pushback. If they say we’re not going to rent anymore, that will make the lodges happy, which is a win, win.

“We’re going to get with Taos and see how they do it.”

Angel Fire hopes fees will help boost community

Similarly, in Angel Fire during an Oct. 30 work session prior to the regular council meeting, Bret Wier, Village Finance Director, and Jimmy Linton, Village Tourism Manager, shared with council their impressions following the IGC meeting; though Angel Fire Mayor Pro Tem Chuck Howe told The Chronicle, “Jimmy Linton and other staff members have been discussing how we could handle short-term rentals for a very long time.”

After telling council the village should, at the very least, require owners of short-term rental properties to buy a business license and pay gross receipts taxes — a requirement of anyone doing business in the State of New Mexico — Wier said, “More and more cities are doing it.”

Wier and Linton like to also collect Lodgers’ Taxes to add those fees to the Village’s marketing budget.

“Lodgers’ Taxes promotes tourism,” councilor Steve Larson said. “It’s going to help everyone in the community.”

If Angel Fire were to follow Taos’ model and charge other fees, Wier said, the funds could go to economic development initiatives like the “Blue Bus” public transportation.

“I think Taos is a really good one to follow,” Mayor Barbara Cottam said. “It’s working well for them. I’d like to get this ball rolling.”

Wier said, “”If we want to jump on that back wagon, it’s probably going to cost us some legal fees. Once we roll out this new service, it will take us 2 years to get up to an 80-percent range. When we do these ordinances, we need to put some teeth in them.…”

In Taos, failure to register as a business could result in a $500 fine or 90-days in jail. In addition, fines associated with a failure to comply with fire or building codes could cost a business owner anywhere from $25 to $500 depending on the severity of the violation.

Short-term rentals are defined as a place where guests stay fewer than 30 consecutive days. Red River currently has 221 listings on Airbnb and Angel Fire has over 300, though several listings for that community were actually located in Taos and surrounding areas.

Neither Red River not Angel Fire have proposed a short-term rental ordinance. Details from Taos’ law can be found here:

Taos Short Term Rentals Application 04-24-18