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Neighbors & Policymakers: Get to Know Santa Fe STRs


Short-term rentals are not Airbnb or a faceless corporation. Short-term rental hosts are faces you know: your family, your friends, the people in line with you at the grocery store. Short-term rentals are here to stay, and it’s up to Santa Fe policymakers to navigate the right tack for our community. To do so, it’s important to work with facts and data - not anecdotes. Get to know the truth and the people behind short-term rentals with the helpful information below.



Short-Term Rental Hosts and Owners


Misconception: STRs are owned or managed by Airbnb, Vrbo, and other booking platforms.

Fact: Airbnb, Vrbo, and other platforms solely connect guests to hosts. They do not own or manage any of the properties subject to local regulations. Rather, STRs are owned and managed by members of our community. Therefore, regulations decided by city council affect their livelihoods, not Airbnb’s.


Misconception: STR owners are out-of-town investors or corporate developers.

Fact: The majority of STR owners are locals renting their primary homes to make a side income that helps them keep their homes, pay for their kids’ college education, save for or supplement their retirement, and cover other life expenses. In fact, 70% of STR owners earn enough to cover only half of their monthly mortgage payments. (1)



Economic Benefit to the Santa Fe Community


Misconception: STRs aren’t taxed, giving them an unfair advantage over hotels.

Fact: Short-term rentals pay gross receipts tax and lodgers tax. In 2019 alone, STRs contributed $13.4 million in taxes to the city. Download the full economic report here.


Misconception: STRs cause affordable housing problems.

Fact: In most cities, whole-home STRs make up less than 1% of all housing units. 

On the contrary, renting a home to guests helps local homeowners supplement their mortgages to be able to keep their homes.

Affordable housing problems are caused by a disparity between wages and real estate market factors. 


Misconception: STRs are poorly maintained and decrease property values. 

Fact: STR owners are incentivized to keep their properties beautifully maintained for guests, so they meet and often exceed [city] communities’ standards of property care and curb appeal.


Misconception: STRs do not contribute to the local tourism economy.

Fact: STRs make it possible for more people to visit and spend money in [city]. One in three travelers are unlikely to consider a destination if STRs are not an accommodation option. (1)

STRs provide an economic option for guests who need more space but cannot afford multiple hotel rooms and those who need access to amenities like kitchens to be able to cook their own meals. 

Additionally, STRs keep tourism dollars in our community and disperse them to local businesses in areas away from traditional hotel commercial centers. Money spent at these local businesses stays in our community, as opposed to corporate headquarters out of state.


Misconception: STRs aren’t subject to safety requirements.

Fact: STRs are subject to all state building codes and the safety requirements and recommendations of OTA platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo/HomeAway, such as fire extinguishers, exit maps, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors. These platforms alert potential guests of any missing recommended safety features in a home, which incentivizes owners to maintain top safety standards. 


Misconception: STRs do not create or support local jobs.

Fact: STRs rely on the services of local housekeepers, landscapers, maintenance technicians, pest control providers, property managers, and other property care specialists. A 2020 study found that 74% of hosts and property managers employ at least one contractor or staff member. (5)



Short-Term Rental Guests


Misconception: STRs are unsafe for neighborhoods, and STR guests rent homes to have parties or conduct illegal activities.

Fact: Simply being a “stranger” or having an out-of-state license plate does not make an STR guest dangerous. STRs are no more safe or dangerous than long-term rentals. Booking platforms and hosts vet guests in a variety of ways before allowing a booking to occur, including automatically flagging and blocking reservations that could indicate an unauthorized party.

The average STR guest is a 50-year-old woman traveling with a family of four. (1) Many guests are also often hospital patients and/or their families, business travelers, potential future residents scouting our town, or locals who are conducting renovations on their own homes or between the sale of their home and the purchase of another.


Misconception: STR guests are noisy.

Fact: There is no evidence STR guests are louder than long-term occupants. In fact, STR guests were found to be quieter than long-term occupants 4 out of 7 days a week. (3) 


Sources: 1. Vrbo     2. AirDNA    3. NoiseAware Study    4. Airbnb  5. Rent Responsibly