Longbranch Condominiums in Breckenridge is pictured December 30, 2021. The City of Breckenridge and Summit County Government are expanding the Lease to Locals program, which provides owners of short-term rentals with incentives to convert rooms into long-term housing.
Tripp Fay/For the Summit Daily News

Summit County and the City of Breckenridge have extended the Lease to Locals program through the end of 2022 as officials hope to unlock more affordable rooms for local employees.

The county and city announced the program expansion on Wednesday, March 16. Since its inception in October, Lease to Locals has converted 54 rooms, providing housing for 57 local workers in Breckenridge and unincorporated Summit County, which means any area of ​​the county outside of the city limits.

The program provides monetary incentives to landlords, who convert short-term rentals into longer leases for local workers. Landlords can receive up to $20,000 per property depending on the number of bedrooms they open and the length of their tenancy.

The County and City of Breckenridge originally budgeted a total of $1 million for the program, which began as a six-month pilot project. So far, $443,700 of those funds have been spent, meaning there was room for the program to continue beyond its original end date, the county’s housing director said. from Summit, Jason Dietz.

County and city officials heard from numerous homeowners who said they would have participated in the program if they had known about it sooner, Dietz said. They also heard from owners interested in participating in the program throughout the spring and summer when not renting units during the busy ski season.

“Because there was a lot of interest and we ended up unlocking a lot of rooms that weren’t there before…and we only spent a little less than half the budget, we decided to keep it open,” Dietz said.

When the program began, Dietz said the goal was to open 100 rooms to residents of the community, which officials knew was a stretch with the initial six-month timeline. Dietz hopes the expansion will allow the county and Breckenridge to meet that 100-room goal.

In the months since the program’s launch, county and city officials have learned many lessons and modified aspects of the program to meet community needs, Dietz said.

Landing Locals, the housing marketplace that county and city officials use to run the program, plans to launch a matching service for landlords and prospective tenants. The city and county are also looking to expand the program to offer master leasing, which gives local small business owners the option to enter into leases with landlords who will house their employees.

The county and city also increased some of the incentives for long-term leases, Dietz said. According to the landing premisesa landlord can earn up to $8,000 for a seasonal lease, which lasts at least five months and ends before October 31. Long-term leases allow landlords to earn up to $20,000

“A lot of people went for the long-term incentive over the short-term incentive, which we were happy to see but didn’t necessarily expect to see,” Dietz said.

Even with its success, the program is intended to be a short-term solution while county and city officials continue to build affordable housing projects.

County and city leaders may decide to extend the program through 2023 after seeing how well it is doing for the rest of the year, Breckenridge City Councilman Dick Carleton said during a Facebook Live event on Wednesday.

“I wish we had a silver bullet to the housing problem, but we don’t,” Carleton said. “All of these programs are trying to move the needle.”

The program is only open to landlords with a short-term rental license and renters who work a minimum of 30 hours per week in Summit County. It is also offered only for properties located within the unincorporated boundaries of Summit County or the City of Breckenridge. Those interested in leasing or renting can visit LandingLocals.com/summitco to start.