Alexander and Stacy Neir are each charged with one count of attempting to influence a public servant.
Alexander and Stacy Neir are each charged with one count of attempting to influence a public servant.
Courtesy of the Denver District Attorney's Office

Reader: More Important Things to Pursue Than Short-Term Rental Violations

Last week, the Denver District Attorney's Office charged a Stapleton couple with one count each of trying to influence a public officer after they signed an affidavit stating they lived in homes they rented on Airbnb but investigators discovered otherwise. Denver requires that any owner or leaser of a short-term rental (STR) must live at the home or apartment they're renting.

Alexander and Stacy Neir will land in court over the charges. Here's what readers had to say about their plight:

Says Alex:

This is stupid. Let these people go.

Explains Christopher:

This exists so that people don't buy up houses/rental properties just to rent them out on Airbnb. This helps "normal" people get homes.

Says Eric:

Wow, what a complete waste of prosecutorial resources and everyone's tax dollars. Who is harmed by this couple renting out a place in which they don't actually live? Doesn't that happen thousands of times across the country on a daily basis? And because they didn't comply with this arbitrary bureaucratic requirement they're charged with a felony!? Just another example of governmental overreach stifling an industrious citizen just trying to make money and add value to others and their community. Also a sad depiction of the misguided state of criminal prosecution in Colorado. So glad I got out.

Adds Jason:

Oh for Christ's sake. They're arresting these people for renting out some empty property on Airbnb? Surely there is more important shit to chase down.

Argues Salvatore:

This is an economic crime, and as a citizen of Denver I agree with this. Stop displacing people who live and work in Denver.

Adds Wendy: 

It’s obvious to me that  the people who do not consider illegal AirBnB a crime don’t live in a condo.

They don’t understand what the consequences or impacts are on the owners and longterm renters, who have strangers coming and going from a condo, which may be right next door or down the hall.

One of the owner-neighbors attempted to do this with his unit on our floor, and ran right into our CCRs. The condos are in a secure building in Cap Hill and short-term rentals aren’t permitted.

I have a friend who was looking to buy a new condo and he looked at one in a building downtown, where it turned out to be mostly AirBnB units. It even had a front desk concierge for checking renters in and out at all hours. My friend didn’t buy there, as he was looking for a new home in a building with neighbors, not visitors.

I’m in Breckenridge, land of short-term rentals, and the town is set up for it, with many property management companies and AirBnBs. In fact, Breck is one big short-term rental. What were they thinking? They should have bought in Summit County!

And then there's this from Ted:

You can't throw a rock in Stapleton without hitting somebody that looks exactly like these two people.

While the Neirs live in a home in Stapleton — Stacy is the block captain for the Stapleton Neighborhood Group there, the DA notes — they've been renting out homes in two other neighborhoods. Investigators determined that a home that the Neirs own at 2145 Tennyson Street has been operating as an STR since 2016, and their property at 2145 Eliot Street has been one since 2013.

In March, the city revoked a short-term rental license for the first time after determining that the owner of the property didn't live in the home he posted on Airbnb. And in April, the city unveiled new rules for short-term rentals that attempt to clarify the grounds for revocation of a license, bolster insurance requirements and lay out how the city should be notified if a short-term rental property changes owners. The city has issued nearly 2,580 short-term rental licenses since the program started in 2016.

What do you think about Denver's short-term rental requirements? Let us know in a comment or at editorial@westword.com.

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