Airbnb owner worried about possible tax increase in Santa Fe
SANTA FE, N.M. – For many folks Airbnbs, or other short-term rentals, are a great alternative to hotel stays. But some hosts in Santa Fe are saying they might have to close up shop if the county reclassifies their property as “non-residential.”
One family says they feel like this possible tax increase is nothing more than a money grab by the county, especially since there aren’t many county services out where they live.
Stella and Jack Shelburn have been using her late father’s home as an Airbnb for the last three years. Her family built the home back in the 1940s in the rural Pojoaque Valley long before most other developments in the area. In fact, her dad even built the road they live on.
But being so far from Santa Fe city limits they have to take care of a lot of things themselves.
“We have our own dumpsters. We supply water, sewer, dumpster trash removal. My father-in-law actually donated the road out here 101 D Evergreen Lane to the county,” Jack Shelburn said.
This month the Santa Fe County assessor office announced they will be sending out letters asking short term rental owners how they use their property—and if it is mostly used as an Airbnb, the property would lose its residential tax classification.
“The way that Isaiah Romero described the law, he said that it was for hotel motel-like rentals, which obviously, if you see this place, it is not a hotel or motel,” Stelle Shelburn said. “They want a money grab from us. I don’t know, but it’s not going to improve us, it’s not going to give us any more services out here. We already know that.”
The Shelburns are worried a reclassification would lead to higher property tax, plus they would lose their annual 3% cap on tax increases.
“What I’m concerned about is it they classify it as commercial; they will want to reassess it. Now the problem in this area here, this is an old community. All these people have had homes forever,” Jack Shelburn added. “And it’s going to impact them outrageously. A commercial property can be raised as much as 30%, depending on what the county wants to do.”
If the county says they will re-classify her family home to nonresidential she knows what she will do.
“I can shut it down. I don’t have to Airbnb, I can do whatever I want with this house. I am not going to allow that reassessment of this property. It’s not going to happen. So if I have to shut it down, I will,” Stella said.