Avalara MyLodgeTax > Blog > State and Local News > Santa Fe County caps number of non-owner-occupied STRs

Santa Fe County caps number of non-owner-occupied STRs

  • Jan 24, 2024 | Jennifer Sokolowsky

Santa Fe County, New Mexico, has limited the number of non-owner-occupied short-term rentals (STRs) that can operate in unincorporated areas of the county. Depending on the community, the cap is set at either 3% or 7% of the housing available. In most communities, the limits offer plenty of room for the number of STRs to grow.

Santa Fe County’s STR rules went into effect in 2022 and require short-term rental hosts to register with the county and include their registration number on all advertisements. The county placed a one-year moratorium on new licenses for non-owner-occupied STRs that ended in November 2023.

The regulations divide short-term rentals into two categories:

  • Owner-occupied is defined as a dwelling that is the owner’s primary residence or an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) on the same property. Owners must live in a home for at least 275 days in a 12-month period for it to qualify as a primary residence. The annual business registration fee for owner-occupied properties is $35, and only one registration is allowed per owner.

  • For non-owner-occupied properties, the registration fee is $375, with a renewal fee of $300.

Short-term rentals are permitted in all residential zoning districts and owners must notify adjacent properties when they receive a license. They must also provide contact information for someone who can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week in case of issues. 

Cities have been busy with STR regulation

Many New Mexico cities have been active in regulating STRs. The city of Santa Fe has required operators to obtain an annual permit since 2016. In 2020, the STR regulations for Santa Fe residential zones were tightened to limit the number of short-term rental permits to 1,000 citywide and allow only one vacation rental permit per person. That ordinance also required STRs to be located at least 50 feet away from each other and capped the number of short-term rental units within multi-unit buildings. STR permits can only be issued to people, not to business entities, and permit numbers must be included in all advertisements. Short-term rental platforms such as Airbnb and Vrbo must remove listings with invalid permit numbers.

Hosts who break the rules may be subject to a fine of $100 per day for a first violation, increasing up to $500 per day for further offenses. The city hired data company Host Compliance to help collect information on short-term rentals to aid in enforcement.

Albuquerque approved an ordinance in 2020 that requires short-term rental hosts to register with the city, include their permit number in any advertising, and designate an agent who can be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to respond to issues, among other regulations. Hosts who break the law can be fined $500 per day. 

Taos updated its law in 2019 to limit the number of short-term rentals.

STR hosts need to keep on top of New Mexico lodging taxes

All New Mexico short-term rental hosts are required to pay the state’s gross receipts tax, which they can pass on to guests. Short-term rental hosts in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Santa Fe County, and Taos must also collect local lodgers’ tax. Airbnb and Vrbo collect New Mexico gross receipts tax and local lodgers’ tax for listings in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Santa Fe County, and Taos.

Avalara MyLodgeTax can help all New Mexico short-term rental hosts comply with lodging tax requirements, from registration to filing. For more on short-term rental taxes in New Mexico, see our state vacation rental tax guide. If you have tax questions related to vacation rental properties, drop us a line and we’ll get back to you with answers.

Lodging tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Avalara Author
Jennifer Sokolowsky
Avalara Author Jennifer Sokolowsky
Jennifer Sokolowsky writes about tax, legal, and tech topics. She has an extensive international background in journalism and marketing, including work with The Seattle Times, The Prague Post, Avvo, and Marriott.
Avalara logo featuring a globe surrounded by colorful lines and swirls

Learn more about NM lodging tax rules