A fourth Denver property owner has been charged with a felony in connection with falsifying legal documents about their short-term rental property.

Spencer David Chase, 46, has been charged with one count of attempting to influence a public servants, after he allegedly submitted on April 15 an application for a short-term rental license at 1117 S. Milwaukee St., which was not his primary home, the Denver District Attorney’s Office said in a news release. He submitted another application for the same property on April 16, with the applicant name listed as “Palm Tree Venture Capital LLC” and Chase’s contact information, according to an arrest affidavit provided by the DA.

Provided by the Denver District Attorney's Office
Spence Chase, 46, is accused of falsifying a document related to a short-term rental license application.

On April 22, the Denver Excise and Licenses office received an email from a person who said she is an employee of Chase’s and that her employer owns 12 rentals under a company he runs, the affidavit stated. Chase wanted to rent one as a short-term rental on VRBO for several months, she said, and though he doesn’t live there, he owns the property. She also said she was told the limit for a short-term rental is one property.

A city regulation passed in 2016 says property owners only can rent their primary residences through short-term sites such as VRBO or Airbnb, and the maximum rental period is 29 days.

When city officials suspect someone is running an illegal short-term rental, they ask for a primary residence affidavit, said Eric Escudero, spokesman for the city’s Department of Excise and Licenses. Denver is the only city in the country taking that step to enforce short-term rental regulations, he said.

On June 10, the city sent Chase a primary residence affidavit, which he filled out and notarized. Investigators allege he made a false statement in the signed and notarized document, leading to the influencing a public servant charge.

Excise and licenses investigators began looking into whether Chase lived at the Milwaukee Street address and talked to neighbors who said the developer of Chase Custom Homes was temporarily renting out the home to short-term renters until he could demolish it, according to the arrest documents. However, city officials could not find a record of him pulling a demolition permit.

A records search indicated Chase lived at a house in the 1200 block of South Elizabeth Street, but that turned out to be a new home under construction, according to the arrest affidavit.

Investigators were unsure where Chase’s primary residence was located but said it was clear he doesn’t live at the Milwaukee Street address.

Chase’s July 3 arrest came less than a week after a Denver attorney was accused of falsifying the same document for a short-term rental license agreement. A Denver couple was also accused of falsifying their document in early June.

Industry watchers have said the city is cracking down on short-term rentals after giving property owners time to get into compliance with the rules.