Calling for help in reporting illegal short-term rentals

Cities in the Hudson Valley are considering or implementing short-term rental legislation to restrict the number of Airbnbs and VRBOs in a given area. But who will monitor these lists and flag those that circumvent legal restrictions?

The town of Red Hook in Dutchess County has died controversial regulations to limit short-term rentals only in certain parts of the city, for a limited number of days, and only if the owner is a primary resident of the city and has registered the property as a short-term rental.

Now the city is considering a third-party company to monitor registrations and enforce the law. Granicus, a platform that provides short-term rental monitoring as part of the Colorado-based company’s bids to governments, pitched its services to the Red Hook Town Board on Feb. 8, seeking a contract to scan short-term rentals.s list sites to report any properties that are not registered or do not comply with local resolutions.

“They do a lot of legwork associated with a short-term rental program in the community,” said Red Hook Town Supervisor Robert McKeon, who conducted the initial outreach to Granicus. “We don’t have the technology to track short-term rentals that are in our community.”

Laurel Anderson, vice president of product management for Granicus, said in an emailed statement that because short-term rental regulations vary from city to city, most cities need to analyze manually sites like Airbnb and VRBO to identify short-term rentals, then compare them to a list. of regulated properties to find outliers.

“It’s an extremely long process and that’s why so many people go unregulated for a period of time,” Anderson said.

Rental data profiles update every 72 hours

Granicus said it helps regulate and assist local governments as well as rental hosts – both of whom seek real-time local rental data. Using its software, the company scans rental websites every 72 hours to identify the number of current rentals, their addresses, rental history, where owners are from and the number of nights per year. that the properties are rented.

Data is compiled into a profile on each short-term rental, which can then be viewed by city officials.

“As more and more people consider joining the short-term rental market, many of them are unaware of everything necessary to ensure they comply with government regulations,” Anderson said.

Granicus said it would also help with obtaining permits and registering in the town of Red Hook.

“I was impressed with what they are able to do,” McKeon said. “I could see how this would take a bit of the burden off our already stressed construction department.”

McKeon said the city’s building department is bogged down by additional developments in the area and hiring Granicus would take away any additional pressure.

Other cities have also thought about how to control short-term rentals themselves. For example, Cold Spring Mayor Kathleen Foley said at the village’s monthly board meeting in February that their short-term rental law is “onerous” and “beyond the capacity of our small staff to enforce”. Their law currently identifies the Cold Spring Police Department as the lead enforcer.

If Granicus is hired in Red Hook, anyone operating short-term rentals in town will be required to pay a $250 fee, which will be applied toward funding Granicus’ services.

The company works with other municipalities in the region, whether for the follow-up of short-term rentals or the collection of tourist tax, in particular the City of Milan and the Village of Rhinebeck.

“We thought it was a positive presentation, and it looks like there are benefits for both local government and short-term rental operators,” said McKeon of Granicus. “Everything can be done online, and quite easily. We hope to be able to find a solution that works for both parties. »

The city of Red Hook has yet to make a decision on whether to hire Granicus for some or all of their services, but he suspects a decision within a month or two.

Red Hook landlords operating Airbnbs, some of whom opposed the city’s short-term rental limits at a public meeting in December, must comply with newly passed legislation by June 1.

Comments are closed.