Category : Rules & Regulations

The Good Neighbors at Effortless Rental Group

Navigating the world of short-term rental regulation and professional management is over overwhelming — trust us, we get it — this is our passion and there are a lot of changes to keep up with, especially during these COVID-times.  

Mackenzie Miller, a Denver based designer and creator of Grow Positive Thoughts reached out to feature Effortless Rental Group on her blog, which is a beautiful collection of topics such as local community, style, environmental sustainability, and culture.

It’s important to know your options when it comes to Airbnb management as trust, confidence, and performance are top priorities to homeowners and guests. In her piece, Miller tells the story of how Effortless Rental Group got started and how the company has grown to value our team and it’s role in the community.

“Our team is proud to be with us. We have a familial vibe. It’s a fun, relaxed culture. The company plays music on a speaker in the office, has dogs at work, takes team outings, and hosts potlucks on the regular.”

To learn more about Effortless Rental Group and it’s involvement on an advocacy level, read the entire Grow Positive Thought’s post here, as it highlights many of the company’s host education processes and standards for the short-term rental industry. If you would like to receive more Denver short-term rental industry news, be sure to sign up for the Mile High Hosts Newsletter.

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We hope you enjoy reading our story.  Make sure to follow Grow Positive Thoughts to read more positive stories happening in our vibrant community.

 

Community Outreach – April 2020

Make Your Voice Heard:

3 Ways to Make Your Voice Heard and show how short-term rentals help support our families, jobs, local neighborhood businesses, and the City’s growth.

#1) Attend and speak at the next STRAC meeting:  

There are opportunities for public comment at these meetings and it is important for your voice to be heard.  We will be monitoring how STRAC will be accomodating public comment in the COVID environment and will share what we learn.

Upcoming STRAC (Short-Term Rental Advisory Committee) Meetings:

  • The April STRAC meeting has been canceled
  • Tuesday, June 9
  • Tuesday, August 11
  • Tuesday, October 13
  • Tuesday, December 8

#2) Speak at City Council Meetings:

Denver City Council meetings take place twice a month on the first and third Monday.  Each speaker gets three minutes to speak. All details can be found here.  If you are interested in learning more and getting involved please email milehighhosts@gmail.com. The Denver City Council is making decisions week by week during the COVID crises on whether to allow public comment, so please refer to their web page for that information.

#3) Schedule Coffee with your City Council Member:

Email milehighhosts@gmail.com and we will help you schedule a 1:1 appointment with your city council member.  They are happy to meet with you as this is part of their responsibility as representatives of us all. These meetings can be via phone or virtual meetings (e.g. Zoom, Facetime, etc).

Airbnb Listing Updates – Dos & Don’ts 2020

Airbnb posted an article titled, “It’s a good time to update your listing with these tips” about hosting local and extended stays and some warning about accuracy within the listing.  You can read the full article here.

Eric Moeller summarizes the guidelines below:

DO: Revise your listing title to mention that your space is great for a staycation, as a work-from-home alternative, or for families.

DON’T: Promote your space as “COVID-free” or “quarantine-friendly.” In fact, we’re requiring that hosts remove any mention of “COVID-19,” “the coronavirus,” or “quarantine” in their listing title.

DO: Highlight your enhanced cleaning routine in your listing description. While we won’t allow you to claim that your listing is coronavirus-free, you can share details about your cleaning methods. (Example: “Due to the coronavirus, we’re taking extra care to disinfect frequently touched surfaces between reservations.”)

DON’T: Use shortages of hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and other essentials as a way to entice guests. (Example: “Escape the coronavirus! Plenty of toilet paper here!”)

Mile High Hosts & COVID Resources

The Mile High Host community is made up of a wide variety of individuals, from a host renting a room in their house to Realtors wanting to keep up on the latest short-term rental regulations and property managers managing numerous properties throughout the city.  We want to provide resources to help you navigate these rapidly changing times.

Coronavirus Survival Kit for STR Hosts: 

Industry experts, Jasper Ribbers and Eric Moeller have put together a tool kit for individuals hosts.  They gathered tips, tricks, tools and resources to save you time and help your STR business survive.

The kit is designed to help you:

  • Survive and thrive through this crisis
  • Maintain occupancy
  • Stay in business
  • Prepare for the opportunities that will come

This kit is only $7 to download and jam-packed with helpful information and resources.

VRMA COVID-19 Resources:

While VRMA is an organization geared toward the professional short-term rental property manager, they have compiled helpful information and resources to navigate the uncertain time ahead.

Click here to view the massive list of resources they’ve compiled.

Support Local:

When all else fails and you need to blow off some steam, keep in mind that you can support your local restaurants and order cocktails to go.  Westword put together a piece highlighting which restaurants are serving craft cocktails to go. One trend that has emerged from this pandemic is the proliferation of virtual happy hours — we truly are a species that thrives off of human connection.  Cheers!

Here are a handful of additional articles and local resources:

New STR Ordinance Language Update

Before the COVID-19 consumed our thoughts and inboxes, our community had a mission to ensure the newly proposed short-term rental ordinance language did not negatively impact the hosting community.  Many of you wrote or had face-to-face meetings with your city councilmembers and some spoke publicly at the Biz Committee meeting on March 11th.  Many expressed their concerns with the new language, specifically about “fixed habitation” and the potential of license denial based on the number of days that the short-term rental has been, or will be, rented within the calendar year.

During the Biz meeting on the 11th, Excise and Licenses (EXL) presented the new language to a sub-committee of city councilmembers and fielded many questions.  What came as a pleasant surprise to many of us attending the meeting, was what EXL confirmed with members of city council. Ashley Kilroy, the Director of EXL, said that they would not be denying a license based on lifestyle or frequency of travel — this is something we have seen as the reason for license denial or investigation in the past.  While it looks likely that this ordinance language will pass, we are optimistic that our community has made its voice heard, bringing to the attention of the City Council and the Director that we are gravely concerned about how this language will potentially shut down good hosts.

Airbnb’s Brian Chesky – “We want to fix this.”

Image: Yahoo Finance

On the afternoon of March 30th, the CEO of Airbnb, Brian Chesky, conducted a live stream for the hosting community.  Here is a summary of what Brian said:

  • Travel is at an all-time low
  • Recognition and apology that Airbnb has drifted from the host-focus it was created on
  • COVID-19 cancellation policy was set for the sake of public health. He apologizes for not consulting hosts (violation of partnership)

Actions going forward:

  • Extenuating circumstance policy – established a $250 million fund to pay hosts 25% of canceled booking. Retroactive to March 14. Cancellations before March 14 will be based on host cancellation policy
  • Establishment of $5000 grants for Superhosts and Experience Leaders up to a total of $10 million coming early April
  • Previous guests will be able to send messages and donations directly to hosts. Expected effective date: early April
  • For USA hosts only: COVID-19 stimulus bill allows Airbnb hosts to be eligible for SBA loans and grants, as well as unemployment benefits

You can view the message and read the details here.

Senate & House Pass CARES Act

The CARES Act passed the Senate and House last week providing relief to businesses across the U.S. This bill has provisions specifically targeting affected businesses in the tourism industry. These provisions will be available through grants at the state and local level. Advocating on behalf of the Short-Term Rental Industry is extremely important during this economic crisis.

This legislation provides direct cash payments of as much as $1,200 for individual taxpayers, and $500 per child, phased out when incomes exceed $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for couples filing jointly. This also dramatically expands unemployment insurance benefits and provides an additional $600 per week for those receiving unemployment benefits. The bill provides $349 billion dollars in much-needed, low-interest, small business loans that could be partially forgiven to help businesses maintain payroll and avoid laying off workers. It also directs billions of dollars toward hospitals and other health care providers on the frontlines of this pandemic, in part to help them purchase additional life-saving protective equipment.

VRMA has provided a high-level overview and breakdown of this bill, which you can read here.

Denver STRAC Meetings – Make Your Voice Heard!

Photo by Miguel Henriques on Unsplash

3 Ways to Make Your Voice Heard and show how short-term rentals help support our families, jobs, local neighborhood businesses, and the City’s growth.

#1) Attend and speak at the next STRAC meeting:  
There are opportunities for public comment at these meetings and it is important for your voice to be heard.

Upcoming STRAC (Short-Term Rental Advisory Committee) Meetings:

  • Tuesday, April 14
  • Tuesday, June 9
  • Tuesday, August 11
  • Tuesday, October 13
  • Tuesday, December 8

#2) Speak at City Council Meetings:
Denver City Council meetings take place twice a month on the first and third Monday.  Each speaker gets 3 minutes to speak.  All details can be found here.  If you are interested in learning more and getting involved please email milehighhosts@gmail.com.

#3) Schedule Coffee with your City Council Member:
Email milehighhosts@gmail.com and we will help you schedule a 1:1 appointment with your city council member.  They are happy to meet with you as this is part of their responsibility as representatives of us all.

Airbnb Bans House Parties

Photo by The Creative Exchange on Unsplash

A Step in the Right Direction

Since conception in 2008, Airbnb properties have taken on many shapes and sizes, from renting an air mattress on a living room floor to full homes that can sleep large groups. More recently the talk of the town has been ‘party houses’, which have unfortunately been the scene of open-invite parties and gun violence.

In response to these recent events, including deadly shootings in other cities, Airbnb announced at the end of last year that they would be banning party houses including parties in condos and apartments. Airbnb has created a Neighborhood Support site with contact info to report parties or disturbances: https://www.airbnb.com/neighbors. Additionally, Airbnb says it’s opening a dedicated hotline for mayors and city officials. We are eager to see these steps taken in order to protect not only our guests and hosting community, but our city at large.

Short-Term Rental Concerns & Complaints – Developing an Effective System

Photo by rawpixel.com from PxHere

Functional Complaints for a Functional System!

Before changes to the current definition of primary residence are put into place, why not focus on creating a system to service concerns and complaints effectively? The current system is broken.

When a neighbor calls 311 to file a complaint, it’s logged but isn’t communicated to the license holder, host or property manager. Imagine a world where a host recieves a text notification and email when a complaint is filed against their property. The host could immediately address the issue and make adjustments to the house rules/quiet hours, etc. If the issue is noise levels, they could install a decibel reader system like NoiseAware or Minut to send a notification when noise levels surpass the set threshold. This technology should be mandatory.

Complaints in 2019 equated to less than .01 percent of total reservations that took place in Denver.

 

The complaint system could be streamlined for the benefit of all parties:

  • Formal Complaint System (with direct notification to host/property manager)
  • 3 strike policy (loss of license for 6 months)
  • Noise Monitoring Device – mandatory
  • Require upgraded, larger trash bins
  • Designated Parking