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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.

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

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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
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Felony Charges against Aaron Elinoff Dismissed in Court

On December 12th, Westword published an article sharing the news that a Denver judge has exonerated Aaron Elinoff by dismissing the felony charges claiming that he was trying to cheat the system with his short-term rental license.

While some City Representatives applaud the use of the affidavit as a means of enforcement, we can see the potential havoc it can cause in an individual’s life as well. If the city’s goal is to have fewer short-term rentals, then the affidavit is successfully accomplishing this. On the other hand, if the city is looking for harmony and supports this community, then a focus on solutions to address the problems would seem like a more diplomatic approach.

We are happy to see Elinoff’s name be cleared and so he can get back to life with his family and focus on work. It makes us wonder how many rule-abiding hosts forfeited their license out of fear of having their reputation damaged and mugshot blasted globally?

Photo: Aaron Elinoff had been fighting against a felony charge related to his short term rental application / Courtesy of Aaron Elinoff

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December 2019 Denver STRAC Meeting Recap

The December 10th STRAC meeting reflected a significantly more positive and collaborative tone towards home-sharing. The Good Neighbor Summit made it into the news headline summary slide, and several members of STRAC & Denver City acknowledged that Denver has a highly engaged and solution-oriented host community. Councilwoman Amanda Sawyer (Dist. 5) was there alongside Councilwoman Candi Cdebaca (Dist. 9) who sat in for Councilman Kevin Flynn.

The proposed regulation to limit short-term rentals to 183 days per year was taken off the table, but more proposals to further clarify primary residence are still coming. The session ended with several well delivered public comments that even further portrayed the positive and collaborative culture we are building here in Denver.

Did you want to share something during Public Comment or in response to something that was presented? If so you can submit your comments here: STR@denvergov.org and CC milehighhosts@gmail.com so we can track hosts’ comments. Use “STRAC Public Comment” as the email subject line.

Join us at the next STRAC meeting at 4PM on Tuesday, February 11th at Webb Building at 201 W Colfax Ave. Rooms 4.F.6 and 4.G

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Effortless Co-Hosts Denver’s Good Neighbor Summit

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Effortless Rental Group Partners with NoiseAware

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Proposed Changes in Denver Short-Term Rental Regulations

Earlier this month, Excise and Licenses (EXL) presented a draft of proposed changes to Denver’s STR ordinance. Aside from a couple of perfunctory changes, the main revisions involve primary residence requirements. The most contentious update is changing the definition of primary residence to “the place in which a person’s habitation is fixed and is the person’s usual place of return”.

EXL also has proposed striking the “two documents” requirement section (motor vehicle registration, utility bill, voter registration, etc) to prove primary residence and replacing it with what some have referred to as the ‘seven standards.’ EXL would be able to use these seven standards to determine primary residence, either at the time of application or in a hearing.

Many hosts feel these revisions infringe upon property rights, are difficult to enforce and are an overreach of EXL’s powers. MHH recommends reviewing the draft document, in particular, the ‘seven standards’ (Sec 33-53, Issuance or Denial) to better understand how these changes could impact your ability to continue hosting.

Proposed Seven Standards:

(1) Whether the applicant has or claims any other location for domestic, legal, billing, voting, or licensing purposes;

(2) Whether and how often the applicant returns to the short-term rental or resides at any other location within a calendar year;

(3) Whether the address listed on an applicant’s legal documents or tax assessment records is different than the address of the short-term rental;

(4) An applicant’s business pursuits, employment, income sources, residence for income or other tax purposes, leaseholds, situs of personal and real property, and motor vehicle registration;

(5)The number of days that the short-term rental has been, or will be, rented within the calendar year;

(6) Whether the applicant is actively deployed in the United States military; or

(7) Any other relevant information.

The draft document can be viewed at bit.ly/STR2020draft1

The hosting community feels that there is an overreach of power with how regulations are currently being enforced.  License holders with no filed complaints are being followed and photographed, neighbors are being questioned and affidavits sent to compliant hosts.  Investigations into people’s personal lives is a drain of the city’s resources.

The next STRAC meeting is on Tues, Feb 11 at 4pm and your presence and/or public comment regarding the draft document would be greatly appreciated.

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Short-Term Management Strategies: Considering Your Options

Managing a short-term rental property is a lot of work to do on your own. From booking to cleaning to troubleshooting issues with guests, it’s nice to have some help along the way. Many homeowners are now deciding to partner with a rental management company.

But the decisions don’t end there—when choosing between rental companies, you have a lot of options. It’s important to look at each company’s strategy and consider what that means for you, your property, and your guests. We’ve outlined the three main rental management strategies below.

 

FIXED

Best for: homeowners who want consistent monthly income.

The fixed strategy allows the rental company to promise the homeowner a certain amount of revenue per month, no matter the number of bookings that month. The rental company pays you this set amount, then takes the rest. This means that you’ll make the same amount in the slower off-season as you will during more popular months. Overall, homeowners don’t maximize their monthly revenue with this strategy because they don’t receive the benefits of major spikes during the on-season. The scope of services provided by rental companies using the fixed strategy varies, but in general it is not comprehensive. The homeowner is often required to take care of services like guest correspondence and solving problems during a guest’s stay.

COMMISSION

Best for: homeowners who want their monthly revenue to reflect booking trends.

The commission-based strategy involves the rental company taking a certain percentage of every booking. This amount depends on the company and location, but typically falls between 20-50%. Using this strategy, the rental company and the homeowner experience highs and lows as a team. When there are more bookings for a certain month, everyone benefits. If you decide to go with a rental company that utilizes this strategy, it’s likely that a greater range of services will be covered than with the fixed strategy. However, you may still be expected to coordinate services such as cleaning, maintenance, and restocking the property between bookings.

TURNKEY

Best for: homeowners who want to maximize their revenue and minimize their workload.

The turnkey strategy is for homeowners who want their rental company to handle all of the tasks that come with maintaining a short-term rental property. Sometimes used in conjunction with the commission-based strategy, the turnkey approach covers all aspects of a booking, from answering initial inquiries to check-in to troubleshooting to turnover. Many homeowners who live out of state or frequently travel abroad choose this method while they’re away. Others live down the street and want a more hands-off approach to hosting. Although this strategy can be more expensive, the additional monthly revenue gained and the peace of mind that everything is covered makes it well worth it.


We handle every detail of your rental so you don’t have to. Click here to see the full list of services offered by Effortless Rental Group.

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How to Make Your Listing Stand Out and Earn More 5-Star Reviews

The short-term rental industry is booming worldwide, and Colorado homeowners are enjoying the profits. Airbnb hosts in Colorado made $183 million in 2017 alone, a 68% increase from the year before, according to The Denver Post’s recent article.

More properties are listed on Airbnb and other popular rental sites like HomeAway and VRBO every day. But with more properties comes more competition, which makes it crucial that your home stands out. Take a look at our list of amenities to add to your home to make your listing shine and enhance your guests’ experience—meaning more 5-star reviews for you.

 

1. Recreational items appropriate to your area

If you live across the street from a park, include some Frisbees or a croquet set in your home. If you’re close to a river, kayaks or inner tubes are great additions. Guests will choose your property over others because of nearby sites and attractions, and will appreciate that they don’t have to buy or rent equipment to enjoy these areas.

2. Modes of transportation (or information about how to get around)

Many of your guests will arrive without a car, especially if your home is in an urban area. Having bikes on hand will allow your guests to easily roam. Cheap bikes from Walmart or Target will do the job. If you can’t buy bikes, at least provide some details about how to get around in your area. Check out our article on exploring Denver without a car for some ideas.

3. A stocked kitchen

This goes beyond simply having dishes and utensils. Make sure that your kitchen is stocked with other essentials like olive oil, spices, and balsamic vinegar. Add a box of pasta and your guests will have everything to make a quick meal—especially useful for those who arrive late at night. If there’s a food item that’s local to your area, it’s a nice touch to include that, as well.

4. Ways to access attractions nearby

To go above and beyond, leave some tickets or passes that allow your guests to visit spots in your area for free. This could simply be a library card for renting books and DVDs, or something a bit more extravagant like free tickets to a museum or an access card for a rec center. This is a great way to use the free guest passes that come with many monthly memberships.

 

If you have any of the above amenities in your rental property, be sure to list them in your property listing. These items will not only attract prospective guests, but will also make their stay in your home the best it can be (great for them) and inspire them to write you a 5-star review (great for you). You’ll have that Superhost rating in no time.

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The 7 Biggest Mistakes Short-Term Hosts Make

It takes practice to be a successful short-term host, from creating eye-catching property listings and making the most of your space, to interacting with guests from booking to check-out. Take a look at our list below for some common mistakes made by hosts, especially those just starting out in the short-term rental world. With some experience, you’ll be on your way to stellar host status in no time.

#1. Having limited ability.

Many first-time hosts devote only part of the day, like before leaving for work, to addressing guests’ issues, questions, or requests. But a maintenance problem or other issue can happen anytime, day or night, and delays in responding to these requests (especially in cases of emergency, like a pipe bursting or roof leaking) can lead to a bad review and potentially a dangerous situation. Guest Experience Coordinators at ERG are available 24/7 to help address anything that comes up during your guests’ stay. Whether a guest reaches out about needing fresh towels or something more serious, we respond quickly to get things back on track.

#2. Not optimizing your space.

You don’t need a lot of space, but you should efficiently use the space that you do have. Make use of spare rooms and empty areas by giving them a purpose: install drawers in the space under the stairs for more storage, or turn the corner of the living room into a cozy reading nook. Have a large backyard that goes mostly unused? Get some benches and turn part of it into a fire pit area. Small touches like these will make your listing stand out from the rest, which will get you more views, bookings, and positive reviews.

#3. Representing your property incorrectly.

Your listing is the key to attracting guests, so it’s important that you optimize it to include relevant descriptions about your home and high-quality photographs that feature its best qualities. Try to showcase the details that make your home unique, like a deck with skyline views or a game room in the basement that’s perfect for entertaining. One of the benefits of a partnership with ERG is a fully optimized property listing. Our professional photographers, interior designers, and writers are dedicated to presenting your home at its best.

#4. Not keeping up to date with local regulations.

This common oversight can cost you in the long run. Cities change their regulations for short-term rentals all the time, and it’s important to stay updated—or risk a steep fine and possibly your ability to rent in the future. Your city should have a short-term rental page on its government website with all of the info you need to apply for permits and learn about guest allowances, taxes, and more. Pay close attention to the information your city requires you to post on your listing, like your Business File Number (BFN), to remain a valid host.

#5. Underpricing or overpricing your property.

Most hosts on short-term rental platforms like Airbnb and VRBO are incorrectly setting their nightly prices, and therefore sacrificing number of bookings, monthly revenue, or both. It can be tricky to correctly price your property while taking into account important variables like local events, hotel occupancies, and travel trends. ERG’s analytical pricing matrix considers these and many other variables to set rates that get you more bookings over multiple platforms, including our own exclusive platforms. We use a flexible pricing approach—not a static one—so the prices we set change based on day of the week, seasonality, weather conditions, and more.

#6. Not understanding the ups and downs of short-term rentals.

Every investment property makes more money during certain times of the year and less during others. Maybe there’s a summer festival in your town that attracts a lot of travelers, and the rest of the year is relatively quiet. Or if your home is in a region that sees sunny skies only a few months of the year, you’re likely to have a surge of guests at that time. It’s important to recognize that these fluctuations are normal and not get discouraged. Focus on ways to attract guests in the slower months, like a lesser-known event nearby or renovation projects that will make your home stand out year-round.

#7. Cleaning and maintenance slip-ups.

Two of the main reasons for negative reviews are oversights in the cleanliness of the property and delay or failure to fix something that’s broken. It’s crucial that you have cleaning and maintenance experts who you can trust to prepare your property before every booking. ERG’s professional cleaning company keeps your property looking immaculate after every check-out. If any repairs are needed, our maintenance team resolves the issue quickly and efficiently. We make sure that everything is in pristine condition when your guests arrive—every single time.

A partnership with Effortless Rental Group means 24/7 support by our team of short term rental management experts who are dedicated to your success. We’d love to help you navigate these and other common experiences of first-time hosts.