[Updated December 19, 2019]
The short term rental compliance industry has begun to mature as several hundred cities and counties in North America have decided to dedicate a budget towards enforcement, registration, tax discovery and audit, and nuisance complaint management. The biggest challenge of ensuring compliance is most websites do not fully identify the name of the operator/manager and address of the properties offered, until it is booked. Several vendors out there help identify, monitor, and automate outreach efforts to these short term rental operators. However, Harmari STR’s service rises above others for the following reasons:
- Upfront Supporting Evidence: We are the only compliance vendor that guarantees a minimum of 2 supporting evidence screenshots for every non-compliant short term rental. Some vendors provide a “lower tier” list service which does not include proof, which can be very costly to the City in the event of a dispute or litigation. Harmari STR has published its policy: we do not sell a mailing list, we provide an industry-leading identification service.
- Quality Guarantee: We have heard horror stories of vendors providing City staff with half-completed, error-riddled data. Then City staff have to “massage” the data after the fact. This is unacceptable for a professional data-services company. Our identification accuracy guarantee is a minimum of 95% on houses, 75% on condos makes us committed to providing quality work. Return to sender letters, data entry errors, and mis-identifications are too high a risk to the City’s mandate and do more harm than good.
- Incentive to Move the Needle: Beware of competitors that charge a flat rate for every year of a contract, hand-waiving that there is a 100% turnover of new STR listings each year that need to be identified. The reality is that real estate turns over between 10% to 20% in every jurisdiction. Furthermore, our prices are based on the 3 E’s framework of compliance: Establish, Enforce and Endgame. We charge less for Cities that are mostly compliant (70-100%).
- Experience: Our analysts are personally trained at our company’s head-office by Harmari executive and senior analysts regarding the trade-craft of online investigations. Harmari has over 9 years of experience in online investigation into motor vehicle fraud, insurance fraud, property crimes, social network analysis. This skill set directly lends itself to identifying over 100,000 short term rental properties and operators. Competitors have utilized a third-party, crowd-sourcing platform such as Amazon Mechanical Turk to “farm out” the work and then verify the identifications after the fact for an extra charge. We do not outsource our core competency of identifications to a single third-party vendor
- Partnerships – Harmari is partnered with Linebarger Analytics and Information Services, an industry leader in Homestead Exemption Audit, having found hundreds of millions of ineligible HEs for municipalities throughout the US. The key overlapping issue is the definition of “Principal Residence” which impacts both Short Term Rental and Homestead Exemption eligibility requirements. 34 of the top 100 US cities by population have Primary Residence as the key to responsible home-sharing and a sustainable short term rental industry.
- Marketplace coverage: Beware of misleading website coverage claims. 100+ websites, 60+ websites really boils down to 90%+ of the inventory on 4 platforms: Airbnb, Expedia, TripAdvisor, and Booking. Harmari offers a “local organic STR search” that goes beyond the big 4 websites and into websites operated by local Property Managers. Harmari staff search on keywords / phrase combinations related to short term rentals and will go 5 pages deep on each result page to identify organic STR inventory relevant to the jurisdiction. In fact, Harmari has an edit feature which allows us to add mom-and-pop lodging operators on our portal to track them even if they’re not on the big 4 platforms (e.g. hunting and fishing expeditions, ranches, resorts)
If you believe that one of these points resonates with you and you would like to move the needle in your jurisdiction, please drop us a note below!