Feb. 26, 2013 –As the fight to legalize vacation rentals heats up in many prominent cities, rental proponents welcome the presence of the newly formed Short Term Rental Advocacy Center (STRAC). HomeAway, TripAdvisor, Flipkey and Airbnb teamed up to launch this organization in response to requests from users and local policymakers across the country.
“As short-term rentals grow in popularity, some communities are asking questions about how to regulate the industry,” said STRAC spokesman Tim Doyle. “As leaders in the short-term rental marketplace, we want to make sure all stakeholders, but most importantly our customers, have a reliable source of information to contribute to this important discussion.”
The need for this type of combined effort is evidenced by short-term rental bans in Anna Maria, Seal Beach, Austin, parts of New York City, Chicago and many other areas throughout the country. While many members of the Vacation Rental Managers Association (VRMA) have been working individually to fight short-term rental restrictions in their communities and with their peers, a concerted nation-wide effort has been, until now, elusive. The STRAC has potential to be a highly effective clearinghouse for resources to help residents legalize and legitimize vacation rentals in their communities.
“The VRMA is indeed aware of this new group, and fully supports its vital goal of helping communities to fairly define, facilitate and regulate vacation rental hospitality,” said Steve Trover, president of the VRMA. ” This is an ever-important issue that will boost local tourism economies and better promote industry collaboration and integrity. We are currently evaluating how we will be officially involved with the group, but as an industry, we continue to strongly advocate for developing standards that not only benefit vacation rental professionals, but the traveling public and tourism community at large.”
Recently, Airbnb came under fire in New York for allowing illegal vacation rentals to be posted on their site. Local authorities often use these listing sites to identify illegal or non-tax-paying vacation rental owners. This collaboration by Airbnb, Flipkey, HomeAway and TripAdvisor demonstrates their commitment to the long-term sustainability of the short-term rental industry.