5 reasons to hire a local contact for your vacation rental
The fine print in new STR regulations could put homeowners at consistent risk of noncompliance
ManageHome co-founders Meghan Stokes and Steven Klei, who each have been local residents for more than 30 years, started the business to help do-it-yourself vacation homeowners become compliant with new short-term rental (STR) regulations. ManageHome is a Truckee-based business that provides step-by-step guidance through the STR permitting process. It also provides services required under the new regulations, including serving as a homeowner’s local contact starting at just $29 per month.
Sometimes a middle-of-the-night complaint at a short-term rental property can’t be properly — or legally — dealt with over the phone. When that happens, you need to be able to get to your property quickly.
New short-term rental regulations that took effect in Placer County earlier this year, and go into effect in the Town of Truckee Jan. 1, 2021, require all permitted STRs to have a local contact. This person needs to be a reliable contact, available 24/7, who can promptly deal with various complaints or permit violations at their vacation rentals and, depending on the situation, be physically present within 60 minutes or less.
“There are a lot of different components to consider — first and foremost – if you are not local how are you going to respond on site when necessary? What about the non urgent issues like fire inspections? Do you have the time and if you are not local then the question is who is going to take on this responsibility?” points out Steven Klei, co-founder of ManageHome, a new business that assists STR owners with every step of permit compliance in both the Town of Truckee and Placer County.
Here are 5 reasons you need a local contact if you want peace of mind about your STR permit compliance.
- Having a local contact person is a requirement.
Having a local contact person is a requirement. If your local contact is not reliable or they are not actually located within 30 to 60 minutes of the STR risk significant fines and the loss of their permit when violations occur.
“If a neighbor calls to complain and Placer County is notified and they can’t get ahold of the specified local contact first, they’re going to call the sheriff,” said Meghan Stokes, co-founder of ManageHome. “If the sheriff is called, a fine will almost certainly be issued.”
Fines are as high as $500 per day for each violation, and up to $1,000 per day for subsequent violations. Permits also risk being terminated for one year after multiple violations.
- Eliminate personal burden
During peak season when rentals can be booked back-to-back, do you want to risk getting woken up in the middle of the night, do you have the vendor network to help comply with the requirements of fire, safety and nuisance?
“What you’re buying with our services is some of your own time back,” Klei said. “It’s not just the noise and the garbage in the middle of night nuisances you have to worry about, it’s all the other things that are required for you to be compliant.”
That includes the initial self certifications, fire department inspections, defensible space requirements, bear bins for garbage, etc for which a local presence is a must.
“And, while we’re focused on being that local contact for our clients to respond to urgent violations and nuisance complaints, we can also take care of the other non urgent issues as part of the broader level of services we’re providing,” Klei said. “We help you when there’s an urgent issue, we help you get compliant and we help you stay compliant. In order to accomplish this, there’s normally work that needs to be done. We will coordinate all of that work on site, make sure there’s qualified vendors working on your behalf, and provide these ongoing inspections.”
- Nuances in the fine print
In Placer County, the contact must be personally available by phone 24/7, while also maintaining the ability to be on-site within 30 to 60 minutes. In the Town of Truckee, homeowners can list themselves as the local contact, attempting to deal with violations over the phone, but once there’s a violation, that changes and the local contact has to be physically at the property in 60 minutes.
“There are many reasons that a local contact might be called to deal with a non urgent problem and it is not just middle of the night issues,” Stokes said. “There are a lot of variables within these regulations.”
- You don’t use a property management company
Property management companies, which collect as much as 25% to 40% of an STR’s rental fees, will generally provide permit compliance oversight and serve as a local contact, but homeowners who have chosen a DIY approach to their rental can look to a specialized firm like ManageHome for this service.
“We’re trying to help people who market and manage their homes by themselves through Airbnb or VRBO understand and comply with these short-term rental regulations for a reasonable cost,” Klei said.
- You haven’t anticipated the problems that could arise
Guests might build a firepit in the backyard or use the STR as an event venue, both of which are not allowed. When a neighbor calls to complain to the county or the town, that compliance clock starts ticking for the local contact person to resolve the issue.
“There are many items the local contact could be asked to deal with,” Stokes said.
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