Catherine Geanuracos
May 24, 2021

Does digitizing Short Term Rental registration help governments increase compliance, revenue, and transparency?

On May 21, 2021 CityGrows hosted a webinar for local governments on the complexities of short term rental regulation, and the benefits of digitizing the registration process when communities do begin to regulate and derive revenue from short term rentals.

Here's a quick summary of the webinar content:

COVID has changed the short term rental landscape in the United States. In the last 18 months short term rental utilization patterns changed dramatically:

  • Urban regions saw significant declines in short term rental utilization
  • Suburban and rural regions saw large increases in short term rental usage, especially in the northeast and west
  • Average length of stay increased dramatically with many STR guests staying multiple weeks or months
  • More guests chose rentals within driving distance of home
  • In some regions there was a complete shutdown of all hospitality/ short term rentals when COVID rates spiked

Overall, short term rentals were far less impacted relative to hotels, and continued to generate revenue for communities that had regulations and taxation in place. Get more detailed data here.

The webinar featured six snapshots of Short Term Rental regulations and impacts:

We reviewed some of the reasons that governments regulate short term rentals:

  • Ensure guest safety
  • Generate revenue
  • Preserve neighborhood “character”
  • Promote individual and discourage corporate or multi-unit “hosts”
  • Prevent nuisance
  • Promote affordability of housing / prevent gentrification

We reviewed how short term rental registration works on CityGrows and shared a link to a sample workflow. Feel free to check it out!

Positive impact of digitizing STR permits:

  • Increase host compliance
  • Reduce staff time required to approve permits
  • Reduce total time to approve permits
  • Confirm acceptance of COVID safety guidelines
  • Open lines of communication with hosts
  • Automatic transparency for neighbors
  • Improved accessibility 

Photo by Antonina Bukowska on Unsplash


Catherine Geanuracos

Catherine is the CEO and a Co-Founder of CityGrows. She's dedicated to supporting local governments and helping them improve outcomes for their residents and staff members. She is a former VP of the City of Los Angeles Innovation and Performance Commission and co-founder of LA's Code for America Brigade Hack for LA. She's based in Los Angeles.

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