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HomeAway home rental program wants problem renters to GoAway

HomeAway’s Stay Neighborly initiative includes a no-tolerance policy for disruptive behavior of short-term home rental owners and travelers. The program pilots in Austin shortly.

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Keeping vacationers in check

The concept is simple enough: With HomeAway you plug in a city, look at the short-term vacation rental properties and book the one you want to stay in. Pay online, arrange with the owner where to find the keys, and off you go.

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Silicon Hills News reports that a pilot program is set to kick off in none other than Austin, entitled “Stay Neighborly” which among other things will help ensure that renters are complying with city ordinances. Of particular interest is a new no-tolerance policy in the plan which identifies owners who don’t want to play nice and follow the rules.

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Big city in a small location

Austin, in case you’ve been living in a fallout shelter and don’t get out much, is about as close to the promised land as you can get without walking on water: not only is Austin fast-eclipsing Seattle, Washington as the start-up capital of the US but as Forbes recently pointed out, “Austin consistently sits atop Forbes’ annual list of the best cities for jobs and scores highly in other demographics rankings.”

Perhaps more importantly, Austin is the “third-fastest-growing city in the nation, attracting not only large numbers of college grads, but also immigrants and families with young children.”

So you can see why there’s a lot of interest in the city of Austin in general and why it is a good location for a short term rental pilot program in particular (and not just because HomeAway is headquartered in the ATX).

The issue at hand

By its own accord, HomeAway says that “the Austin market is, in practical terms, a very small share of the company’s business,” amounting to about 400 properties in Austin out of an estimated 1.3 million rentals nationwide. The issue at hand is that HomeAway properties are considered Type 2 rentals which means that the owners do not live on the premises. What has happened on a handful of occasions is that renters have shown up, partied like it’s 1994 and left. No problem if you’re living on the beach or a secluded area but not the type of thing that you want to have happen in a residential neighborhood with family and white picket fences.

There is a proposal circulating that would eliminate the category of Type 2 rentals altogether. Conversely, if the rental category is upgraded to a Type 1, that means the owners must be on the premises which does lend itself to some kind of crowd-control. But is problematic if the owner lives elsewhere.

The future

How this plays out is anyone’s guess. You can’t argue the fact that home sharing represents an essential economic lifeline to help middle class [Austin] families pay the bills and make ends meet. For its part, Airbnb which also is a home sharing entity is fully backing HomeAway’s efforts. And why not? They stand to lose if the Type 2 category goes away and other cities follow suit.

#HomeAway

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Jane

    February 22, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    “You can’t argue the fact that home sharing represents an essential economic lifeline to help middle class [Austin] families pay the bills and make ends meet.” – are you kidding me? What middle class family do you know that owns multiple homes? By definition if you are an STR 2 owner you are a real estate investor that lives in one home and rents at least one other short term. (It is estimated that folks that operate more than 1 STR 2 make up about 47% of Airbnb’s revenue in Austin. COnsidering HomeAway only rents entire homes it is probably even more of their revenue stream in this town.) Considering the average cost of a home anywhere in ATX I would say the “folks” operating STR 2s are far from middle class and contrary to your point are removing otherwise needed housing stock from actual middle class families living in Austin full time.

  2. Mike Polston

    February 22, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    The middle class use case for home sharing is defined as STR Type 1. STR Type 2 is a pure investment use case, used by investors seeking a better payback they can get from Stocks and Bonds etc. Austin has several investors who own from 3 to 9 properties each. One owns 5 properties and makes $700,000 a year from them in rent. There is a very long list of cities that support Type 1 only use cases. There is a very short list of cities that support Type 1 and Type 2. Austin is on the short list and was put there as an experiment by HomeAway 3 years ago. We are working hard to get Type 2 out of here.

  3. Pingback: Latest Rental Properties News - ELLC Properties Management

  4. Frugal Traveler

    February 23, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    When we signed up with VRBO to find people to stay in our home while we traveled, short-term rentals were hardly noticed by investors. Owners and travelers actually talked to one another, building relationships before making a deal. I think that the huge increase in problem tenants is a result of the shift from personal transactions to Big Business. Investors who rent out a house or apartment purely for profit are unlikely to take the time to learn who they’re renting to. These new business models, which block direct communication with prospective tenants until their money is on the table, makes it very difficult for homeowners like ourselves to stay in the game. @trvlohnthehouse

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Keep your company’s operations lean by following these proven strategies

(BUSINESS) Keeping your operations lean means more than saving money, it means accomplishing more in less time.

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keeping operations lean

The past two years have been challenging, not just economically, but also politically and socially as well. While it would be nice to think that things are looking up, in reality, the problems never end. Taking a minimalist approach to your business, AKA keeping it lean, can help you weather the future to be more successful.

Here are some tips to help you trim the fat without putting profits above people.

Automate processes

Artificial intelligence frees up human resources. AI can manage many routine elements of your business, giving your team time to focus on important tasks that can’t be delegated to machines. This challenges your top performers to function at higher levels, which can only benefit your business.

Consider remote working

Whether you rent or own your property, it’s expensive to keep an office open. As we learned in the pandemic, many jobs can be done just as effectively from home as the workplace. Going remote can save you money, even if you help your team outfit their home office for safety and efficiency.

In today’s world, many are opting to completely shutter office doors, but you may be able to save money by using less space or renting out some of your office space.

Review your systems to find the fat

As your business grows (or downsizes), your systems need to change to fit how you work. Are there places where you can save money? If you’re ordering more, you may be able to ask vendors for discounts. Look for ways to bring down costs.

Talk to your team about where their workflow suffers and find solutions. An annual review through your budget with an eye on saving money can help you find those wasted dollars.

Find the balance

Operating lean doesn’t mean just saving money. It can also mean that you look at your time when deciding to pay for services. The point is to be as efficient as possible with your resources and systems, while maintaining customer service and safety. When you operate in a lean way, it sets your business up for success.

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How to apply to be on a Board of Directors

(BUSINESS) What do you need to think about and explore if you want to apply for a Board of Directors? Here’s a quick rundown of what, why, and when.

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board of directors

What?
What does a Board of Directors do? Investopedia explains “A board of directors (B of D) is an elected group of individuals that represent shareholders. The board is a governing body that typically meets at regular intervals to set policies for corporate management and oversight. Every public company must have a board of directors. Some private and nonprofit organizations also have a board of directors.”

Why?
It is time to have a diverse representation of thoughts, values and insights from intelligently minded people that can give you the intel you need to move forward – as they don’t have quite the same vested interests as you.

We have become the nation that works like a machine. Day in and day out we are consumed by our work (and have easy access to it with our smartphones). We do volunteer and participate in extra-curricular activities, but it’s possible that many of us have never understood or considered joining a Board of Directors. There’s a new wave of Gen Xers and Millennials that have plenty of years of life and work experience + insights that this might be the time to resurrect (or invigorate) interest.

Harvard Business Review shared a great article about identifying the FIVE key areas you would want to consider growing your knowledge if you want to join a board:

1. Financial – You need to be able to speak in numbers.
2. Strategic – You want to be able to speak to how to be strategic even if you know the numbers.
3. Relational – This is where communication is key – understanding what you want to share with others and what they are sharing with you. This is very different than being on the Operational side of things.
4. Role – You must be able to be clear and add value in your time allotted – and know where you especially add value from your skills, experiences and strengths.
5. Cultural – You must contribute the feeling that Executives can come forward to seek advice even if things aren’t going well and create that culture of collaboration.

As Charlotte Valeur, a Danish-born former investment banker who has chaired three international companies and now leads the UK’s Institute of Directors, says, “We need to help new participants from under-represented groups to develop the confidence of working on boards and to come to know that” – while boardroom capital does take effort to build – “this is not rocket science.

When?
NOW! The time is now for all of us to get involved in helping to create a brighter future for organizations and businesses that we care about (including if they are our own business – you may want to create a Board of Directors).

The Harvard Business Review gave great explanations of the need to diversify those that have been on the Boards to continue to strive to better represent our population as a whole. Are you ready to take on this challenge? We need you.

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Business News

Average age of successful startup founders is 45, but stop stereotyping

(BUSINESS) Our culture glorifies (yet condemns?) startup founders as rich 20-somethings in hoodies, but some are a totally different type.

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startup founders average age is 45

There’s a common misconception that startups are riddled with semi-nerdy, 20-something white dudes who do nothing but sip Nitro Brews and walk around the open office showing off the hoodie they wore yesterday. It turns out that it’s extremely rare that startup offices resemble The Social Network.

However, the academic backdrop for the real social network story (AKA Harvard), produced statistics that will serve to put the aforementioned misconception to rest. According to the Harvard Business Review, the average age of people who founded the highest-growth startups is 45. Say what?! A full-fledged adult?!

In fact, aside from the age category of 60 and over, ages 29 and younger were the smallest group of founders that are responsible for heading the highest-growth startups. I guess you can accomplish a lot when you’re not riding around the office on a scooter all day.

The study also found that older entrepreneurs are more likely to succeed. The probability of extreme startup success rises with age, at least until the late 50s. It was found that work experience plays an important role.

Many will argue, “Well, what about someone like Steve Jobs?” You could easily argue right back that it took Jobs until the age of 52 to create Apple’s most profitable product – the iPhone.

The study continues to answer questions like, why do Venture Capitalist investors bet on young founders? This goes back to the misconception at the start, and there’s a notion that youth is the key for successful entrepreneurship. Wrong.

There is also the idea that younger entrepreneurs are likely working with less financial options, so it may be common for them to take something from a VC at a lower price. As a result, they could be viewed as more of a bargain than older founders.

“The next step for researchers is to explore what exactly explains the advantage of middle-aged founders,” writes Pierre Azoulay, et al. “For example, is it due to greater access to financial resources, deeper social networks, or certain forms of experience? In the meantime, it appears that advancing age is a powerful feature, not a bug, for starting the most successful firms.”

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