The First Tools of the New VRMA Advocacy Toolkit

    Short-term rental regulations continue to spread across the U.S. from the smallest town to largest state. There will never be a one-size-fits-all method to fighting restrictive regulations. However, uniform strategy and tools can be built to help you. The VRMA is dedicated to helping members work with policy makers to fight off burdensome rules that can greatly restrict the rental of properties you manage. The first half of 2016 we began planning a more comprehensive approach to fighting off restrictive regulations nationwide. We are excited to share with you the first components of the toolkit.

    Local and State Issue Tracking
    Issue tracking was identified as one of the largest needs for the VRMA. All too often short-term rental regulations show up on local government agendas the week before they are going to be discussed. In some cases it is hard to even identify that there will be a discussion on short-term rentals. It may be a discussion on occupancy taxes or a zoning ordinance change.

    The issue tracking tools will allow members to view both state and local issues that may affect their business. The state tracker allows members to view issues sorted by state. The states with proposed regulations will be highlighted. Select your state and you will be taken to the title of the bill. Each issue will provide you with a link to the text of the proposal, bill sponsorship information and where it is at in the legislative process. 

    The second tracking tool, our local issues tracker, is a spreadsheet that displays short descriptions of issues before planning commissions, county boards and local legislative bodies. The issues are separated by state and community. This type of tracking is more difficult and it is impossible to ensure 100 percent coverage across the country. You can help us make this list more complete by notifying us of missing issues.

    These tools can be accessed from the advocacy page on the VRMA website. You must log into your membership account in order to access the information. Once logged in it will appear in the menu on the left hand side. 

    Action Alerts
    The other major development in the advocacy toolkit is the implementation of an action alert and public official communication tool. The VRMA is now able to issue alerts to members and others interested in our regulatory battle. These alerts also access a communication tool that allows individuals to send letters to elected officials.

    This tool has been used in several larger communities and states to ask public officials to support proposed bills, develop amendments to proposed ordinances and to fight outright bans. Our first interactive alert was used in Denver to fight its proposal that would ban secondary home rentals. The alert produced over 1,000 combined emails to the Denver City Council and mayor.

    These alerts are currently sent to email addresses that are listed as part of your membership and based on the location of where the issue is at. You can have others sign up to receive alerts as well by visiting the advocacy page and clicking on the “sign up today” button on the right side of the page. You can also participate in active alerts by selecting the “Advocacy Center” link in the menu of the advocacy page or by visiting http://www.vrma.com/advocacy-center.

    More to Come
    In the coming months we will be unveiling more tools to help you fight off burdensome regulations. Watch for updates through my blog posts on the first Thursday of each month. In the meantime keep me updated on state and local regulatory issues affecting you and respond to action alerts if you receive them. Together we can communicate with a more uniform message and demonstrate that professional managers are not the problem regulators are trying to combat.

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