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Contract approved for online monitoring of short-term rentals

By Kevin Boneske
Staff Writer

The Green Bay Area Room Tax Commission has announced the signing of a 12-month contract with Bear Cloud Software/STR Helper to provide services to local municipalities for online identification and monitoring of short-term rental housing in the area.

These residential rentals, which are sometimes known as party houses, can include houses listed for rent on websites such as AirBNB or VRBO.

Oversight of short-term residential rentals, such as in close proximity to Lambeau Field, has become a concern following a change included last year in the biennial state budget, after which municipalities can no longer outright prohibit such rentals of more than seven days.

According to the minutes of the room tax commission’s May 16 meeting, the Greater Green Bay Lodging Association agreed to fund the $10,500 for the STR Helper monitoring in the first 12 months through the room tax commission.
Bear Cloud Software, based in Austin, Texas, is providing the system for identifying local short-term rentals to assist municipalities in the permitting and compliance process, such as for licensing, health inspections and the collection of room tax as required by local ordinances.

“I am pleased the commission is able to partner with STR Helper to assist in managing this reporting and compliance process within the community,” said Jason Hager, room tax commission chairman. “Our main concern is for the safety of all our visitors to the area. These ordinances and permitting processes need to be followed. As a room tax commission, we also want to ensure that reporting and tax collection requirements are being followed with any potential short-term rental property.”

The room tax commission, which is comprised of members from various municipalities and the lodging association in the Green Bay area, has sought to better identify short-term residential rentals going on in the area following the change in state law.

Ashwaubenon Community Development Director Aaron Schuette noted the village had a conditional use permit requirement in place for short-term rentals before the change in state law, but now it has become like the “wild, wild west” to be able to identify them.

Schuette said the STR Helper will be able to gather information online to generate reports for the village as to where the short-term residential rentals are taking place to help determine whether those rentals are complying with local ordinances.

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