Barefoot Technologies Blog- Vacation Rental Industry News

CAST Delays Crackdown on Illegal Vacation Rentals

Posted by Adam Zippin on Feb 9, 2011 5:15:00 AM

The reports that the Colorado Association of Ski Towns (CAST) has delayed their plans for cracking down on vacation rental owners who aren’t paying lodging taxes or paying necessary business license fees.

Vacation Rental Software

The reason for the delay is because HomeAway has threatened to take legal action against CAST if they begin using a newly developed software program to gather information from online vacation rental advertisements, and then cross-referencing that information with town records to find people illegally listing their property as rentals.

HomeAway believes the new software program violates their ‘Terms of Use’ by “scraping” personal information from the HomeAway websites. However, Eye Street Solutions, the software company that developed the program, says their technology is legal – tracking Internet sites in the same fashion Google does.

CAST have now asked Eye Street Solutions to come up with indemnification language for all the contracts signed between the towns and Eye Street. Once this is complete, the project will be back on.

We all hear that towns and government agencies have begun tracking down owners committing fraud in an effort to find new revenue. I am confident that HomeAway is not interested in protecting criminal action and will work something out with authorities. Which puts VRBO owners on notice. In addition, Barefoot recently posted a change in the IRS wording for those that have to file Form 1099.  Anyone that provides a rental must provide a filled out a 1099 for any service provider who received $600 or more. Barefoot believes the VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner) model will survive but these items are just additional reasons for Owners to work with professionally managed companies. And the smart property management companies have to embrace owner’s desire to promote their own properties.