Software platform will aid with enforcement of updated STR codes

information released

On Nov. 28, the Board of County Commissioners approved a contract with Deckard Technologies, Inc., of San Diego, which provides advanced data analytics for real estate through its patented software platform.

“In addition to having a fully staffed Code Enforcement Team in the Sheriff’s Office, we now have a monitoring-and-enforcement contract with Deckard,” said Deanna Walter, director of Community Development. “Short-term rental owners have the right to use their property, but neighbors also have the right to enjoy theirs. Strict application of the adopted regulations, including enforcement, is a win-win for everybody.”

In August 2021, Chelan County commissioners passed a new code establishing operating standards for the short-term rental industry, which has seen rapid growth locally in most recent years. In the past, Walter has said that hiring an outside consultant to monitor the short-term rental industry was a priority for the department.

Under the contract, Deckard will compile a list of current and active short-term rentals in Chelan County’s unincorporated areas by monitoring all platforms across the globe that are used by short-term rental owners. Common platforms include VRBO, Airbnb and Guesty. Deckard will provide information such as booking trends, average daily rates, revenues generated from actively listed bookings and the number of nights booked per reservation.

The new software platform also will provide a 24-hour dispatch service for complaint calls as well as a public-facing portal on the county website that will list permitted short-term rental properties in the unincorporated areas of Chelan County.

“Currently, the majority of our STR violations are occurring on the weekends, which makes sense; however, we have limited resources to be able to respond after hours and on the weekends,” Walter said. “Deckard has joined our efforts to monitor hundreds of rental platforms, both foreign and domestic, and they also will be our streamlined, 24/7 reporting outlet. The company will actively document and reach out to owners – even after hours – for complaint and violation resolutions. This will increase our efficiencies and bring to life the enforcement commitment we made at the onset of these regulations.”

Short-term rental owners who are found to be noncompliant will need to either immediately comply with their permit requirements or cease operation until a permit can be obtained, if that zip code is not already over capacity. (Tier 2 and Tier 3 permits have an annual application window, whereas Tier 1 short-term rentals can apply at any time.)

“With this new monitoring, short-term rental owners will be good neighbors via compliance with their permit provisions and STR neighbors will have an immediate avenue for relief if tenants are not following the rules,” Walter said. “Ultimately, STR owners risk their permits if they are not vigilant about ensuring guests follow the rules.”

The new contract states that costs will not exceed $66,500 a year for the next five years; after five years, Deckard may discuss with Chelan County increasing its total yearly fees in excess of that maximum price.

Walter expects the software platform to be up and running before the end of the year.