Discover how Localgov is offering a small town control over its markets while powering convenience and compliance in upstate New York
Just two hours north of New York City by train, the town of Hudson is a beloved destination for urbanites in search of long weekends spent in sophisticated relaxation. Settled by the Mahican people and colonized by the Dutch, Hudson has a long history as a trading post, whaling center, port, and now a leisure destination packed with twee bakeries, farm-to-table restaurants, and upscale galleries.
The rise of Hudson as a weekend and seasonal destination has also resulted in a flourishing market for short-term rental properties available through dozens of agencies, such as Airbnb, HomeAway, vrbo, and others. Hudson’s city leaders have watched the tourist industry bloom and that means positive things for Hudson’s coffers.
But as developers, investors, and second-home buyers have snapped up cheap properties, Hudson residents are feeling the impact of rising rents, displacement, and gentrification.
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Hudson’s management team knew it needed to regulate its short-term rental market not only to reap the financial rewards, but to ameliorate the negative impacts of its impact on the housing market. Through thoughtful deliberation, Hudson crafted a rigorous short-term rental ordinance that limits the number of properties one host can manage, gives preference to hosts residing in the city, and requires specific safety accommodations.
As Hudson’s short-term rental and lodging markets have matured, local leaders have used data to continue to study the effect short-term rentals have on the housing market—and community character. Hudson lacked the in-house resources to thoroughly audit its transient rental market and keep tabs on the dozens of providers. In partnering with Localgov for short-term rental administration, Hudson also gained access to a comprehensive and professional reviewing team. Through comprehensive auditing, Localgov uncovered dozens of properties out of compliance with its local laws.
Hudson’s ordinances put limits on rental of units not occupied by owners. The goal here is to limit predatory real-estate speculation that drives up housing prices for residents, in favor of absentee ownership that caters only to tourists. The auditing also revealed multiple property owners that violated local short-term rental rules around owner-occupied short-term renting.
Once Hudson’s leaders understood the extent of this problem and its responsibility for managing a thriving community accountable to all, they responded by tweaking the ordinances and strengthening enforcement. But without the insights and clarity offered by a thorough audit of its short-term rental market, Hudson would not have felt empowered to rein in this issue.
“When we learned more about Hudson’s needs,” says Localgov senior sales manager Tom Fagan, “we could hear how frustrated their staff was. Local governments just don’t have the time to deal with systems that don’t work.”
Localgov frequently works with communities in search of a partner that can extend more bespoke solutions. Hudson needed a provider who could facilitate the licensing of bed-and-breakfast and short-term rental properties. In addition, Hudson needed that same partner to collect taxes and fees as determined by its complicated ordinances.
These complex requirements present a challenge for many Localgov competitors. “We offer a more hands-on, concierge-style service,” says implementation manager Erin Marshall. Through close communication with municipal clients and careful listening, Marshall and the implementation team configured a solution specific for Hudson’s needs. Rather than tell the client to adjust expectations, Localgov rose to their demands.
Satisfied, Hudson’s Parker says, “If Localgov can figure out how to take care of Hudson’s complex needs, it can handle any city’s.”
Prior to partnering with Localgov, Hudson’s finance leaders had been working with another provider to manage its short-term rental registration and fee administration. However, that partner simply couldn’t manage the demands of the new laws. “The online portal they gave us wouldn’t function 75% of the time and when it was working it wasn’t giving us the information that we needed,” complains Matt Parker, Bookkeeper & Assistant Treasurer. “We were on the lookout for a new provider because we don’t have the bandwidth to administer the tax the way it should be.”
This frustration not only impacted Hudson’s municipal employees, but it also presented a threat to this growing industry if Hudson developed a reputation as unfriendly to lodging providers—and business in general. Clunky tools and outmoded procedures take businesses time and effort they simply don’t have, particularly when dealing with multiple properties across several municipalities. When local governments add easy-to-use, consumer-style registration and remittance technology, they’re signaling to the larger entrepreneurial community that this city is open for business.
Because Hudson had experienced such poor service from its previous provider, it really needed a partner with a proven commitment to support. With round-the-clock service offered by a team of local-government experts, Localgov impressed Hudson.
And vice versa, according to Aquanetta White-Olive, Localgov’s customer service lead. “I love speaking with Hudson’s taxpayers,” she says. “They’re busy innkeepers and hosts who know what they want but are always pleasant.” White-Olive and her staff walk these business owners through registration and renewal, a mandatory part of doing business. Localgov’s concierge-style customer care results in satisfied entrepreneurs that have a more favorable opinion about local government. Municipal employees save significant time under this model, as calls go straight to Localgov rather than stretched-thin staff.
Since becoming a client in 2019, Hudson has ramped up its Localgov business significantly and has processed nearly $500,000 in fees from Hudson’s hospitality sector. That figure represents direct contact with hundreds of small businesses throughout the year. Localgov is proud that we’ve helped lighten the load for this thriving community, particularly during the COVID-19 crisis. Through our partnership with Hudson, the hospitality industry in town is able to get compliant with the city quickly and focus on serving visitors to this lovely community.
Our team would love to talk with your municipality about how Localgov can benefit your short-term rental hosts this season—and beyond. It’s easy to get started. Schedule a personalized demo at your leisure.
Book a demo with our team today.
Our Concierge Customer Service approach takes the load off Hudson’s municipal staff—while offering taxpayers with 24/7 assistance.
After tech challengers with another provider, Hudson is now enjoying a solution that integrates well with its legacy systems.
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