Newport extends host compliance contract for three years

AT FRIDAY'S TOURISM STUDY COMMISSION MEETING, it was confirmed that Newport's contract with short-term rental property monitoring software company Host Compliance was extended. Rep. Lauren H. Carson, D-Newport, the committee's head, sits at the center of the back row. / PBN PHOTO/EMILY GOWDEY-BACKUS
AT FRIDAY'S TOURISM STUDY COMMISSION MEETING, it was confirmed that Newport's contract with short-term rental property monitoring software company Host Compliance was extended. Rep. Lauren H. Carson, D-Newport, the committee's head, sits at the center of the back row. / PBN PHOTO/EMILY GOWDEY-BACKUS

PROVIDENCE – At the April Tourism Study Commission meeting, held Friday at the Statehouse, it was confirmed that Newport had re-upped its contract with short-term rental tracking software company Host Compliance.

Laura Sitrin, Newport’s finance director, said the contract was signed earlier this week and extends the services for three years at a cost to the city of $31,000 per year.

The city’s initial contract with San Francisco-based Host Compliance was signed in November for a one-year period, costing $19,652.

Services provided to Newport through the new contract will include: identifying Newport-based short-term rental lodgings listed on third-party hosting platforms such as Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway; monitoring the compliance of such short-term rentals with city zoning regulations; and supporting the city in its collection of taxes from such properties.

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Regarding the longevity of the contract extension, Rep. Lauren H. Carson, D-Newport, the head of the Tourism Study Commission, said: “That is a significant investment. [Host Compliance] must think there is money to be captured out there.”

In response, Sitrin, citing numerous complaints from Newport residents regarding zoning violations of short-term rentals and a continued concern about proper tax revenue collection, said: “We do too.”

To-date, Host Compliance has identified 376 short-term rentals in Newport that are listed on third-party hosting platforms and are not registered with the city.

Emily Gowdey-Backus is a staff writer for PBN. You can follow her on Twitter @FlashGowdey or contact her via email, gowdey-backus@pbn.com.