STAA and Locale launch Trusted Hosts buildings management platform

UK: The UK Short Term Accommodation Association [UK STAA] and Locale presented Trusted Hosts, a new prototype buildings management platform, at last week’s Short Stay Show in London.

The short-term rental trade body and the digital property management expert company have partnered to create the new prototype technology for the short-let industry. It was unveiled for the first time at the Short Stay Show at the ExCel Centre, London.

The online platform will equip hosts [who rent out their properties in multi-occupancy buildings] with the tools they need to provide evidence and security to property owners and managers, councils and visitors. Once the pilot phase is complete, Trusted Hosts will utilise Locale’s property technology expertise and the STAA’s deep understanding of the short-term accommodation sector to offer a much-needed solution that will seek to ensure an environment of trust and consistency.

The platform aims to make it easy for short-term accommodation policies to be implemented throughout whole buildings, as well as providing building managers and owners with full visibility of short-term activity within the property.

Through the collaboration, both the STAA and Locale will look to ease the pressure on local councils through easy-to-access guidance. Trusted Hosts will provide reassurance to residents that short-term arrangements being conducted in their building are adhering to best practice and allow hosts to demonstrate their ability to operate responsibly.

Trusted Hosts is set to be piloted with selected councils and regulatory bodies in the UK in the coming months.

Merilee Karr, chair of the STAA, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be able to showcase a preview of this new online system, which represents another significant step in helping the industry to grow responsibly. Trusted Hosts will provide building managers, short-term hosts and residents of multi-occupancy buildings with the reassurance that short-term letting in their building will be conducted in a trustworthy and conscientious way in accordance with our guidelines.”

Guy Windsor-Lewis, CEO and founder of Locale, said: “It’s a privilege to be working with the STAA to develop this new platform. As a trusted provider of property technology across the UK, we look forward to adapting our technology to suit the needs of the short-term accommodation sector.

“Along with the STAA and its members’ expertise, we have produced a prototype system, Trusted Hosts, which we are piloting this year,” he added.

Due to the unfolding coronavirus pandemic, Locale dialled in remotely to provide the demo for interested parties at the Short Stay Show at the STAA’s stand.

In a briefing to the press prior to the Show, Karr offered her observations and thoughts to ShortTermRentalz.

  • Residents are complaining about amenity disruption, with suitcases coming in and out of buildings. Buildings do not know who to call if there is an issue because there is neither transparency nor visibility, which is causing people anxiety.
  • The STAA started working with Locale last year to address the issues with building policy and putting the right insurance in place – Locale has provided technology for the Shard in London and other residential buildings in the country.
  • Buildings can sign up for free to the Trusted Hosts platform and if they are operating as short-term rentals, they will have to register and self-certify to show that they are doing it in the proper way. This will trigger more buildings to know what activity is happening and ensure it is taking place responsibly.
  • The partnership ties into the STAA’s accreditation with Quality in Tourism, which focuses on health and safety and acceptable tenant numbers.
  • Buildings must confirm they are following guidelines and the partnership will bring this to the forefront [e.g. fire safety guidelines]. A third party besides the council will come to inspect these aspects.
  • It will be a free service for the building and a £10 per year service for whoever is running the rental. Karr said: “We are not looking to make it a massively profitable thing but making it as accessible as possible for everyone and delivering the best service. It gives people transparency and control they think they need and they can see short-term rentals being run responsibly. There are only a few bad actors and rules can target those breaking the laws – therefore it is beneficial for everyone so they can conduct activity that it is against the law.”
  • The industry is changing all the time but as complaints about noise and parties rise, commercial companies offering solutions like noise sensors such as NoiseAware and Minut can shut these down before neighbours get upset.
  • The STAA is “open” to working with councils across the country and is not UK specific. According to Karr, the UK is “leading the way in the world and addressing concerns over growth in the sector”.
  • A recent UGOV poll recorded 37 per cent of Londoners saying they thought short-term rentals are a good thing. Only 14 per cent said they have a negative view towards them with others more broadly openly minded.
  • The STAA chose to work with Locale due to its “strong track record of managing data”.

For more information, visit the STAA website here and the Locale website here.