Warren Town Hall

At its February 27 meeting, the Warren Select Board learned more about a software subscription that may aid board members in studying whether the town’s short-term rental (STR) market is impacting longer-term housing.


The board budgeted $27,800 to fund software from the company Granicus next year after the Warren Planning Commission asked for approval in January. The town and the commission previously discussed recovering the cost by requiring property owners who rent STRs to register their units with the town and pay an annual registration fee of $100. With an estimated 451 STRs in Warren, the board expected the town could collect just over $45,000 – reimbursing the cost of the subscription and putting remaining funds toward some housing-related efforts.

Samantha White of Granicus gave a demonstration of the software at Tuesday night’s board meeting. She said the town would likely have a hard time recovering the full cost within the first year of using it if they set the registration fee at $100. She recommended the town raise it.


The program itself would not provide the data analysis needed to understand the impact of the STR market on longer-term housing availability in Warren. However, the program can locate both current and past STR listings across vacation rental websites in a given area, extracting information from those listings that would aid the overall analysis.

If the analysis showed that the growth of the town’s STR market was creating a reduction in long-term housing stock, the town may choose to regulate the STR market in various ways, as other cities and towns across Vermont are doing. 

The primary function of the software is to administer a registry of STR rentals in Warren and collect registration fees. Once STR listings are located across websites, the software would automate letters that the town would mail to property owners – alerting them that they need to be included in the new registry and pay a fee. The town would first need to pass an ordinance requiring that fee.

The program, in its capacity for monitoring and compliance, would keep tabs on whether the fees get paid, even collecting payments and routing them to the town.



White said that Warren could expect to see a 70% compliance rate (of property owners paying fees) within 12 months, but that it would take several months to get the program up and running.

In order for the town to recover the subscription cost within the same year as the purchase, White recommended setting the registration fee at $250 or more. “I would very much caution about going beneath that,” she said. Charging $100-150, she said, is “just not feasible for you to move anywhere from that. We need to make sure your program pays for itself.”

White said she sees U.S. cities and towns charging STR owners up to $3,000 annually.

Warren Planning Commission member Macon Phillips suggested a spectrum of fees depending on whether an STR is owner-occupied, with that owner renting a single unit, or whether it’s a larger commercial STR. White, however, showed that 95% of STRs in Warren are entire homes – not single units within buildings.

Granicus offers a number of additional features – such as tracking whether STRs are safe for renters by requiring property owners to prove they’ve met code requirements. But the discussion has primarily orbited around measuring the impact of the town’s STR market on the local housing crisis.