Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been a buzzword for years, and many companies have tried to find ways to integrate it into their business. The technology is now being deployed by cities across the country to help collect taxes and enforce regulations in a time of falling revenue.
How Does A.I. Technology Help Increase Tax Revenues?
Enforcing regulations on short term rental hosts is difficult because of issues with data access — if a property owner doesn’t report their property to their local city government, the government doesn’t have a way to access the address. Addresses aren’t listed publicly on Airbnb listings, but rather are provided to renters before their trip begins.
Artificial intelligence technology helps to bridge this gap. Host Compliance is an AI vendor working with cities across the United States. Nashville city government has started working with the company to enforce local ordinances.
Host Compliance works by taking photos of properties listed on Airbnb and using artificial intelligence to match them with photos across the internet found on real estate sites and other places online. This information can determine a property’s address, and then check to see if the address is registered with the city. This process is also augmented by human analysts.
Nashville spends $250,000 a year on a 4-year contract with Host Compliance. However, the city has increased tax revenue from short term rental properties by $2.9 million according to Jon Michael, zoning administrator for Metro Nashville and Davidson County.
Artificial Intelligence a Growing Trend for Cities
Cities of all sizes are working with Artificial Intelligence vendors to curb illegal short term rental properties in their jurisdictions. Nashville is a large metropolitan area with many short term rentals, but smaller markets are getting use out of the technology.
Garden Grove in California spends $16,000 a year with Host Compliance. The city has a complete ban on all short term rentals in areas zoned for residential use, so the software helps the city keep owners in check.
Rental-compliance software Harmari STR, uses image-recognition technology to help flag profiles for human analysis. The company also uses A.I. to analyze user reviews on a property, helping to determine if a property is violating local ordinance in some way. Fort Lauderdale and Grey Highlands, Ontario have signed on with the company.
Airbnb has partnered with large metropolitan areas to curb short-term rental abuse and help cities find owners who are in violation. The company recently announced a partnership with Los Angeles to help curb abuse on its platform, but smaller cities are starting to take matters into their own hands through artificial intelligence technology.