The short-term vacation rental movement is one of the hottest, growing trends in this country today. Homeowners who are looking for some extra cash are anxiously renting out an extra room or an entire house to vacationers. Families or individuals are seeking short-term rentals that provide amenities such as stocked kitchens, more space and ideal locations as alternatives to crowded, expensive hotels. On the surface, it looks like a win-win proposition for all involved. The local community group, the HOA management company or the condominium association, however, are often overlooked third-parties in the short-term vacation rental business.
From their perspective, short-term visitors within a neighborhood or condominium complex can mean extra trash, additional burdens on community amenities, potential noise disruption, and strangers in close proximity to local residents. Community or homeowners associations should consider laws, rules or expectations that can minimize or eliminate the negative impact that short-term vacation rentals can have.
* Check short-term leasing restriction language. If a community is located in a highly desirable vacation area, there may be a greater chance of potential violations. It will be more tempting to violate restrictions for residents and more difficult to address privacy issues for the HOA. Consider loopholes in existing language. For instance, if an owner is allowed to rent his home for a year but can also terminate that lease before it ends, there may be a legal loophole to allow a short-term rental.
* Consider prohibiting advertisement of home. A community organization may prohibit members from advertising or marketing their home as a short-term rental, which would halt the agreement earlier in the process.
* Check local zoning codes. In some cases, homeowners associations may be able to turn to local laws and zoning codes for support. Most residents must agree to abide by local laws, and in some cases, these zoning laws may prohibit hotel use in particular areas of a city.
* Limit short-term rental agreements. Because short-term rentals are so popular now, community associations may have more trouble securing a majority vote in instituting new restrictions. However, if residents understand that some limitations can protect the entire community from extra service burdens or potential noise or damage, they may agree to restricting vacation rentals to a certain number per homeowner per year or prohibiting use of community amenities like the pool and clubhouse for renters.
* Institute fees, regulations and fines for short-term rental usage. A HOA management company may discourage short-term vacation rentals or at least collect monetary support that can mitigate some of the negative effects of short-term vacation rentals. Short-term guests can be charged extra fees that can cover community services such as parking and trash removal. Maximum occupancy limits can be enforced and violations can carry fines. Fees that pay for extra property or liability coverage can also be charged.
* Turn to politicians for support. In some areas, municipalities are prohibiting short-term vacation rentals or requiring permits for such usage. Community associations can build ties with campaigns that can argue for limiting or prohibiting vacation rental usage.