articles by barry A. Ross

Short-Term Vacation Rentals and Community Associations

Short-term rentals, also known as vacation rentals, are generally defined as a rental of less than thirty days. During recent years, there has been a tremendous increase in the number of short-term rentals. Property owners have realized that with short-term rentals, they can recover rent much more than rent collected from a more typical one-year rental. Further, companies such as Airbnb and HomeAway, Inc. have facilitated the increase in short-term rentals by providing convenient online booking service for immediate reservations. This dramatic increase in the number of short-term rentals has resulted in a corresponding increase in complaints made by neighbors of short-term rentals, who protest increased noise, debris, and parking problems, and are concerned, generally, about the revolving door of new neighbors.

In response to the increase in short-term rentals, community associations, also known as homeowners associations (or HOAs), have initiated actions to deter and prohibit short-term rentals. While some cities have also initiated actions to deter short-term rentals, these actions have been primarily in the area of licensing and fees, rather than a prohibition of short-term rentals. In such cases, the primary concern is whether the fees are reasonable and non-discriminatory. However, in the case of community associations, the concern is not simply a matter of licensing and fees; rather, community associations are seeking to prohibit short-term rentals completely.

The purpose of this article is to explain the various defenses that may be available to a property owner who wishes to retain the short-term rental, in response to action taken by the community association to prohibit the short-term rental. While not all defenses will work in each case, the following list of defenses should be considered...

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