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Short Term Rentals

Short Term Rentals

The holidays are approaching. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and of course, who could forget Festivus! Kids are out of school (a lot!), Halloween detritus is endless, presents are bought, and families are traveling and vacationing. Some of those traveling people will end up in a short term rental that may be in your neighborhood.  Love ’em or hate ’em, they are here to stay. Let’s discuss. 

Short term rental sites like Airbnb, FlipKey, and VRBO offer travelers a chance to live like a local. Homeowners rent out their homes, basements, or spare rooms to folks looking for a more authentic experience. It’s all well and good until your neighborhood turns into what feels like a hotel.  Our neighbor in California rented out a room in her house (in technical violation of her lease, I might add) so there were random cars and random people in and out. I struggled with it. Her rent was outrageous so I get the economics of it. But I didn’t like the stranger factor. And I’m not alone.

Lake Oswego, OR recently banned short term rental units. (View the story here) Hosts defended their rentals as beneficial to the city for various reasons and opponents cited issues with noise and other problems.  The issue isn’t likely to be resolved easily.  But here are a few things to consider should your neighborhood face this dilemma. 

Proceed with caution. This issue will certainly be a catalyst for heated emotions and conversations on both sides. For good reasons, homeowners are protective of their very large investment and the short-term rental concept is tricky. When in doubt, get the advice of an attorney who specializes in short-term rentals. Particularly because the short-term rentals could lead to increased insurance costs and/or liability for the association. 

Clearly communicate with residents. However the vote goes, for or against or some combination of both, the rules and regulations must be very clearly communicated to all residents. 

Parking. Consider where guests will park and how that situation will be monitored or regulated.

Clearly communicate with the actual short term renters. Guests may not know the rules regarding behavior in your neighborhood. Make sure owners have a way to educate their guests. 

At the very least. If nothing else, HOAs should require that hosts disclose whether they are, in fact, offering a short-term rental. They may even require that guests carry an ID. But again, discuss these and any other regulations with an attorney. 

Here are some more suggestions from Airbnb. And just in case you have no idea what Festivus is, you can educate yourselves below. “Festivus for the rest of us!”