Are Short-Term Vacation Rentals Considered “Single Family Use”?

Many community associations trying to limit short-term rentals have found their battle complicated by the fact that their CC&Rs were drafted long before the days of Airbnb and VRBO. With CC&Rs that contain no provision explicitly addressing such rentals, some have turned to their single-family residence restrictions.

“Associations try to hang their hat on that provision when they don’t have provisions with minimum rental terms,” says Jeffrey Beaumont, a partner with Beaumont Tashjian in Woodland Hills, Calif. “But that’s a really weak provision and a risky road to go down.”

In a recent California case, the circumstances leading up to the lawsuit are familiar to many community association managers.

“Some owners were using their condo units as a short-term vacation rental when a neighbor became fed up with the increased foot traffic and alleged noise emanating from the unit and its various tenants,” Beaumont says.

The owners were members of a four-unit association in a coastal zone of a Southern California beach town. The disgruntled owner filed a lawsuit against the association and two other owners who had rented their units as short-term vacation rentals as early as 2005. The plaintiff had lived in the community since 1998.

The CC&Rs provided that each unit “shall be used as a single family residence and for no other purpose or purposes …” They didn’t, however, define the term “used as a single family residence.”

“The owner argued that short-term vacation rentals aren’t single-family use, so there was an implicit ban on them,” says Kelly Richardson, a partner in the law firm Richardson Ober De Nichilo in Pasadena, Calif.

Read the full story now: Short-Term Rentals Don’t Violate Single-Family Residence Restriction

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Matt Humphrey

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