How to Tackle the Short-Term Rentals Issue

A lot of people have a love-hate relationship with Airbnb and other short-term rental arrangements — and the same is true for community associations. Some want to bar the rentals entirely, while others want to allow them but struggle with regulation. This week’s article outlines the different approaches popping up across the country.

As in so many situations, the first step is to review the governing documents. Depending in part on when they were originally drafted, they may not address short-term rentals. In that case, some associations trying to crack down on short-term rentals turn to provisions prohibiting commercial use or allowing only residential.

“The problem is that short-term rentals sort of straddle a grey line,” explains Dan Artaev, a senior attorney at Fausone Bohn, LLP, in Northville, Mich. “They’re not true commercial use, but they’re not true single-family residential either.

“I would advise the association that wants to prohibit short-term rentals to actually go through the formal amendment process and spell out specifically what a short-term rental is, and the terms and conditions on which it can or can’t exist. That’s where you end up in court — if it’s not spelled out explicitly.”

Some associations have gone this route, amending declarations or bylaws. Others have stopped short, instead enacting rules and regulations. These might ban short-term rentals altogether or, for example, impose restrictions on the number of rentals allowed per year or require minimum lease periods.

To learn more about how associations are tackling short-term rentals, some of the enforcement obstacles, and related legal developments, read our new article Associations Confront the Continuing Challenge of Short-Term Rentals.

Best regards,
Matt Humphrey
President