A Short Look at Short-term Rentals

It seems that there's always a new news story about short-term rental or vacation rental services like AirBNB, HomeAway, or VRBO.  Take a look at this news story from Maryland:

Montgomery Co. opens door to short-term home rentals

For those who don't know, these services make it very easy for a homeowner to use their home as a rental home, often for only a few days at a time.  It's an easy way for a homeowner to make some money and a traveller to find a reasonably-priced place to stay.  These services are still becoming more and more popular, and they really are a convenient service for all sorts of people.  That said, there is a lot of opposition to them in HOAs and condominiums.  Let's have a quick peak into why some communities might be for or against these short-term rentals.

What Does AirBNB Mean for an HOA or Condo?

The conventional wisdom in the community management industry is that rental properties are more likely to have an unkempt yard and maintenance problems around the home.  Of course this isn't true for every rental, but it's happened often enough to cement the idea.  There could be any number of reasons why some rented homes might not get as much care as we would like : sometimes, it's because a renter has less invested in a home compared to a homeowner; other times, it's that the homeowner just doesn't see the condition of the property first-hand.

Does this assumption apply to a short-term rental?

One could argue that a home used for short-term rentals is more likely to be kept in good condition.  After all, the owner's income depends on what renters think of the house, and some bad reviews online might will really hurt them.  If short-term rentals do lead to better-maintained houses, that might a reason for an HOA to welcome them.

One concern about the renter who stays in the home for a weekend is that they won't be going over the rules and regulations with a fine-tooth comb.  If a renter doesn't know how to handle their trash, where to park, and when to stop loud music, then the neighboring homeowners certainly won't be happy.

Is AirBNB Good or Bad For My Community?

If your Association is looking at adopting an Amendment or policy regarding short-term leases, make sure you consider these points and consult your Association's Attorney).  Ultimately, it will be up to the Board of Directors and the homeowners to determine what steps are best for the community and the property values.