If you’re looking to generate additional income with your property, you may be considering short-term rental sites such as Airbnb, VRBO, and more. However, before you hastily put your property up for booking, be sure to check with your local laws and ordinances and your homeowners’ association bylaws. If not, you could find yourself in some hot water and paying off hefty fines.
If city ordinance allows for short-term rentals in your area, and your association doesn’t have any rules prohibiting it –– a small celebration is in order!
But what happens when your HOA is considering outlawing short-term rentals? Or they’ve just never been done in the community, and the board is wary? Before you panic, there are some things you can –– and should –– do.
Review HOA Documents
The first item on your to-do list should be to familiarize yourself with your HOA’s rules and regulations and bylaws. These two sets of documents dictate how the HOA operates. If there is nothing that disallows short-term rentals in your income property, you’re in a good spot to generate additional income.
Consult Local Ordinances
Ensure you comply with local laws and ordinances, and apply for any required licenses or permits. Having your paperwork in order is crucial. A permit is required to list your property on sites like Airbnb, and it also shows your HOA you’re approaching this as a well-run, rule-following business.
Inform your Homeowners’ Association
Consider attending a board meeting and alerting the board and other residents of your intent to lease your property short-term. Bring all relevant paperwork: a copy of your insurance policy that covers your pivot to short-term rentals, and your city permit, if applicable. Be ready to reference specific passages in the bylaws that confirm you’re following the rules set forth by the association.
It’s essential to have all of this paperwork in hand. It shows you’re committed to running this property like a business, while still being a respectful neighbor. It cannot be understated how crucial it is to have the proper insurance policy. Your insurance policy must cover short-term rentals. If your property is improperly insured, the association’s insurance policy may be voided.
Homeowners’ associations are notoriously risk-averse. The idea is to assuage all fears or objections before they’re raised. Present your case, with thoughtful care and respect. Let the board and other residents know you’ve thought this through while being respectful and receptive to their opinions and requests. Show them how you plan to handle check-ins, issues of shared space, noise complaints, or any other concerns.
Remember to be overly respectful and considerate –– even when it feels irritating or over-the-top. If the board wants to require that check-in only occurs during certain hours, or a minimum-night stay, it’s advisable to give in to their requests whenever possible.
You’re looking for goodwill here. Agreeing to small requests that may seem silly to you may go a long way with the board. Never forget that the board could choose to change the rules and regulations or bylaws to prohibit short-term rentals.
Extra Credit to Generate Additional Income
In the months leading up to listing your short-term rental, it’s advisable to become familiar with the board. Attend meetings whenever possible, accrue good will. It’s extra-extra credit to become a member of the board. While this may be a hassle, it’s a wise business move. You’ll literally give yourself a voice if the tides were to turn against your short-term rental.
As always, be a good member of your community, respect the rules the association you belong to, and be a good neighbor. Something that is entirely possible while also being a short-term rental landlord.