If you’ve been running your income property as a short-term rental, it can feel like a
devastating blow –– financially and emotionally –– to be told you’re no longer permitted to do so. Whether the ban comes from your homeowners’ association changing bylaws or new city ordinances, it can feel paralyzing to be told a source of income is no longer viable or permissible. It may help to know you’re not alone. In major cities all over the country there have been crackdowns on renting a property as a short-term rental, including fines upwards of $1000 per day if a landlord is found in violation of these codes.
Identify the Problem
It’s important to be aware if your short-term rental property is being banned by your
homeowners’ association or because your city ordinances changed. If your HOA hasn’t banned it, or you don’t have an HOA, and the city changed the laws, investigate those laws. It’s possible that it’s not banned altogether, but that you simply need a permit or license to continue running your business as usual.
Perhaps your HOA has taken a stance and changed the bylaws to forbid short-term rentals ––there is still a way through this that doesn’t involve selling your income property. Study the bylaws and understand exactly what is permitted and forbidden. Perhaps you’re no longer able to rent your unit as a short-term rental, but how is that defined?
When you understand exactly what restrictions you’re working with, you will be able to
determine a solution.
Provided you are not in violation of city laws or HOA rules, there are often ways of continuing to use your income property as a short-term rental, even if it looks a bit different than in the past.
Many homeowners’ associations have regulations that outlaw the traditional short-term rental –– think weekend guests or even a week-long visitor. But it’s not time to sell your property.
Perhaps your HOA allows for stays 30+ days –– this can still be a very profitable way to rent out your income property, you simply need to pivot your strategy.
Research the best property rental sites for your new situation –– look to attract long-term stays from business travelers, study abroad students, traveling nurses, summer interns, and the like.
There are dozens of online sites that cater to the exact type of property you now find yourself managing. Pivot your strategy, tweak your listing and rates, and you’ll be attracting a new type of guest before you know it.
Perhaps your association or city requires three-, six- or twelve-month leases –– this is nothing to scoff at. There is a market for furnished rental units, you just have not been paying attention to it yet. Or, alternatively, you could choose to remove your furnishings and rent out your property as a traditional lease. By removing your furniture and furnishings, you also free up your obligation to provide the towels, soaps, dishes, and more. That includes paying for Wi-Fi and utilities, as those are now the responsibility of the tenant.
As rules change and you find yourself unable to rent your income property out for a weekend or week-long guest, you may be lamenting the loss of this income. Yes, these short stays are typically the most lucrative. However, they are also the most time-intensive and do not come without their own costs.
Before a guest stays in your property, you need to clean the unit (either yourself or pay
someone), launder the sheets, provide the necessary amenities and all the extras you’ve provided in the listing. In addition, you have to communicate with them, arrange check-in and check-out, and more. With higher turnover, comes higher cost of time and money, and also higher wear and tear on your property.
A month or longer lease allows you to let go of some of the day-to-day headaches and costs associated with running a short-term rental property, without foregoing a supplemental income.