Convincing HOA to allow Airbnb

Level 1
Palo Alto, CA

Convincing HOA to allow Airbnb

I have been hosting on Airbnb for a while. My homeowner association prohibits rentals of less than one year. My HOA's property manager give me a courtesy notice few months ago to tell me to stop. I didn't, though, because I never got complaints from neighbors about nuisance or damage to common areas.


Last week I got a letter from my HOA's attorney. The letter points out the HOA's policies about rentals, as well as $200 move in/out fees. The letter strongly encourages me to attend the next board meeting to explain myself.


I want to keep hosting. I want to create a proposal that will placate the HOA. Has anyone ever successfully lobbied their HOA to amend their rules to allow Airbnb hosting?


Would love to hear your suggestions for a HOA-friendly policy. Some features I am considering are an annual fee and very high fines for nuisance complaints stemming from unruly guests.



59 Replies 59
Level 10
Redwood City, CA

You are not going to find many successful HOA disputes. You bought into a property with board management, which means your property is always going to be burdened by the decision of the board even after any soft of transfer of this land(sale, will, intestate). It's a burden that is attached to the land (runs with the land). You are not going to be successful in fighting this encumbrance alone. Unless you get on the board, hold a meeting,  propose an amendment, board holds a voting and elects that change; which is all very unlikely.


So save your energy and keep a good relationship with your HOA board. It's probably not what you wanted to hear but you can pay an independent attorney for a brief consult to get the same answer (and please pay that atty at least for one hour, don't demand a free consult). 

In Ohio— experiencing similar frustrations.  I’ve owned the place 12 years and have had long- term renters for 7. Last year I research the bylaws to ensure compliance. I followed all city rules and inspections.

Now my Hoa has sent s letter changing the rules to disallow short term rentals. There was no notification of a vote or open board meeting discussion. How can this be applied retroactively AND without notification of a vote? 

@Tiffany236  You need to read your bylaws—if they previously allowed short term rentals and now do not, there should have been some kind of vote which would have to be on record that the HOA can provide upon request.  I know our HOA requires a 2/3 vote of all unit owners but every HOA’s bylaws are different.  Normally a Board can change rules and make new ones, but any changes to the bylaws would generally require a vote of homeowners.  It should be stipulated in your bylaws the process of making such changes.

Level 10
Mount Barker, Australia

@William127....William, it's really hard get a HOA/Strata management group to accept short term rentals. The main stumbling block is you will possibly void their insurance because you have altered the risk the insurer accepted when they offered a policy! Your own general insurer will certainly cancel your policy if they have knowledge of short term rental taking place and this could impact on the whole community!

Some of the smaller authorities can be a little more laid back. I did hear of one who accepted a short term rental into the community because the host contributed 20% of his earnings into the property management fund and just upped his rate to cover some of it!

But in hundreds of post on this topic that was the only successful one I heard of.

William, keep on the right side of them, try and offer an incentive of sorts and show that you are passionate about what you are doing and want to be proactive where the HOA is concerned and you never know, you may turn out to be another success story!! 


Level 10
Bristol, United Kingdom

It doesn't sound like you started off on the right footing.


you know you weren't allowed to let but went ahead anyway. Then when asked to stop you ignored them and continued to let out your place.


you haven't exactly inspired them with confidence that you want to work with them


let out your place



I have a different issue... I bought a place that did not disallow vacations rentals.  However, there were two board members who for personal reasons didn't like the idea.  They set out a vote and we voted to allow vac rentals.  A year later, they paid an attorney $1,000 out of our HOA dues to rewrite the rules and regulation to disallow vac rentals (less than 30 days) without subsequent homeowner ratificaiton.


Then, they wrote new rules around compliance and fines targeting me and my vac rental.  No one has ever been fined by our HOA before.


Now they are sending certified letters and letters from an attorney stating I am in violation.


Does anyone know an experienced CA attorney who I can talk to?

Almost exact same scenario I am experiencing here. I clearly read all the bylaws and covenants to make SURE there was nothing that said they did not allow airbnb/short term rentals....otherwise I would not have bought the place! So like you, I am now receiving letters in the mail that they "suspect" I am doing airbnb and that it is not allowed and if I don't stop, they will add fines to my accont and take legal action against me. Yet, they wont return my phone calls or emails asking why they think I am doing this and even if I was, there is no mention in the HOA laws that say we can't. So yea, I have an attoreny involoved. They can't just "bully" a homeowner and make up their own rules as they go....they at least need to follow proper procedures if they want to add or make ammendments to the original bylaws and covenants and allow home owners to speak about said topic and vote on it....not just let a few "old hens" on the HOA decide for us on a subject they know nothing about. Most HOA's have issues with people who just buy houses in their neighborhood for the SOLE purpose of using it for airbnb (which I have no problem with!) but its those situations that you mainly here the negative things about it....because the person does't live there, they dont have a much control of "noise level' or other things. But, I permantly live in my home, so why would I want to rent it to people or large groups that could casue a rukus in my  neighborhood or have parties every weekend. I think HOA's need to compromise and be more educated. Ok fine, don't allow a homeowner to do airbnb if they don't even live there...(I can understnad the issue/concerns that can arise from that, even though still I wouldnt' care)...but there is no harm in allowing a home owner who DOES live there while guests are there to do airbnb. 

Anyway, I wont go down without a fight! Good luck to you on your fight as well! Let me know how it turns out!

That is exactly my situation now. If airbnb wants hosts it should provide guidance in these areas. My location is so popular I can rent a room or two for a week per month and make half my mortgage. Since its just me, why would I want a permanent roommate. Just like you the covenants refer to leasng the entire unit so the HOA has no legs to stand on. If its not a lease then it can't be short term. Any luck finding the right combination, how much did the attorney cost?


Dealing with the same BS in miami !! I could be making a nice profit instead I’m losing thousands on my investment !! How is it possible as homeowners we are rendered powerless 

If a b b is against by laws you are: breaking the rules, endangering your neighbors, could cause the building insurance to get cancelled, etc.

Kelly, I am also in Franklin TN and our developer-controlled board just banned all short-term rentals. We have a fair number of level-headed residents who’d like to investigate legal action. Could we connect?  Thanks 

@Kelly0,   They can't just "bully" a homeowner and make up their own rules as they go....they at least need to follow proper procedures if they want to add or make ammendments to the original bylaws and covenants and allow home owners to speak about said topic and vote on it. 

They have done that exact thing for years and have gotten away with it. I imagine people have gotten lawyers involved before with no luck. There is something you agreed to that allows them to do it. 

I am dealing with the exact same scenario and it’s a nightmare!! We spend all this money buying a luxury condo on the water I put all my life’s savings and they are threatening to sue me if I don’t limit rentals to 3 times a year at a minimum of 30 days a piece !!! The building is a hotel condo and even when I follow the rules I am being targeted and harassed nonstop !! I am barely able to cover my bills now and I’m being forced to sell prematurely and will lose at least half of my investment !! I am fuming and feel helpless and powerless in my own home !! The property manager absolutely hates me and I can’t even breathe without him breathing down my neck !! 

Do you mind sharing your attorney contact?