Dealing with HOA interpretation of rules

in
Myrtle Beach, SC
Level 3
30,015 Views

My Bylaws are below and appear to be clear that I cannot rent my  "Lot" for less than 30 days but I am just renting a portion of it.  They wrote this so there wouldn't be weekly home rental but they are trying to use it against me for Airbnb and it doesn't apply based on how I read it.  They are threatening a cease and desist letter but I think they are overstepping.  Thoughts?

 

Section 3 Prohbition of Renting for Transient or Hotel Purposes.  No Owner shall rent his Lot for transient or hotel purposes, which, for the purposes of this Declaration shall be defined as either a rental for any period less than 30 days or any rental if the lessee of the Low is provided customary hotel services.  Each permitted lease shall be in writing and shall be subject to this Declaration, the Bylaws, and the Rules and Regulations adopted hereunder and any failure of the lessee to comply with the terms of such documents shall be a default under the lease.  Other than the foregoing restrictions, each Owner shall have the full right to lease all or any portion of his Lot, subject to applicable City, State, and Federal regulations.

 

 

73 Replies

Re: Dealing with HOA interpretation of rules

in
Murphy, NC
Level 10

@Mark384

I have some experience of HOA rules & regulations and my advice would be to check with a real estate attorney before you have any guests. And read your HOA rules about guests.... I have seen some that only allow non-family guests of the owner to stay for a certain number of days a year... and others that want the names and duration of stay approved before the guests even arrive. Rule breaking can cost you eventual fines from the HOA as well as barring you from certain common amenities like parking, pool use, shared areas or similar. The HOA has extreme power (unfortunately) to make life difficult and although you may be able to ignore them for a while, your guests might not and it could also affect your reviews.

The whole point of the 30 day min rental restrictions and the insistence to have long term lease agreements is to protect the HOA and property as well as other owners. Short term rentals can bring problems such as parties, damage, nuisance and noise and the HOA would have no control over the non-accountable short term guest and also no way of enforcing the HOA rules or applying fines as the guest has no contract - but you do and they will probably find a way to fine/punish you for any infractions by guests. Parking spaces may be assigned or even leased to individual homes and guest parking may be a problem for guests. There probably is also a strict ratio allowed in the building of owner occupiers v. tenants - and Airbnb guests would be included in the tenant ratio and therefore create another rule break/problem.

Airbnb make it a clear policy that hosts are stating that they have 100% authority/permission to rent out their space.... and will fine you and suspend your account if future bookings are cancelled because you no longer are able to host because you broke your HOA rules.

So definitely check it out with an attorney that knows HOA laws - you might catch a break and find that your particular HOA bylaws and constitution have not been kept up to date, or are badly written and there may be a loophole in there for you. Or you could just decide to abide by the HOA rules and be a good neighbor. Just imagine how busy and noisy the place would be if everyone decided to host short term guests. 

 

Best Wishes.

Re: Dealing with HOA interpretation of rules

in
Myrtle Beach, SC
Level 3

I have checked with my attorney but there is nothing else in the HOA about non-family. The only thing in there was to prevent weekly home renting as mentioned.  They are trying to use the "hotel services" statement to block me but since they don't define those services, my attorney says they are reaching and will not prevail.  I was just looking for other advice or another attorney on here to back up mine.  I have also reached out to an attorney friend for their input.

Re: Dealing with HOA interpretation of rules

in
Bristol, United Kingdom
Level 10

Hi Mark

 

From what you have said it seems quite clear you shouldn't be listing your property for short term lets.

 

However, if your attorney has given you professional legal advice to the contrary, then I would go with this.

Re: Dealing with HOA interpretation of rules

Level 1

Racheal in Murphy, NC wrote "Or you could just decide to abide by the HOA rules and be a good neighbor. Just imagine how busy and noisy the place would be if everyone decided to host short term guests. "

 

Airbnb guests actually come and go less than regular renters. They are gone most all day most every day, generally have one rented car, and generally are there to sleep. They are generaly tourists, visiting for functions such as weddings, very few of them, mostly the college students, rent for sinful purpose.

Re: Dealing with HOA interpretation of rules

in
Miami Beach, FL
Level 1

Get off my lawn!

Re: Dealing with HOA interpretation of rules

in
Houston, TX
Level 2

I just received a letter regarding my hoa stating that " all units shall be utilized for single family residential purposes only" Although I know that there should be a loophole since they haven't kep up to date. Does anyone have a recommendation on wich real estate attorney I could use? 

 

Thanks, Chris 

Re: Dealing with HOA interpretation of rules

in
Old Orchard Beach, ME
Level 2

Hi Christopher,

 

I cannot offer assistance in terms of finding an attorney, but I'm curious to know if you found one and what he/she said. In the state I live in, case law has determined that renting IS using a property for a residential activity. The mere exchange of money does not automatically, though in some instances can, raise the activity to the level of commercial.

Re: Dealing with HOA interpretation of rules

in
Castle Hayne, NC
Level 2

Why do people think just because you have a guest over you are going to be loud and obnoxious! Family and friends are the loud ones. I have yet to have a noisy guest! I can't even tell they're in the house! They never sat outside on the porch or in the back. They come for the beach and business, not to socialize with ignorant outdated neighbors! 

I think the HOA's has a little too much control over home and property that you are paying for. As with all old rules, they are outdated and written to empower a person to believe they are a dictator. 

Re: Dealing with HOA interpretation of rules

in
Waunakee, WI
Level 2

We are dealing with our HOA.  We have been doing Short-Term Rentals for over a year.  VRBO has been around since 1995 and AirBNB 2008.  HOA's have had plenty of time to incorporate these rules into their covenants.  We are in the process of getting ready to litigate our position. AirBNB hosts need to come together to support each other.  If I purchased my home and the HOA had no restrictions on the number of cars allowed in the driveway and then changed to a number lower than I own, that would create a hardship transporting my vehicles offset.  I agree with you.  HOA's should not have that much power.  Trying to find case law regarding it.

Re: Dealing with HOA interpretation of rules

in
Old Orchard Beach, ME
Level 2

What do your covenants/rules/bylaws say about it?

Re: Dealing with HOA interpretation of rules

in
Englewood, CO
Level 2

Mine doesn't currently state that we can't have short term rentals and their argument is that when the covenants were written, there was not such a thing.  They are now planning on rewriting the bylaws and are adding in the language. 

 

That said, there is a home in the neighborhood that converted into a private eldercare facility and the neighborhood/association fought them to cease and desist. The homeowner fought to be grandfathered in because they had been running for over a year and the HOA did eventually do so.  I would think that this would set a precedent for my home having the same consideration.

Re: Dealing with HOA interpretation of rules

in
Englewood, CO
Level 2

Hello - I'm facing the same issues. I've been operating for the past year - have had over 100 guests without issue and seem to be the only home in my HOA listed under Airbnb.  My question is - if I've been dependant on this and have been operating (within the current rules of the HOA and the county), can they simply just change the rules that we've been operating within? And if they do, can we fight to be grandfathered in?  Please let me know if you've had any luck finding a case that supports us continuing.  I'll do the same on my end through my searches.

 

BTW - I'm a Super host as well :).

Re: Dealing with HOA interpretation of rules

in
Stonington, CT
Level 10

If you go forward with the rental, expect the Officers of the Association to meet to amend the bylaws by adding "or any portion thereof".

 

My experience has been that when put to a vote, ABB always loses in these communities.

 

Your attorney may prevail THIS time, but eventually he won't.  And you'll have paid plenty in legal fees.

 

Good luck.

 

Wendy

Real Estate Agent

 

Re: Dealing with HOA interpretation of rules

in
Como, CO
Level 10

My reading is that you can use AirBnB but you need to specify a minumum stay of 30 days.

David
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