Courts across the country have been hearing cases about short-term rentals of homes and condominium units, and there is not much consistency in the decisions made. Sometimes, it is the homeowners’ association that is trying to enforce its covenants in a manner that prohibits short-term rentals, and sometimes it is a municipality trying to enforce its zoning ordinances. In the two cases discussed below, we have one of each—and in both cases, the language of the covenant and the ordinance made all the difference. Continue Reading Short-Term Rentals—A Tale of Two Cases
A Court in Louisiana recently tackled the issue of short-term rentals (New Jax Condominium Association, Inc. v. Vanderbilt New Orleans, LLC, 219 So.3d 471). A Condominium Association adopted an amendment to its bylaws during its annual meeting prohibiting short term rentals. When a Unit Owner continued to engage in short-term rentals, the Association sued and received a permanent injunction, preventing the Unit Owner from continuing to engage in short-term rentals. The Unit Owner appealed, alleging that the amendment to the bylaws was invalid because certain board members had conflicts of interest, and because one board member changed his vote during the voting. Continue Reading Banning Short-Term Rentals
Under the law in most states, and certainly in Wisconsin, the Board of your condominium association controls any changes to the exterior appearance. This is generally based on a statute that can’t be changed even by the governing documents. However, things are changing. Across the country many laws are being passed that require the Board of Directors of various condominium associations to approve certain changes to the exterior. This can range from artificial turf to solar panels. In addition, the world is changing relative to emotional support animals, sexual harassment and security. Continue Reading 2018 Condo & HOA Issues
Those of us involved in condominium management, whether as board members, officers, property managers or attorneys, know that VRBO and AirBnB have changed the way units are rented. Short term rentals are viewed by many associations as a problem that should be solved. Specifically, these associations and managers would prefer that short rentals (most often defined as less than six months or one year, but I have seen it defined as less than 30 days) be prohibited. The problem is getting enough people to agree on the various issues: Continue Reading Can I Use the Prohibition on “Commercial Activity” to Preclude Short Term Rentals?
Governing Documents for Condominium and Homeowner Associations don’t age well. They are not like a fine wine. They are more like cheap cheese. Remember, they were likely written by a developer who really only cared about them until it had sold all of its units or lots (assume 10 years or less). So if your documents were written before 2008, it is unlikely that they have anything in them to deal with:
- Emotional Support Animals;
- Short Term Rentals (AirBnB was founded in 2008 in San Francisco);
- Medical Marijuana; or
- Unit or Lot Owners buying insurance to cover a large insurance deductibles that could be assessed against them if their actions cause an insured loss.
If you are seeing a lot of unfamiliar faces coming and going from a unit in your Association, it is possible that the owner is renting his unit on a short term basis. The Short Term Rental (“STR”) market is thriving worldwide, through such well-known websites as AirBnB and Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO) to name a couple. But what does this mean for your Association and how do you deal with it?