Court decisions hold that short-term rentals are not a "business or commercial use" under typical, basic HOA declaration wording
Two very recent cases bolster the other extant cases in holding, uniformly, that a homeowner's engaging in short-term rentals with a residential dwelling house is not a "business or commercial use" under typical, basic HOA wording that grants express leasing rights but does not otherwise regulate leasing. Typically, the only restriction found in declarations -- especially older ones that HOA's haven't amended -- is for "business or commercial uses." That's a common municipal ordinance restriction too. With the rise of HomeAway, VRBO, and other rental and home-sharing sites, short-term renting is a contentious issue. The problem in the HOA context is that many declarations are simply silent as to any leasing restrictions, leading the average homeowner to believe he or she has an untrammeled right to lease out a home for whatever term, short or long, so long as the renters aren't causing problems. If an HOA declaration is silent, an HOA needs to amend its declarations to address the issue. A silent declaration does not allow an HOA to take away rental rights. Read More...
HOA's often forbid "commercial" activities or "non-residential" activities. The new reality of the internet-connected world is that home-based business are important to the new economy, can be compatible with the residential character of a neighborhood, are usually lower-impact on the environment, and offer new freedoms for individuals. HOA's need to re-think their approach to this issue and stop bludgeoning homeowners with lawsuits that threaten their livelihoods. Read More...
The governing documents (CC&R's -- covenants, conditions, and restrictions) and governing laws for the running of homeowners associations (HOA's) are too legalistic, abstruse, and technical for non-lawyers (i.e., your neighbors) to understand and enforce. That's why lawyers and property managers are getting rich at the expense of homeowners stuck with HOA's. We elect local governments and hire local officials to handle the complexities of property rights. HOA's should handle parties, beautification, and gripe sessions, not foreclosures and restrictions on others' freedoms. Read More...