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May 27, 2016

The Legalities of Short Term Renting

With a recent surge in the number of short-term vacation rental options available, many people are interested in learning more about it. One of the main questions people want to know is, “is this legal?”

There are quite a few cities that are now struggling with this issue. Those against short-term rentals state that the transient renters often disrupt otherwise peaceful neighborhoods and have a negative impact on a number of local businesses, such as hotels. However, those for short-term rentals have contended that they have the constitutionally protected right, as a property owner, to use this private property without having to worry about government interference.

That still leaves the question – is this practice legal, and what are the specific legalities of it?

There are some municipalities, counties, and cities that have placed legal restrictions on short-term rentals. These can vary quite a bit from place to place. In some cities, the restrictions in place are very severe and result in most short-term rental situations to be illegal. For example:

New York: Any residential property that is located in a multiple residential home building (such as apartments) are only able to be used for “permanent residence purposes.”

New Orleans: Prohibits any property owner from renting their apartment or home to anyone for a period less than 60 days in the French Quarter area and 30 days in other areas of the city.

San Luis Obispo County in California: This prohibits a rental home from being able to be located within 200 feet of the same type of rental. There are other occupancy limits.

It is important to note that the restrictions related to short-term rentals that are described above are enforced haphazardly at best. This is usually due to a lack of manpower. There are not many cities of municipalities that don’t put much effort into this issue.

For those who live in a planned development community, cooperative or condominium, their property is governed by deed-like restrictions. These are often referred to as covenants, conditions, and restrictions, or more commonly, bylaws.

Getting to know the laws and regulations for short-term rentals in your area will help you know what is legal and what should be avoided. There is no question that short-term rentals are popular, but staying within the regulations is smart. This will help you avoid fines and other types of consequences that often go along with not operating under the law. Keeping the information here in mind will help you better understand the realm of short-term rentals.

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