Skip to main content

Property Management Blog

HOA Short Term Rentals: How Should the HOA Board Manage Them?

HOA Short Term Rentals: How Should the HOA Board Manage Them?

As an HOA management company, one of the most pressing issues facing homeowner’s associations today is how to handle HOA Short Term Rentals.  Platforms like Airbnb and VRBO have made short-term rentals increasingly popular, providing homeowners with extra income but also causing problems for HOA’s, such as noise complaints, property damage, and parking issues.  Let's explore some best practices for HOA boards when managing short-term rentals.

Understand Your Local & State Laws 

Understanding local and state laws is a critical first step for HOA boards when addressing the issue of short-term rentals in their communities.  Laws and regulations regarding short-term rentals can vary greatly from one jurisdiction to another, with some cities and states implementing strict rules, while others may have more lenient or no specific regulations in place.

And remember state and local laws will always trump your HOA rules.

In some cases, the complexity of the laws may require consulting legal counsel.  Working with an attorney experienced in homeowners association law can provide valuable guidance and ensure that the HOA is operating within the confines of the law when developing policies and procedures related to short-term rentals.

Many townships may also require a business and a rental Licenses. For example, in Philadelphia to rent a property an owner must have both a business license and rental license to operate any rental property within the city. Every little township will have different rules so make sure your HOA Board is fully aware of these rules

Check Your HOA Governing Documents 

To ensure compliance with HOA short-term rental regulations, it is essential to review your governing documents.  These documents may already contain rules regarding short-term leasing, so it is important to check for any relevant language.  If your community is located in a popular vacation area, there may be a higher risk of potential violations.

Residents may be tempted to violate restrictions, and it may be challenging for the HOA to address privacy concerns.  Therefore, it is important to consider any existing loopholes in the language of your governing documents.  For example, if an owner is allowed to lease their home for a year but can terminate the lease before it expires, this may create a legal loophole that allows for HOA short-term rentals.

If the language in your governing documents is unclear or ambiguous, the HOA can amend them to prohibit short-term rentals.  However, any changes made must comply with the law.

Create Clear Rules and Regulations 

Here are a few examples of HOA rules that can be implemented for short-term rentals within a community:

  • Minimum rental period: Establish a minimum duration for short-term rentals (e.g., 7 days or 30 days) to discourage frequent turnover of guests and reduce potential disturbances.
  • Maximum occupancy: Set limits on the number of occupants allowed in a rental property to prevent overcrowding and minimize noise and parking issues.
  • Quiet hours: Enforce designated quiet hours (e.g., 10 PM to 7 AM) to minimize noise disturbances and ensure a peaceful living environment for all residents.
  • Parking restrictions: Specify parking rules for short-term rental guests, such as designating specific visitor parking spots or requiring parking permits to avoid overcrowding and maintain order.
  • Registration and permit requirements: Mandate homeowners to register their short-term rental property with the HOA and obtain a rental license or permit before listing it on rental platforms.
  • Insurance coverage: Require homeowners engaging in short-term rentals to maintain appropriate insurance coverage, protecting the community from potential liability issues.
  • Trash and recycling: Implement rules for proper disposal of trash and recycling by short-term rental guests to maintain cleanliness and order within the community.
  • Common area usage: Set guidelines for short-term rental guests' use of common areas and amenities, such as pools, gyms, and clubhouses, to prevent misuse and ensure a pleasant experience for all residents.

Creating clear rules and regulations is a crucial component of effectively managing short-term rentals within an HOA community.  By addressing key issues such as noise, parking, and property damage, the HOA board can establish expectations and guidelines for homeowners and renters to follow. These rules should be concise, specific, and easy to understand, ensuring that all community members are aware of their responsibilities and the consequences of non-compliance.

Communication is vital in this process.  The HOA board should use various channels for communicating their rules including having your HOA Property Manager spread the word and newsletters, community meetings, or social media, to disseminate the rules to all homeowners and renters.  By outlining penalties or fines for violations, the HOA board can reinforce the importance of adherence to the rules and maintain harmony within the community.

Enforce Rules Consistently 

Enforcing rules consistently and impartially is essential for maintaining a fair and harmonious community when dealing with short-term rentals. By treating all homeowners and renters equally, the HOA board can prevent accusations of bias or favoritism, which can undermine the board's credibility and authority.

Consistent enforcement requires the HOA board to establish a well-defined process for monitoring compliance, addressing violations, and imposing penalties or fines when necessary.  This process should be transparent and easily accessible to all community members.  By demonstrating a commitment to fair enforcement, the HOA board can foster a sense of trust and cooperation among homeowners, renters, and the board, ultimately promoting a more cohesive community.

Utilize Technology to Monitor Short-Term Rentals 

Utilizing technology to monitor short-term rentals is an effective way for HOA boards to stay informed and maintain control over rental activity within their communities.  These tools often leverage data from rental platforms like Airbnb and VRBO, allowing the HOA board to monitor the number of listings, the duration of stays, and other relevant information. With this data, the board can proactively address violations and enforce community rules.

How to Handle Rule Violations 

If a violation occurs, the HOA board should document the incident and follow a consistent enforcement process.  Depending on the severity of the violation, the board may issue a warning or a fine, or take legal action if necessary.

In cases where neighbors have complaints about short-term rental guests, the HOA board should encourage them to report the issue immediately.  The board should investigate the complaint thoroughly and document any evidence of the violation.  If necessary, the board can issue a warning or fine to the homeowner or rental guest, or even take legal action to address the issue.

Consider the Impact of Short-Term Rentals on the Community 

Evaluate the impact of short-term rentals on the community, considering potential disruptions to neighbors and increased wear and tear on common areas.  Carefully weigh these factors when making decisions about short-term rentals.

In some cases, HOA boards may want to consider alternatives to outright bans on short-term rentals. For example, some communities have successfully implemented programs that allow homeowners to engage in short-term rentals under certain conditions, such as obtaining a permit or paying a fee. These programs can provide homeowners with additional income while also addressing some of the concerns that the HOA board may have about short-term rentals.

HOA Short Term Rentals can be a divisive issue for HOA boards and homeowners alike. However, by understanding local laws and regulations, creating clear rules and regulations, considering insurance requirements, enforcing rules consistently, and considering alternatives, HOA boards can effectively manage the issue of short-term rentals in their communities and ensure that the community remains a desirable place to live.

About the Author 

Mike Lautensack is the owner/broker of Del Val Realty & Property Management ("Del Val") a FULL SERVICE Residential Property Management company with over 17 years' experience and managing over 4,800 single family homes, HOA units and multifamily properties in and around Philadelphia, PA. Mike is also an author of Landlord Secrets: A Complete System for Managing Your Rental Properties for Maximum Profit! Mike is a licensed real estate agent and principal broker of Del Val, member of the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM), holds the Accredited Residential Manager® (ARM®) designation through the Institute of Real Estate Management and holds the M100 accreditation with Community Association Institute (CAI).   

For more information on HOA management feel free to visit our website at