Short Term Rentals and Enforcement Related Issues
Over the last decade, the short term rental boom has changed the landscape – for both those seeking such rentals as well as the owners of investment and other properties that have the ability to provide such rentals. As more and more city, county, and state governments enforce laws, that are either in development or that have unclear enforcement measures, it is increasingly important for owners of such properties to be careful and ensure that they follow all appropriate regulations.
Short term rentals generally refer to stays that are under one month in duration and are increasingly in residential properties (homes, condominiums, townhouses, etc.). The renter rents the property, usually through a third party booking portal, for a specific stay, usually between 3-5 days and the property owner receives payment from the renter for such a stay. Generally, third party websites facilitate the transaction. Issues arise, however, when the owner of the property does not have the licensing needed (or does not even know such licensing is needed).
Due to the pressures of neighborhoods disliking and complaining about short term rentals (and the activities such as parties that may take place in such rentals), government officials have started to create and enforce regulations preventing such short term rentals from operating. The first step that such officials generally take is to undertake research on a property suspected to be a short term rental with such research including but not being limited to talking to neighbors of the property, knocking on door and asking the occupants if they are doing a short term rental, checking websites/portals of short term rentals to see if the property is listed, etc. The second step is notifying the owner of the property or otherwise posting a notice at the property regarding the violations and allowing the property owner to correct such violations within a limited amount of time. Should the property owner not take the appropriate measures, the government officials can send administrative subpoenas to third parties (such as the websites listing the property for short term rental) and obtain information regarding the number of times the property held short term rentals, money earned from such rentals, etc. Then, the government officials can seek a multitude of penalties and enforcement actions against the property and/or the property owners including but not limited to fines, citations, etc.
Due to the recent advent of many short term rental laws and regulations, it is unclear to many property owners whether they are allowed to have short term rentals, if they are allowed then what the procedures are to do so legally, and if they are not allowed to do so then what can they do to prevent violations of applicable laws/regulations. Additionally, it is difficult to determine the best course of action once notices or other communications are received from government officials/entities potentially charging you hundreds or thousands of dollars each day for violations.
It is very important to have an attorney review the ability to do short term rentals at a specific property and to deal with code enforcement and other regulatory government officials to minimize liability and protect yourself. Raich Law has successfully handled short term rental issues for many homeowners and can assist in reviewing your options. It is very important to seek help as quickly as possible from an experienced attorney like one of Raich Law’s attorneys because the deadlines to respond/deal with/handle issues and disputes regarding short term rentals are very short. If you need help regarding your short term rental, feel free to reach out to us for a free consultation.