Buying property is often an investment. Even if you plan to live in the house that you buy, you are still placing a considerable amount of money on the line, and you may be able to sell for a profit later. On the other hand, you may purchase property with the intention of renting it on short-term rental sites like HomeAway or AirBnB. These days, property owners are making substantial sums from their short-term rentals.
Of course, not all areas in Pennsylvania allow short-term rental of residential property. In particular, some property owners may face pushback from homeowners’ associations.
Why are short-term rentals undesirable?
Often, HOAs consider short-term rentals undesirable because the members fear that the integrity of the community could be at risk. If renters are loud, obnoxious, destructive or cause other issues, individuals who live permanently in a community may become displeased with the area. It could also deter prospective homebuyers from purchasing a home in the neighborhood. An HOA could also face the risk of increased insurance rates if the risk of damage or injury due to short-term renters is high.
What if you already bought property?
If you have purchased property specifically for a short-term rental and are now facing pushback or restrictions, you may wonder what you can do. First, you may want to review any homeowners’ association covenants you agreed to when you purchased the property. If you did not receive any covenants or if restrictions on short-term rentals only appeared after you purchased your property, you may have cause to fight the restrictions. It is also important to determine whether the HOA’s restriction is enforceable under Pennsylvania law.
The option also exists to sell the property if you find that you cannot use it for short-term rental and that was your sole purpose of purchasing the property. You may want to consider this a last resort in the event that you do not find any way around the restrictions that an HOA may be trying to enforce.
Can you fight back?
As mentioned, there may be state laws that prevent an HOA from restricting your ability to use your house as short-term rental property, or you may have other extenuating circumstances that exempt you from these restrictions. If you believe you do, you may need to look into your legal options for asserting your rights as a property owner.