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What should you know about short-term rental zoning?

On Behalf of | Oct 6, 2022 | Airbnb

Owning a Pennsylvania rental property can be one of the most lucrative investments one can make. However, the management of these properties can be complicated, and there are often laws and zoning regulations that can impact how you use the property. As you consider investing in a short-term rental property, you will benefit from understanding how you can protect your financial interests and learning about the specific zoning laws that may impact you.

Zoning laws can determine how you can use your own property, and a clear understanding of these laws may help prevent unnecessary complications. Short-term rentals are more prominent in tourist areas and larger cities, and zoning restrictions may impede your desire to use your residence or investment property in this way. Sometimes, local governments adjust their current zoning restrictions after an increase in tourists and short-term rentals in the area.

Considerations for zoning

When considering changes to existing zoning designations, local governments may look at different factors that could affect the area and specific neighborhood. Noise, safety and the impact on permanent residents are also critical points. Some of the important issues that may ultimately affect short-term rental zoning laws or fall under zoning mandates include:

  • Safety concerns, including who handles emergencies at the property
  • Off-street parking and number of cars allowed per residence
  • Nuisance and noise provisions
  • Limits to the number of occupants permitted in the residence
  • Proof of compliance with codes, such as fire codes and adequate water service
  • Limitations on the specific locations of short-term rentals

It is also possible that a local government will establish a way for neighbors and local residents to post complaints should short-term renters cause issues in the community. Some governments may also have the ability to rescind permission for the owner to use the property as a short-term rental.

Before you invest or list your property

There are various legal considerations you would be wise to take into account when preparing to invest in real estate for the purpose of using it as a short-term rental or listing your current home as a short-term rental. Zoning designations are one of the many factors that may impact your ability to use the property as you wish. To understand your legal options and how you can protect yourself, it may benefit you to speak with a knowledgeable professional before you move forward.