Condo Media - May 2018 - 22

SHORT-TERM RENTALS, Long-Term Concerns
WORDS MATTER
The court's admonition underscores the
advice we offer our condominium association clients: If you want to prohibit
short-term rentals in your community,
do so specifically and explicitly through
language in your governing documents.
If your documents don't contain that
language, persuade owners to amend the
master deed or the bylaws to add it.
As the court decisions quoted earlier
indicate, restricting the property to
residential uses may not be sufficient;
the restrictive language should specify a
minimum acceptable rental period. We
suggest no less than 30 days; many of our
clients go further and prohibit renting for
less than six- or twelve-month periods.
We also recommend requiring owners to
rent the entire unit-not just a portion of
it-to avoid the "rooming house" effect.
This would preclude an owner with a
three-bedroom unit from renting the two
extra rooms to paying guests.

Well-drafted restrictions and hefty
fines to enforce them may not be enough
to curb the appetite for short-term rentals, however. Short-term rentals can be
extremely lucrative, and some owners
may view the fines as a cost of doing
business that they are willing to accept.
Boards that want to enforce rental
restrictions may have to go to court in
order to do so.
REGULATING RENTALS
It is also possible that some owners-and
possibly a sizable number of them-are
already renting their units to vacationers
or want to preserve the option to do so.
Before taking or recommending any
action, the board should assess owners'
preferences. If owners don't want an outright ban on all short-term rentals, you
might consider amending the governing
documents to impose restrictions that
minimize the negative effects communities often experience.

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22

CONDOMEDIA

We suggest, among others:
■ Require owners (or an owner's agent)
to meet renters personally onsite for
each rental. Among other benefits,
this will allow owners to make sure
the party of two that rented their unit
hasn't grown to a party of 22. It will
also prevent renters from wandering
around the property, not knowing
how to get access to the building or
other amenities.
■ Require owners to explain association
rules to tenants and to verify that they
have done so.
■ Require owners to have insurance that
will cover their guests. Also make sure
the association's master policy will
cover any issues related to short-term
rentals. If the insurer classifies the
activity as commercial, rather than
residential use, the policy may not
provide coverage for a renter who is
injured or who injures someone else.
Even if the owner has insurance, the
association will almost certainly be
targeted in any litigation.
■ Have written policies describing the
obligations of owners who rent their
units. You will want to specify, for
example, that owners will be responsible for any problems created by their
"guests" or any damage they cause.
You might also want to consider
adopting a policy similar to that in the
Cambridge ordinance described earlier,
requiring owners to occupy a unit in the
same building or in a building adjacent
to the one in which they own a shortterm rental unit.
Proximity won't prevent problems,
but it will make it easier for owners to
deal with any problems their tenants
create-and will make those problems
a lot harder for owners to ignore.
■ MARK EINHORN, ESQ., IS A
PARTNER WITH THE LAW FIRM
MARCUS ERRICO EMMER & BROOKS .



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Condo Media - May 2018

Contents
Condo Media - May 2018 - Cover1
Condo Media - May 2018 - Cover2
Condo Media - May 2018 - Contents
Condo Media - May 2018 - 2
Condo Media - May 2018 - 3
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