Archives For Rules & Regulations

"Caution Tape" on flickr, by Picture Perfect Pose (CC BY 2.0)Not every vacation rental owner has a tale to share about The Nightmare Guest – but plenty do. While most guests come and go with few if any issues, owners occasionally find themselves facing some level of destruction or disruption.

Bad situations don’t need to be monumental, either. Finding out someone was puffing away in your non-smoking house, or that Fluffy made a mess on the carpet that nobody mentioned, can just as easily raise your expenses and blood pressure.

Even if you’ve never had a problem, building more hands-on customer service into your management process can help stave off problems in future and create a more positive experience for great guests who are excited to visit.

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"Start Here" by Robert Kilman on flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)You’ve decided that turning your second home into a vacation rental is the right move for you.

Now what?

Getting your first reservation on the calendar is an exciting time, but — as you probably figured out while you were deciding to rent your property — there are things you need to do before you can throw your doors open.

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vacation rental disabilities ADA

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), enacted in 1990, federally mandates that public buildings and workplaces must be accessible to persons with disabilities. It applies to hotels, resorts, campgrounds and public parks — but does it apply to vacation rentals?

The short answer is usually “No”, but there are a few exceptions.

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lake tahoe countiesWhether attracted by the skiing during the winter months, or by hiking and sandy beaches when the weather is warmer, Lake Tahoe is one of the top vacation destinations in the U.S.

That makes it a popular location for vacation home owners, too, and there are more than 4,000 rentals listed – on both sides of the California/Nevada border – through alone.

If you have, or are considering, a vacation rental in the Lake Tahoe area, what do you need to know? Most importantly, that it’s one lake with many different rules! Make sure you’re clear which jurisdiction your home is located in and which rules apply to your particular property.

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orlando vacation rentalFlorida is one of a handful of places in the U.S. where vacation homes are a standard vacation stay option. As such, the rules and regulations in Orlando and Kissimmee are fairly set, though not always straightforward. If you intend to comply with them, the first hurdle is the biggest: the Orlando and Kissimmee zoning laws. Take note that Orlando is part of Orange county, while neighboring Kissimmee, is actually part of Osceola county. Only certain areas allow short-term rentals (less than 180 days), and even within those areas you may need to get approval.

If you’re in the right zone, here’s a quick rundown of the licenses, taxes and fees required to rent your vacation home in Orlando and Kissimmee. Continue Reading…

breckenridge downtownIn many Colorado resort towns, the majority of homes in a neighborhood are second homes. Over the past 10+ years, as vacation rentals grew in popularity, so did the debate about taxes and community ambience. Should homes rented out as vacation rentals pay taxes? How do we protect the small community feel, while still encouraging the vacation rental business owners to thrive? Laws were enacted and city regulations documented. Many towns now actively enforce compliance, including Breckenridge, whose legislation is designed to keep it the quaint ski village it’s been known for.

To operate a vacation rental in Breckenridge, you must obtain the proper licenses, follow certain rules, pay annual and biennial fees and collect 11.675% in taxes from your guests. Here’s how it breaks down:

Town of Breckenridge Licensing & Taxes

Accommodation Unit License

Short-term rentals in Breckenridge are defined as rentals less than 30 consecutive days at a time. To comply with local laws, you must get an Accommodation Unit License and pay a yearly fee. The fee ranges from $75 to $175 depending on the number of bedrooms in your home. If you purchase a property that was previously used as a vacation rental, the accommodation license and fee are transferrable, and good until fees are due again the following year. Continue Reading…

maui villaWith more than 16,000 vacation rental units, Maui is one of the top spots for rentals in the United States.

What do you need to know about rules and regulations if you’re considering a rental in what locals describe as Maui nō ka ʻoi (“Maui is the best”)?

There are two kinds of vacation rental properties in the County of Maui (which includes the populated islands of Maui, Moloka’i and Lana’i):

  • “Transient Vacation Rentals”, or TVRs, which are limited to approved zones: resort areas and business districts.
  • “Short-Term Rental Homes”, or STRHs, are rentals in residential areas — and weren’t considered legal until May 2012.

Buying a rental in a resort area

Vacation rentals in resort areas are considered TVRs, described by the County as “rental of a housing unit for less than 180 days.” Continue Reading…

san francisco rentalsUrban environments tend to be trickier for vacation rental owners. In San Francisco, city administrators are pressed to protect the tight rental market for residents of varying income levels while recognizing the new reality of short-term rentals. The fact that Airbnb is headquartered in San Francisco has made it a heated political issue.

Technically, short-term rentals in San Francisco are illegal as spelled out in Administrative Code 41A, which includes corporate rentals. Enforcement, however, is passive; and last year the city decided to apply the 14% transient occupancy tax (also called hotel tax) to vacation rentals (defined in San Francisco as occupancy of less than 30 days). In addition to the hotel tax, you must remit a 1% or 1.5% tourism fee depending on your zone.

In theory you can become a licensed operator by obtaining a B&B permit, but it’s reportedly a lengthy (years) and expensive (thousands of dollars) process that isn’t guaranteed to result in success.

If you do get reported, you will be asked to discontinue renting before any legal action is taken. If you don’t stop, and you are found in violation, fines are $1,000 per rental day plus legal fees.

The debate rages on, though, so stay tuned. The board of supervisors recently amended the code so that nonprofits that protect housing rights can initiate proceedings against short-term rentals and keep the fines. This could increase the number of complaints being filed unless other agreements are reached to protect the number of affordable long-term rentals.

The information above is intended for informational purposes only; it is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. If you need legal advice, you should consult a licensed attorney in your area.

photo credit: Thomas Hawk