Short-term rentals spread like a virus when they infect a neighborhood.  Short-term rental websites and consultants have entire teams of highly-compensated, highly-skilled individuals whose mission is to increase the number of homes offered.

Below are proven steps for fighting short-term rentals.  Some people are not comfortable doing all of them.  This usually happens when the first short-term rental is run by someone that lives in the neighborhood and does it occasionally.  If you find yourself in this position, please take a moment to consider that your neighbor has chosen to engage in an activity for personal gain that is often illegal and harmful to neighborhoods.  By not treating the infection quickly and aggressively, it will spread.

One last note before diving into the steps:  They have the resources that come with billion-dollar valuations but you can win.  The properties that you and your homeowners are defending have combine valuation in the trillions.  And, you can vote.

  • Make your opposition to short-term rentals visible in your neighborhood.  Yard and window signs are very effective.  Signs prompt your neighbors to look closely at the issue and act as well as create an inhospitable environment for short-term rentals.  Signs also show politicians where you stand.
  • Send a letter to the short-term rental owner explaining the negative impact that their business is having on your ability to enjoy your home.  Keep a copy for your records.
  • Send letters or emails to your councilmember/alderperson, city attorney and mayor.  These are the people that control zoning laws and enforcement.
  • Confirm that HOA by-laws and CC&R agreements prohibit short-term rentals and demand that the board enforces them if applicable.
  • Read the Harvard and Penn State studies so that you have facts at your disposal when questioned.
  • Keep a detailed log of all negative events, interactions with the homeowner and impact on your life.  The log will be invaluable when working with enforcement agencies or litigating.
  • Complain to code enforcement every time there is a problem.  Keep detailed notes about your call with code enforcement including the agent’s name, time, content of conversation and next steps.
  • Sue the short-term rental owner in small claims court.  Ask for damages to compensate for your loss of sleep, enjoyment and use of your property.  Your detailed log will serve as evidence.  The cost is around $50.  You and each of your neighbors can file individual suits.
  • Attend, organize and promote short-term rental opposition events.  Every level of government and civic groups are discussing this issue.  Many of the meetings are poorly attended because interested people do not know about them.  Please add any events that you know about to our calendar so other opponents can see them.
  • Understand that short-term rentals rely on positive reviews from their guests in order to stay in business and many guests will not know about their negative impact unless educated.
  • Save copies of advertisements for the short-term rental for use as evidence.