Responding to STR Regulation Changes in Your Community

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Rules and regulations surrounding short-term rentals vary widely across the U.S. – legislation can be nuanced down to the neighborhood or even cross streets.

Some areas have settled on STR laws but in many areas, the debates are just beginning. While every STR homeowner has the ability to advocate for STRs in their community and preempt regulation changes, some changes are out of a homeowner’s hands.

It is in every homeowner’s best interest to operate legally in their community, even if they disagree with the regulations. A homeowner should always stay ahead of possible regulation changes, and be prepared to react accordingly based on what passes.

Here are 4 things every STR homeowner should do after STR legislation passes in their community:

Read Everything

From the bill itself to the city council meeting notes to the written reports from the local paper, read it all. Most bills or ordinances that pass are not black and white – there are nuances and amendments that can alter how the regulation will affect you. For example – in Tennessee, the regulation change that passed in March did not pass in the same form it was introduced in. Reading information from a variety of reputable sources will help you fully understand what is changing in your community.

Know Your Deadlines

When a bill passes, a time frame usually comes with it. As you do your research, mark down key deadlines associated with the regulation change. From here, you’ll know how much time you’ll have to apply for additional permits, make updates to your home, or anything else that requires action. For example – when Seattle passed new STR zoning laws in December 2017, the bill noted that changes wouldn’t go into effect until January 1, 2019.

Meet With Local Groups

After you’ve done your research, you might still find yourself feeling confused or at a loss of what to do next. This is where reaching out to other STR homeowners can help you decipher your next steps. Reach out to the local advocacy groups in your city and your homeowners association to work together to process information and formulate a plan going forward – can the bill be reversed or amended? Are there any loopholes? Is your home actually affected by the policy change?

Talk to a Property Manager

Whether or not a property manager is actively managing your vacation rental home, giving a local property manager a call could help shed some light on any legal changes and give you information you wouldn’t have come across otherwise. At TurnKey, our local General Managers embed themselves in the STR conversations in the cities they manage – attending council meetings, donating time and money to advocacy groups, and mobilizing STR homeowners.

While it’s hard to know the outcome of a piece of legislation until it passes or fails, staying ahead of any possible regulation changes in your community is the best way to start preparing your response. If your home is in a market where STRs are hotly debated, it might be worth partnering with a property manager like TurnKey that can stay on top of regulation changes for you and ensure your home stays in-compliance.


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