Why You Should Abide By Local STR Regulations

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As short-term rentals have increased in prevalence in communities, laws and regulations regarding STRs have done the same. And the trend towards legislating vacation rentals won’t be slowing down any time soon.

Some cities have fair regulations and others take a more heavy-handed approach. When over legislated, regulations can be so strict that short-term rentals are just about banned.

At TurnKey, we understand how frustrating this can be for vacation rental homeowners. This is part of the reason we encourage homeowners to become advocates for fair, balanced short-term rental policies. While it can be frustrating as a vacation rental homeowner to be up against a plethora of red tape, it will benefit you in the long run to adhere to the regulations in your area – here are 4 reasons why:

Provide Comfort to Guests

When a guest arrives to your home for their vacation, the last thing they want to have to worry about is possibly getting evicted due to their rental not operating legally.

Nishtha Ahuja, frequent traveler and a member of the TurnKey team, took a trip to New York this year with her partner. TurnKey doesn’t currently manage homes in NYC, so Nishtha chose to stay in an Airbnb that was managed by a homeowner. Part of the way through their stay, they received an eviction notice on the door because the homeowner was operating the Airbnb illegally.

“Even though it was not our faults as Airbnb users, we felt extremely uncomfortable,” Nishtha said. “What made things worse was that when we reported this incident to Airbnb’s customer service, they said as long as we didn’t feel in danger, there’s nothing they could do since it’s the host’s problem and responsibility. Not a great way to spend a vacation.”

Operating legally and with the proper permits can make your guests feel secure in their decision to rent your home.

Avoid Fines

Tickets for operating short-term rentals can range anywhere from a minor inconvenience to several thousands of dollars. Even if you operate a high-grossing vacation rental, those tickets and fines can add up. In Austin – where TurnKey is headquartered – homeowners can be charged $2,000 if 7 or more renters in their home are gathered outside after 10 p.m. In other cities, like Miami Beach, homeowners get charged $20,000 on their first violation of STR policy.

While these ordinances may not be fair to homeowners, they can come with a hefty price tag that might end up costing you more than you’re generating in revenue from your rental.

Build Credibility For The Industry

Opponents of short-term rentals like to paint STR owners and guests as people who have zero regard for their communities and local regulations. Blatantly ignoring local rules gives these groups more leverage and fodder to use against rental owners. By abiding by local regulations and taking the time to meet with legislators, lobby for fair STR laws, and showing commitment to the community where your rental is, it’ll give more credibility to homeowners like yourself and civilly fight back against the opposing side.

Be Able to Operate Your Rental

If fines don’t deter you from ignoring local regulations, losing the ability to operate your vacation rental might. Some cities have noticed that their current policies are going ignored – even when repeated violations can lead to revoked STR permits – and fines are seen as nothing more than a nuisance, instead of a deterrent. In situations like this, local governments are looking into prosecuting homeowners who violate local ordinances. This could make it impossible for homeowners to gain a short-term rental permit in their city again, not to mention it could be difficult to operate a vacation rental from jail.

While strict rental ordinances are far from ideal, blatantly disregarding the law isn’t the smartest option. Invest your time and resources into advocating for smart short-term rental policy, and you can avoid haven’t to stand up against overbearing laws.


TurnKey can help you keep your short-term rental compliant with local laws. Learn more here.

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