So you’ve got your vacation rental business up and running, your guests love it, and your calendar is filled with reservations. There’s just one problem: your neighbors detest your short-term rental. If this is a familiar frantic, you’re not alone. Many hosts find that their vacation rental’s biggest challenge is the residents beside it.
Some neighbors find vacation rentals akin to parties and irresponsibility. It’s up to you to change their mind and show them that your vacation rental can actually be a benefit to the neighborhood. If you’re in a stand-off between your neighbors regarding your short-term rental, it’s time to take action. We’ve outlined the steps for addressing the situation and remedying the problem of vacation rental or Airbnb neighbor complaints so your business can continue to thrive without disrupting those next door.
Before addressing how to deal with unhappy neighbors, let’s talk about if they have the right to be angry in the first place. What type of recourse can neighbors take against vacation rentals? The answer can be layered.
This is where much of the HOA debate lies. Can HOA’s or neighborhood regulations restrict a vacation rental from operating? There’s been a shift in recent years to limit or ban vacation rentals in neighborhoods. Following the Eager vs. Peasley case, where the court found that short-term rentals fall under “commercial use,” which is therefore outside of “single-family residential purposes,” many HOA’s have clung to this ruling and used it as grounds to ban vacation rentals. It’s imperative that you check your Home Owner Association’s rulebook before starting a vacation rental business. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a legal battle with your neighborhood.
Vacation rental restrictions stretch beyond your neighborhood too. Make sure you’ve checked with your locality and town hall to see what conditions, if any, exist. Oftentimes, cities require that the vacation rental is registered or obtains a certain license to operate. If you’ve followed all the legal checks, your neighbors won’t have much to base their claim on.
Having angry neighbors isn’t usually a one-off instance. If your guests have had a string of parties or late arrivals, then the people next door might be more agitated about the continuation of this happening versus the mere existence of your vacation rental. Keep this in mind when dealing with neighbors’ complaints. Even if the vacation rental is allowed, breaking noise ordinances, neighborhood curfews, and parking regulations might be another avenue for legal action. Just as if you were the one residing in the home, your guests need to follow the neighborhood rules as well, or your neighbors might be able to press charges on these grounds.
How to deal with short term rental complaints from your neighbors
Being in good graces with those nearby is important for many reasons. Allyship for your vacation rental means an extra set of eyes to check on your property, a warm ambiance for your guests, and an overall good rapport with your neighborhood. With that said, it’s not guaranteed that your neighbors will be so approving of your vacation rental. Normally, the relationship between neighbors, when it comes to a short-term rental, isn’t apparent until it’s sour. If you’re trying to build or repair your ties with your neighbors, we’ve got the steps outlined below.
Speak in person
This might be the most critical step to making amends with your neighbors. One of the reasons neighbors hate vacation rentals is because of their impersonality. Many people move to neighborhoods to have a sense of community. If your vacation rental is full of passersby and you never make an effort to introduce yourself, they might feel like they’re living amongst strangers. Taking the step to talk to your neighbors in person will help to humanize the interactions and eliminate any room for misinterpretation.ç
Remember that you are the one profiting from this business, not them. It might feel like an encroachment on their space, so meeting your neighbors face-to-face will help to show them that you’re considerate. Treat your neighbors as you would your guests because, at the end of the day, they’re affected by your vacation rental business too.
Refer to your vacation rental rules and HOA restrictions
If meeting in person didn’t help to ease tensions, you might need to fall back on your neighborhood rules. As stated, your vacation rental needs to be in full compliance with HOA and local laws. If you’ve already ensured this, it might be helpful to show your neighbors that the operation of your vacation rental business doesn’t break any rules.
Tread carefully, as you don’t want it to seem like you’re throwing proof at them. Gently highlight that your vacation rental isn’t doing anything wrong or illegal and that you’re happy to work with them to find a solution.
Ban events and parties
It’s probably not the existence of your vacation rental that’s bothersome, but rather what happens there. Nobody wants a bass-thump in their living room every weekend, nor do they want strangers taking up all the cul-de-sac parking. You might need to reassess the rules listed in your vacation rental house rules so as not to further the tension.
Setting an age limit, adding a noise clause, and prohibiting parties might scare away some, but ultimately this will help to eliminate troublesome guests and keep your neighborhood problems at bay.
Implement reasonable check-in and check-out times
Even if your guests aren’t party animals, the sound of luggage wheeling over the sidewalk at 6 in the morning for red-eye flights or late-night check-ins can drive your neighbors mad, and rightfully so! Only allowing reasonable check-in and check-out times prevents any unnecessary noise outside of your home at unreasonable hours.
You can even take this a step further by only allowing check-ins during the weekend. This would not only keep things tranquil in your neighborhood, but it also might encourage longer lengths of stay rather than one-night bookings.
Avoid being a part of the Airbnb horror stories by keeping your neighbors happy and calm. It might seem like an impossible task to please both neighbor and guest, but a happy medium does exist. By following all the HOA and local rules precisely, you eliminate any potential legal troubles with neighbors, but maintaining good ties with your neighbors should exist outside of the courthouse as well.
Only allowing guests who would be good neighbors, although temporary, will help those who live nearby to feel a little better about your vacation rental. Ultimately, people want to live in peace, so make sure your property and guests don’t disturb that.
Disclaimer: Lodgify is an Airbnb Preferred Software Partner. This post, including any claims or statements within, is solely from Lodgify and is not endorsed by, directly affiliated with, authorized, or sponsored by Airbnb in any way.
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