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Some Retirees Making ‘No Nearby Airbnb’ a Priority

As the short-term rentals gain more notoriety, an uptick in homebuyers, notably retirees, have put “an area than bans Airbnbs” on their list of desired features.

NEW YORK – Retirees seeking peace and quiet are starting to prefer neighborhoods that ban short-term rental properties as they seek quiet, peaceful areas where they can connect with their neighbors and avoid constant activity from renters. But the properties that retirees and short-term renters desire are often in the same location near resort areas.

“The vast majority of U.S. short-term rentals are in destination/resort and small town/rural locations around the country, of which many are the owner’s second homes,” says Jamie Lane, vice president of research at AirDNA, an analyst firm for the short-term rental industry, in a Wall Street Journal interview. From the beginning of 2015 to the beginning of 2020, housing units rented on short-term sites such as Airbnb and Vrbo surged from 450,000 to 1 million, Lane notes.

Short-term rental properties are becoming more common as homeowners look to supplement their incomes, and some future retirees buy a property now but open it up to short-term renters so they can generate revenue until they’re ready to move in. But since more than one future retiree has that idea, many discover once they make their move that living close to other short-term rentals is not appealing, real estate professionals say. Frequent parties, noise and lines of parked cars are homeowners’ top complaints about living near short-term rentals.

In response, some resort communities are taking a stand and banning short-term rentals of less than six months.

Homeowner Wes Swenson says he was drawn to properties in Utah that offered gated communities with strong rules and enforcement when it comes to banning short-term rentals. “I have nothing against short-term renting in principle, but I don’t want to live somewhere that allows it,” Swenson told The Wall Street Journal. “It makes life too unpredictable.”

Laws and homeowner association rules governing short-term rentals vary depending on location. Some are governed by municipal ordinances that can mandate rental minimums or require that housing providers get a permit. Homeowners associations also may be able to prohibit them.

Homebuyers who find a potential new home now often turn to Airbnb and Vrbo to see if there are any short-term rental listings nearby.

The Wall Street Journal recommends that home shoppers call a city’s planning department to ask about local short-term rental laws. They should also read the covenants, conditions and restrictions document of any community they’re considering to see if there is a policy banning or limiting short-term rentals.

Source: “For These Retirees, Short-Term Rental Bans Aren’t Just a Perk – They’re a Must,” The Wall Street Journal (Feb. 25, 2021)

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