2016 may be coming to an end, but relevant news for Condo Associations hasn’t stopped. December has been just as interesting as the rest of the year, with the short term rental battle continuing, and some interesting legislature in New Jersey around community associations. Here is the December 2016 Condo Association News for your enjoyment.
Heather Somerville, Rueters, December 7, 2016
The short-term rental battles are continuing, with some communities, like New York, moving to heavily restrict services like Airbnb, and others, like the California Coastal Commission, encouraging their adoption. Airbnb has worked a new angle, releasing a policy guidance for governments to optimally work with Airbnb. The guidance includes suggestions on how to craft rental laws that minimize disruption to neighbors while still allowing the service, and how to collect lodging taxes from participants.
This is an interesting move. It is clear that many communities are pushing back against home-sharing services. However, it is equally clear that there are many consumers – both renters and landlords – who favor them. Just as Associations need to determine good policies, so do communities. Simply screaming “not in my backyard” is not a sustainable approach, just as Airbnb forcing their lobbying powers on communities is not sustainable. Creating solid policies which reflect voters’ will is a good way to move the discussion forward.
Press Release reported by the Cape May County Herald, December 8, 2016
New Jersey is looking to institute standards for how Homeowner’s Associations carry out certain aspects of their business. The proposed bill would standardize how recall elections are handled, provide standards for regular elections of Board members, and dictate the size of Boards for small Associations. Alleged violations of these processes could be appealed to the Department of Community Affairs.
Overall this bill looks like a good deal for Owners. The issue of Associations being run like mini-fiefdoms is a common complaint. Instituting standards which are fair for both Owners and Boards is an important step towards creating transparent communities. The bill in question still needs to be voted upon by the full New Jersey legislature, so time will tell if it passes or not.
Michelle Ervin, Remi Network, December 14, 2016
The Airbnb battles continues north of the border, where a ruling in Canada may have significant implications for short-term rentals. An Owner was in a dispute with their Board over a rule relating to short-term rentals – the Owner wanted to use their unit for services like AIrbnb. The Board offered that the Owner could challenge the rule with a petition, but instead the Owner went right for legal action. Ultimately, a judge found that not only was the rule legitimate, but that the Condo Declaration – one of the key founding documents – had language which restricted units to “single-family use.” The judge argued that short-term rentals is beyond the scope of single-family use.
“Single-family use” is very broad and likely could have other impacts that restricts how real estate can be used. While this is a big victory for those against Airbnb, I do believe it will ultimately be challenged.
That’s all for the December 2016 Condo Association News! Did you know that you can get even more news articles by signing up for our mailing list? Mailing list subscribers get monthly bonus news stories and analysis. Join the list today!