About a week or so ago, the story came out with such glee: Oak Lawn was the top trending Airbnb neighborhood in the U.S., according to a list released by the super short term lodging app. You know, the one that lets you make a hotel out of your home. It was started by two guys in San Francisco who were trying to pay their rent.
Right after the holidays, Airbnb released its list of the top 16 trending neighborhoods for 2016, based on how much growth the site saw in bookings to those places during 2015. It was cool that Dallas was in the top ranking, because only two other neighborhoods in the U.S. made the list — Kaneohe on Oahu, Hawaii and Poncey-Highland in Atlanta.
(By the way, the top three neighborhoods listed by Airbnb are Chūō-ku in Osaka, Japan; Banglampoo in Bangkok, Thailand and Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. What do they have in common? Abhorantly high rents.)
Oahu? Wow, that Oak Lawn was up there with Oahu is pretty cool, right?
Well, wrong, actually, if you are a property owner. First of all, most of the area that is so highly sought after is really Uptown, not Oak lawn, where all the condos are. But no matter whether it’s Uptown or Oak Lawn, we are talking condos. And that has some homeowners blazing mad. Why? They don’t like that the tenants coming in and staying for night or a week at someone’s condo are getting gate security codes and all to be let in.
In other words, they are worried about SECURITY:
I am the HOA Board President of two small condo associations in the Oak Lawn area, both in the 50-ish unit size. Both complexes are older 60s construction converted in the early 80s and they are high density so information and rumors spread fast. It was recently brought to my attention that one of the complexes has two units (different owners) that are being used for short-term rentals through Airbnb.com and similar web sites and my own quick web search confirmed that. Owners and tenants are beginning to grumble about the transients even though there have been no problems with the short-term guests… yet, they say. Both complexes are gated so the access codes are given out to each guest so security is the number one concern among residents. The grass roots consensus is in opposition to allowing such rentals and the Board will address this at our next meeting.
My question to you and your rich supply of knowledgeable followers is if any other HOA Boards in the Metroplex have had to address this, their opinions on allowing or disallowing it, any City of Dallas zoning laws that may apply, or any HOA specialist attorney’s take on this concern. Our bylaws only state that a unit’s use is not for “hotel and transient use” without further definition, but that’s our obvious first line of defense to regulate or prohibit this activity.
I have Googled the daylights out of this subject and the nationwide consensus for HOAs allowing these rentals is overwhelmingly against it.
I know one thing: you had better well check with your homeowner’s insurance policy before you turn your home into an Airbnb hotel. The company started providing secondary insurance coverage a few years ago, and now provides (as of October 22, 2015) primary liability insurance coverage with a list of exclusions:
The Host Protection Insurance program does not apply to liability arising from (1) Intentional Acts including: (i) Assault and Battery or (ii) Sexual Abuse or Molestation – (by the host or any other insured party), (2) Loss of Earnings, (3) Personal and Advertising Injury, (4) Fungi or Bacteria, (5) Chinese Drywall, (6) Communicable Diseases (7) Acts of Terrorism, (8) Product Liability, (9) Pollution and (10) Asbestos, Lead or Silica.
Do you have a neighbor who is making a little extra income by leasing out his home? Does that make you uneasy? If condo by-laws state that a unit’s use is not for “hotel and transient use”, is that enough to put a stop to Airbnb rentals OR should language be tougher? Anyone out there have any experience with this in their condo association? The lines are open! By the way, a proposition to control Airbnb short term rentals was on the ballot in San Francisco last November, and it was shot down, 55% yes to 45% no. The prop would have limited all short-term rentals to 75 days a year. “Currently the limit is 90 days when the primary resident isn’t present, and unlimited if the home is occupied by the host at the same time. It also would have required hosts to show proof a unit was authorized for short-term rentals, and then submit quarterly reports on occupancy.”
“Tonight, in a decisive victory for the middle class, voters stood up for working families’ right to share their homes and opposed an extreme, hotel industry-backed measure,” said Airbnb in a statement.
Sharebetter SF, a coalition supporting Prop F, said in a statement losing was a disappointment, and that the the measure would not have been on the ballot if “Airbnb were only about people renting spare rooms.”
“The fact is rampant abuse of short-term rentals is taking much needed housing off the market and harming our neighborhoods,” the group said.
Launched in 2008, Airbnb is valued at $25 billion, one of the most valuable private companies in the world. The company spent nearly $8 million to defeat the San Fran proposition, according to the San Francisco Ethics Commission. Supporters of the prop, such as Sharebetter SF, raised less than a million dollars.