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Advice for renting one room in my two-family house

Hi everyone. I’m new to this forum and hoping to become an AirBNB host soon.

I own and live in one 3BR unit of a two-family house in Massachusetts, and I have a master bad & bath on the top floor of my unit that I’d like to rent. I just looked at the master deed for my condo association and was discouraged to see “no unit estate may be leased for less than 30 days.” Has anyone dealt with a clause like this in the context of renting a room out in the property you own and permanently live in?

My entire condo association is just two of us, me and my co-owner (who does not live here but rents her unit to regular long-term tenants). So theoretically we can easily change the master deed. Unfortunately we don’t have a very good working relationship, and I am not optimistic about persuading her to amend the master deed. But I wonder if there is an argument that renting one room while I’m living here is something less than “a unit estate,” to be treated differently than leasing my entire 3BR property to tenants.

I am sure there are other hosts in Massachusetts who own one unit in a 2-family and rent out one room in their home. I can see their listings actually. I could message them through AirBNB to ask their advice, but I wonder if that sort of messaging is not well received. And so I look forward to advice from you all.


Well I am not sure about the legalities but since there are only two of you in the association, and she isn’t around I don’t see a big problem. Her long term tenants don’t know what is on the master deed.

I would just do it. What’s the worst that could happen? She finds out and forces you to stop?

Don’t message the other owners. Just open for business and give it a go. You can always deactivate if it doesn’t work out.


I agree with Kona. Just go ahead and do it. As you said, you would not be renting the whole unit, just a bedroom while you’re in residence, so I don’t think you’re even violating the rules of your condo association.

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Does the other owner have any kind of power over you if you violate the restrictions? Can she put a lien on your property or something equally heinous? If not, go for it.

Also, you can always do longer term rentals, over 30 days, and then there’s no issue. But get a signed lease from the person subletting to avoid squatting issues.

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It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. :wink:

I own a whole home in MA, depending on where you are you might find that there is a lot of interest in 30+ days (if that ends up being your decision)… I get a lot of guests doing contract work and internships in the area, if you were to advertise to that market it might work!

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Fascinated by the folks suggesting that you ignore your Deed, the legal binding document between you and your fellow HOA trustee.

The language that you quoted [quote=“beh333, post:1, topic:7243”]
“no unit estate may be leased for less than 30 days.”

is very old-fashioned boiler plate language. This indicates that whoever converted the house to condos did not hire a good lawyer to write up the deed. That aside, I have recently been through just this with another property, and you will be happy to know that “unit estate” means the whole unit, not an individual room within the unit. Since I am not a lawyer, you really should talk to a good real estate lawyer. [Mine was amazing!! She is located in Cambridge. PM me if you would like her name. I can’t imagine a short phone conversation would cost you much. She and I totally rewrote the deed that we were presented with, and man is she sharp and her fee was reasonable.]

Anyhow, based on my in-depth 6-month immersion into all things Deed and Trusts, you should be able to do exactly what you want.


Well I don’t know if we are encouraging him to do something illegal, especially since the deed says it is the whole unit they are concerned about and not one room. I think he can certainly rent out a room in his house without being in violation of this deed. I’m just saying it’s easy enough to get it going and if for some reason the other member doesn’t like it, or it proves to be a violation she can ask him to stop. I think what he is asking to do seems ok.

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Thank you, everyone, for the helpful and encouraging replies. SMTucker, I will PM you about that lawyer. MsJTherrien, I am in Arlington and will explore the 30+ day contract/internship avenue too, because I think I’m in a good location for that. Artemis, the master deed does not provide anyone any extraordinary executive power that I know of in the event of a violation.

I will be back soon after I finish reading the thread about which sheets to buy for my new AirBNB :grinning:


My condo is also in Arlington… neighbors, perhaps.

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