Help with Cranky Neighbor/Townhouse Association Issues

Our next door neighbor is a professional crank and has been complaining about us having an Airbnb since we started. She is the only one we know who has a problem (she just doesn’t like people she doesn’t know living next to her.)

She has an item on our next townhouse association board meeting agenda to discuss Airbnbs in the complex. Currently in the townhouse rules, there is nothing that keeps us from hosting an Airbnb.

Anyone have any suggestions about dealing with Townhouse boards and Airbnbs (BTW, we live in San Jose CA, if that helps.) We want to go in armed with all the info we need.

Thanks for any help you can give.

Now, off to google, but I thought I would ask you experts first!

What kind of listing do you have, entire townhouse or is it a room in the home where you are living?

Entire townhouse. Thanks!

Well, that was bound to happen. I don’t know what to tell you but it is up to the condo association and more often than not they are against such a thing. I own a house and my next door neighbor is a nutcase complaining about my ABB to anyone who’d listen. But she can’t do much more beyond that because I’m legal, pay taxes and there is no condo involved.
It also depends on what the law says about short rentals in your city. You should go there and defend yourself but be prepared for an uphill battle. They might be more than one residents who don’t like that.

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In my experience, there are always a very small number of people in every HOA that are always complaining about something. I assume you already know some of the neighbor’s complaints. I would call the president of the HOA and see if you can get any more details on what any other HOA members have complained about. For a townhouse, I would expect the common complaints to be noise, parking, and misuse of the common areas. Go to the meeting prepared with counter arguments and proposals. E.g. let people know that you don’t allow parties and you tell guests to be quiet between 10pm and 6am. Make it clear that these problems can happen with owners and long-term renters as well. Propose that owners should have their personal contact info on file with the HOA and also provided to the neighbors so that any problems can be addressed quickly.

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First, make sure you understand San Jose’s laws regarding Airbnb and go well armed with all the information.

https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/870/san-jose-ca

There are limits on the number of guests and how many days you can rent out. If your neighbor presents evidence that you’ve rented out 192 days this year already, you’re screwed. Make sure you have adequate insurance so they can’t argue that your rental is a liability to the Association.

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I have one too, who complained to everyone but me. I have her my phone number and asked her to call me if she noticed anything bothersome or loud so I could deal with it immediately

I explained by the time I heard about it from neighbors it was too late for me to fix the problem

For the hoa—one point that comes up repeatedly is that Airbnb hosts are motivated to keep their units up thus keeping resale values up, in the sharing economy properties that allow STR are being more desirable because of the income potential to the owner (especially owner upstairs; renter downstairs) & you will gladly share your phone number so anyone can report a problem to you

I can’t speak to the city regulations—just ideas for rebuttal

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Sadly, it seems that the only people who actively like having Airbnbs in their building/neighbourhood are fellow Airbnb owners!

Follow all the above advice and go to the meeting well-prepared. Be firm but polite and don’t get upset or angry at what anyone says, especially your neighbour who, don’t forget, isn’t “cranky” but is “justifiably concerned about retaining the pleasant atmosphere of our community” and whose objections you are now about to demolish with enormous courtesy!

Good luck, do report back to us on how it goes!

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