No Home Business Allowed In Our HOA-Is Airbnb Permitted?

We’re considering buying a house in a single family residential neighborhood just south of the city where I’ve lived for 25 years. The only way we’d be able to afford this dream house is to have some means of alternate income, and we’re seriously considering running an Airbnb full-time.

Our real estate agent was telling us he has some clients a few miles away in the next town that rent out their waterfront estate for the season using Airbnb, and the neighbors complained and eventually started a lawsuit against them. He told us a judge recently decided that they were not running a home business and whatever they were doing was acceptable or legal. We have to try find out who these people are and get more information about the judgement etc etc…

The house we’re thinking of buying is a five bedroom with a 4 car garage, but only parking in the driveway for two cars. We may be able to add a third spot to the side of the driveway, and possibly another spot around the corner-it’s a corner lot. Overnite parking is allowed on the street in the summer, but not in the winter due to snow plowing.

We would operate this business 100% aboveboard, as we can use the rental income to bring down our property tax liability. I was in the apartment rental business for 25 years, and I would prefer to buy a duplex or triplex, but there’s nothing suitable, we’ve been looking for months, every single neighborhood in a 5 mile radius.

AirBnB covers a variety of situations, usually long term rentals are not a business, short term are.

As always seek competent legal advice.

HOA’s are a nightmare in my opinion. We recently sold a home in SoCal with an HOA and were doing Airbnb until they made a new rule against it after 3 years. Their rules override any municipal laws. If you can find a single family home without an hoa that would be the way to go. We now live in NYC and run our Airbnb legally in our single family home with NO HOA!


Also, there is a huge difference between STRs and month long rentals in most places. I also don’t think the other owner’s situation is the same as yours. Where are you located?
Read those cc&r’s carefully before you decide to purchase.
Btw, u r a cute couple!

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My knowledge of this particular HOA is limited to the shared public beach for $75 a year. I may be overstating their control of the neighborhood, but maybe a simple call to the real estate agent will clarify. It’s an older neighborhood from the 60s and 70s, so in all likelihood there’s very minimal control. But maybe the little town that it’s in or Hamlet has its own set of rules that aren’t an HOA, so I maybe I’m miss understanding or miss stating

I certainly wouldn’t rely on a comment an estate agent makes who is trying to sell you a property. And if they are the estate agents clients - why can’t he put you in touch with them :frowning:

However, you need to check directly with the HOA and your local council to see if you are able to do short lets on the property. Even then they could change their minds or Airbnb their regulations - for example in London they are now abiding by the Councils regulations and only let owners let a property for 90 days a year

Always have a back up plan if you are looking at it to pay your mortgage - for example you can look at dividing the property and doing long term lets.


No offense to realtors but they are transaction oriented and will do what they have to in order to make a sale! Realtors represent the seller, usually. Caveat emptor. No matter how old the HOA the board can impose new rules.


Do not listen to anyone – ask your realtor to get you a copy of the HOA agreement “so your lawyer can look it over”. See exactly what is spelled out as a “home business”. Then act accordingly.


There is your answer. If you can’t afford it without other income, which you haven’t really researched, you need to stop and do the homework. Airnb may not be a viable source of income in 5 years. You don’t know what the local market is? Can you afford to go to court to overturn a HOA rule? Why do you need five bedrooms? Keep looking until you can find a more appropriate property. Do you want to run a hotel in your dream home?


Very sweet looking area. Isn’t there a smaller house with possibly a smaller mortgage? Is this in Wisconsin?

As you know, HOAs have legal standing so can levy fines, file liens and even foreclose! You can get a copy of that judgment, maybe at the records office.

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This forum is so so so interesting, I’m a amateur car collector, and up until recently all my cars were pure American muscle, but now I’m driving a couple of junk cheap German cars, so it’s interesting to see comments from all over the globe. No we’re not in Wisconsin, we are in Far Northeast Upstate New York near Vermont and Montreal. My real estate agents son just put me in touch with somebody else localy that runs an Airbnb, and I just spoke to him for 45 minutes. He said his biggest problem is people looking for a bargain, and thinking they own the place and trying to take over the kitchen, so he said zero kitchen rights. We also discussed people from a variety of different countries that have absolutely no idea how to act properly in accordance with our norms and culture.

He also mentioned that folks are seriously bargain shopping and try knock the price down, rent outside of airbnb… His air mattress basement room always gets booked, but he found raising the price from $25 to 30 or 35 kept away the riff raff. His $90 Jacuzzi suite rarely gets rented. A few people insist on a better deal. As well after a week folks seem to feel too much at home and it’s time for them to move on…

Well… at the risk of patting ourselves on the back, I think you will get better advice about Airbnb guests from this forum :rofl:than from a bunch of real estate agents! Also…upstate NY will be highly seasonal-- so you may only have a few reliable months to rent it out.

Never buy what you can’t afford… Well that’s an interesting statement. My recent divorce has left me with a bit of cash, but a load of credit card dept which dropped my credit score from mid 700’s to mid 500’s, but with zero missed payments. We went to apply to get pre-qualified for a mortgage, and the clerk told me to pay off the cards, so I did that this AM, I now have zero dept. I own a few rentals, all mortgage free with enuff money to buy a well located but run down commercial property. I’ve been a “contractor” for 25 years, but worked exclusively on props that I owned.

I am personally capable of repairing anything. Electrical, plumbing, concrete, tile, roofing… You name it. This commercial prop will consume my time over the next year or so, so I can’t buy a run down house to rehab. I have done a few over the years, and nothing was beyond my scope. I’d hire a few low wage grunts and the ex and I just sold a 9+3 unit for top dollar as it was renovated to a high standard.

We’ve looked at many many houses in every 'hood, and the thot of living on a busy street, or in a 125 year old worn out and drafty Victorian is unappealing, especially since I did that for years and years since 1990. I still own building #1, and it needs 1 more apt (1910 5plex) rehabbed, a bit of brick work, 5 yards of topsoil in the backyard… It never ends.

I sure wish our dream house was1500sqft and not 2400. But the amazing original condition for a 30 year old house, the large open kitchen and HUGE master bedroom and 4 car garage is something we’d not found anything close to.

There is another larger house, 4 years old, all wood construction, built by a succesfull cedar log home specialist… Beautiful hardwood floors and top of the line kitchen cabinets, all of which my better half hates and I love… 3 car garage and a full size 2 bedroom apt above the garage… Not much more money, but the totally wrong end of town IMO, and it’s on a sloped lot with a cliff in the backyard. One of those best house in the nayborhood problems… There’s a trailer park nearby… The house of our dreams is 1 block from the lake and semi-public beach, we walked around there this eve… now it’s even more appealing…

I’ll have to study the rules and see if I can add a spiral staircase and split the house up into an almost duplex. It would still have only 1 electric meter, but maybe I can turn one of the 4 bedrooms into a kitchen, there are already 2 bathrooms upstairs. In my nearby city, your allowed 4 non-blood related under 1 roof. I may have to get the advice of an attorney. I want this to be legal and insurable, and tmrw I’ll go see the guy that won the court case against his unhappy naybor

Just remember that the HOA rules may be stricter that city rules and the HOA rules will take precedence. @KenH gave sound advice.


Even if you had consulted a lawyer and the HOA, and found out that there would be no problem with an AirBnB, I still wouldn’t buy the property. By your own admission, you can’t afford it.

To put yourself in a position where you are dependent on a potentially seasonal and largely variable income can lead to nothing but stress. Coupled with the stress of hosting itself - the potential of bad guests, cleaning, and repairs, you are setting yourself up for potential disaster on many different fronts. I also agree with Louise - AirBnB and the income it generates may look a lot different in five years.


I have enough money to put down half, but after the divorce she ended up with the business, and I ended up with the cash. And she still has another very large installment to pay me. I would mention on this forum how much cash I’m getting, but it seems that nobody else ever talks money, so I guess I’m the idiot if I say how much money I got yesterday, and how much I stand to get in the next 100 days.
Even the real estate agent says that I’m crazy to buy a house for $275,000, but the $100,000 $125,000 houses are dumps, I just missed two multi families that were in really ruff shape, but in a so-so neighborhood, but they backed directly up to the commercial property I’m buying, but too bad so sad, they’re both gone to flippers. I looked at one yesterday, and he’s patching it up and trying to almost triple his money, good for him, bad for me.

Bear in mind that HOA rules can change. Even if Airbnb rentals are now allowed that can change at a later date.


The most critical aspect of buying a house is location. Anyone can renovate, but you can’t add a better view, or be closer to a popular vacation area. I was ina situation where I needed to buy a house after a fire destroyed our home. The location we wanted had a number of homes for sale. Some would have require little or no renovation. We chose one that needed more work because the land it was on had many positive features and none of the negative that the others had, ie steep driveways, poor water access.

Louise… 3 most important rules of real estate? Location location location…

There’s also another 3000 square foot house on a 1.4 acre lot that’s really nice, but the layout of the house is weird, the kitchen is not open plan, some of the renovations are amateur-done by the owner and to my trained eye look like what they are. And it’s too close to the interstate, and you sit in the beautiful semi-private yard and you hear the buzz buzz buzz of the truck traffic.
But it’s very close to the mall, it’s on the cul de sac and nobody would care how many cars you parked wherever, and I could build my dream garage in the back yard because of the massive lot.

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