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Using VRBO and runnin afowl of condo association rules

Using VRBO and runnin afowl of condo association rules

Old Aug 21st, 2013, 11:01 PM
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Using VRBO and runnin afowl of condo association rules

Don't a lot of condo associations have rules against renting short term? Does VRBO ask condo owners for copy of association rules, to properly vet them?
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Old Aug 22nd, 2013, 03:54 AM
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No, they do not. It is the owner's responsibility to know the rules.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2013, 04:52 AM
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Undoubtedly there are some VRBO owners who are renting against the laws of their co-op or association.

If this is an issue for you - ask them to see a copy of rules showing the sublets are allowed. Or - ask them who on the spot you would go to if a problem occurs - and hope it is the super or managing agent.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2013, 08:53 AM
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A good question to ask. Almost all condos have rules against short term rentals. Unfortunately, some owners ignore the rules and basically say, screw your rules, sue me. Obviously, a costly and time consuming thing to do.

As a former condo association president where a few owners did take this attitude, I can tell you several things. Often, condos do not have a 'super' or onsite managing agent. If you came to me and said, 'I have a problem in the condo, the fridge isn't working' etc. my answer would be very simple.

'You are renting illegally from the owner. Any problem you have you will have to talk to the owner about. No one here is going to help you. You should also know that as you are renting illegally, you are legally liable for doing so. So for example, if one of your party slips and falls and breaks a leg, NO insurance will cover you for that. You are on your own.'

People often don't realize the potential consequences of their actions.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2013, 09:28 AM
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http://www.google.ca/#fp=15ed18ebca3...condo+holiday+

http://www.google.ca/#fp=15ed18ebca3...al+vrbo+rentls
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Old Aug 22nd, 2013, 10:01 AM
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...and the broader question:

Do the newspaper classifieds editor ask condo owners for a copy of association rules, to properly vet people advertising vacation rentals in their paper?

What about:
Airbnb? HomeAway? Roomorama? FlipKey? HolidayLettings? TripAdvisor?
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Old Aug 22nd, 2013, 11:48 AM
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No. The advertisers only care about influx of cash.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2013, 11:50 AM
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No - none of these services ask for that.

When you rent this way it is strictly caveat emptor. You have to do all of the investigation and decide how much of a risk you are willing to take.

And that is for rentals that are not outright scams.

Many, esp on Craig's list -don't exist at all. One morning I encountered two young women from italy - with their suitcases - trying to get into my building to an apt the "rented". The building is a co-op and this isn't allowed. But, even worse, the ap't - and the supposed owner didn't exist. They were out a ton of money and had to find a place to stay on the spot - at another ton of money.

anyone using any of these service has to do a LOT of investigation - an assume what you see in the ad may not be reality.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2013, 12:20 PM
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Running afowl?
Chickens on vacation are always a bad idea; leave them at home. Ditto, ducks.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2013, 12:45 PM
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I have lived in a condo as an owner, I have rented [long term] said condo out to tenants and I have rented [long term] in a different condo.

The OWNER is responsible for things that break down inside the condo and similar issues. There has never been a "super" or a property manager or a managing agent that would deal with these issues. The owner calls the plumber, electrician etc.

IF there is an issue coming from an adjoining unit, then things get tricky.

[This is just an aside, doesn't really have to do directly with short term rentals. ]
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Old Aug 22nd, 2013, 12:58 PM
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Thanks for all responses. Regarding the response that includes information on insurance; did you mean that insurance for short term renters.is not available for condo owners from any of the insurance companies, or did you mean that condo owners don't typically get insurance for renters, though it is
available?
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Old Aug 22nd, 2013, 01:54 PM
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I meant that if you are renting illegally, your travel insurance will not cover you (if they find out) for ANYTHING.

The condo corporation's insurance will not cover you for ANYTHING.

The condo owner's insurance on the condo will not cover you for anything.

NO insurance company will cover anyone who is doing something illegal.

If for example, you decide to cook in the condo that you are renting illegally and start a fire. YOU will be liable for any costs that incurs. ie. you burned the condo out, the building down, etc.

It's no good saying, the owner rented to me, I didn't know it was an illegal rental. YOU are liable for your actions. The condo owner may well be sued as well but that is irrelevant to you when through an accident (bad wiring maybe) that was not even your fault, you find yourself being sued for major amounts of money. It is as nytraveler notes, caveat emptor.

Re Airbnb etc. bardo1, the same applies.
http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/05/21/...illegal-hotel/

Any room rental other than with a normal hotel is possibly an illegal rental. It's YOUR responsibility to make sure what you are doing is legal.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2013, 04:11 PM
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Well, I was under the impression that breaking condo association rules was not necessarily breaking the law, an important distinction.

For example, some condo association rules prohibit unit owners from having a pet in their unit. Does this make it illegal to have a pet in your unit? Or does it simply allow the association, through legal means, to enforce the policy, if it is broken?

I believe it is illegal to rent short term in New York city,
but I've not heard of it actually being illegal in all other
cities.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2013, 04:42 PM
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Well, not quite.

As a condo owner, and I have owned five and still own two, I hate short term rentals. As a VRBO renter, I take advantage of them. So I am a contradiction.

They are illegal in some places, probably New York and very likely in Paris.

But violating condo regulations as a renter is not illegal most places in any sort of criminal sense in itself. If it were, it would be easier to stop.

As it is, the association can only proceed against the owner who is governed by the regulations. They can fine them after the usual warnings. If the fines get high enough and remain unpaid, they can take out a lien on the property, and we owned a condo in Boston that did this several times after members voted to ban short term rentals. The liens had to be paid before the units could be sold. But it takes a tough board to do this.

Improviser is quite correct that any problems with the apartment are entirely between you and the owner. Association staff are not responsible for anything that happens inside the unit. So you need to ask and be clear about who fixes the air conditioner or whom to call when the fridge dies because it won't be the association staff.

I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice, but insurance is more complex. Because the landlord is renting irregularly, his insurance may not apply if you are injured or do damage to the building. You would want to know if your personal liability insurance would cover you for causing damages. Your homeowners and medical insurance would likely cover injuries to you; what about injuries to others from the hair dryer blaze? Personal liability again.

What about a slip and fall on the way to the pool? Their lawyer would certainly argue that you were trespassing, yours would argue that they had a duty of care, so there you go, off to court.

Really, the risks are greater to the landlord than to you, as long as you are careful while you are in the unit and don't do anything to drive the neighbors crazy.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2013, 05:20 PM
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Owners can't get insurance that does not comply with their leases. If the leases say no short-term sublets are allowed - even if they bought insurance - it would be invalid.

And most co-ops - not sure condo assoc - have staff on site. If there is a problem that is minor they can often fix for a small tip - or if bigger they can arrange foe a plumber or whatever. (That is assuming that the owner is not reachable - or they would be living in the apt). But if you are there illegally - you can;t contact those people - and are on your own.

Every co-op I know bans these sublets. Some condos may allow them - but one needs to be sure before "renting".

And the repercussions will vary:

If the apt doesn;t exist - you are screwed

If it does but you are not allowed to sublet - and other tenants or staff find out - they can complain to have you evicted (since you have no legal right in the building) - this is very unlikely, but possible

If an owner does this regularly they likely will find themselves fined - or forced to sell the apartment (we had to do the latter - and put new locks on the apt - for an owner who kept subletting even though ordered not to). The final subletter came to the building and could not get in - since the key fob sent by the owner no longer worked.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2013, 03:27 AM
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Nytraveler, I agree with your thrust, but condos are very different from coops legally and operationally. In a coop you own a share in the entire building, in a condo you own your unit from the studs in.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2013, 07:08 AM
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Here is the bottom line. When you rent an apartment/condo YOU need to do your due diligence to make sure you are not going to run into any problems.

I should have noted that it is illegal in SOME places but not all. ie. illegal in NYC, San Francisco, Hololulu. My bad. Where it is illegal, you are breaking the law and so no insurance will cover you.

In much of Hawaii for example, it is illegal unless the owner has a specific license. Some people estimate as much as 99% of rentals in Hawaii are illegal because the owners do not get the license as they do not wish to pay the taxes on each rental they will then have to pay. To insure the rental you are looking at is legal in that case, you need to know the full address of the property and the license number. You can then look it up online and determine if it is a legal rental or not. How many people do you think do that?

But even where it is not illegal but simply against the condo rules, you risk all other issues. Not the least of which is if something goes wrong you MAY get SUED.

In regards to many things, not just this issue, people often argue is this legal or not. Bottom line, when you get sued, you may or may not win/loss when it goes to court. But what is certain, is that you will have to go through the whole nightmare to get to that final decision. It doesn't matter whether you are in the right or wrong if you still have to go through the process to prove it one way or another.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2013, 08:39 AM
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There are so many examples of "make-up-a-fact" in this thread that it boggles the mind.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2013, 11:40 AM
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Yes - but MANY condos do NOT allow these sublets as a condition of purchase. Just because the ownership is different doesn't mean you can do whatever you want.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2013, 12:11 PM
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Of course you can't do what you want; but enforcement is difficult. Both you -- in a coop -- and I -- in a condo -- have lived in buildings where the board repreenting the other owners have seized and sold units from owners who have continually violated the regulations. But is is rare indeed.
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