Airbnb condo rentals offer a good secondary income for owners, but not all residents are on board. Here are some condo management tips for handling the conflict.
It’s a good thing you had a relaxing weekend, because Monday morning started with a serious conflict. There are a few lengthy and angry emails from residents complaining about one of their neighbors renting out their condo on Airbnb. Condo owners expect you to handle the situation, but without specific condo association rules prohibiting the practice, you are caught in the middle of what is turning into a tricky situation.
There is a huge problem brewing in condo associations. If it hasn’t found you yet, it will. The sharing economy has otherwise genteel condo owners in a tizzy. While residents have varied and strong opinions about Airbnb, condo management professionals are left navigating a volatile situation.
Owners on both sides of the argument have valid concerns. Short-term Airbnb rentals can potentially decrease property values, but they can also bring in a source of income for the owners. Neighbors don’t always care for the “revolving door” of strangers coming through, but though condo owners feel like it’s their right to decide who can stay in their home.
Unless there are local ordinances in place, your condo association will need to deftly maneuver the mediation issues created by Airbnb. Condo managers, it’s time to put your best communication skills to work.
What is an Airbnb condo rental?
Airbnb is a cooperative community market that lets homeowners (and even renters) sublet rooms, or entire condos, on a short term basis. Owners list their available accommodations on the Airbnb website. Travelers connect with owners to rent out space for their desired travel time. Before there was Airbnb there was VRBO and other home-renting outlets, but Airbnb has popularized this method of vacationing.
The problems with Airbnb condo rentals
Let’s get back to your angry residents and their very real concerns about the parade of strangers in the condo building. As owners, the safety of the condo community and the value of their property are at risk.
Maybe there hasn’t been a problem yet in your condo community, but the stories are out there. It only takes one atrocious visitor to do thousands of dollars of damage. It only takes one clueless guest to leave the building door open, allowing an opportunistic burglar in.
These are understandable concerns, for sure. The Airbnb hosts in your condo property, however, are committed community members, and there if there are no rules in the condo association bylaws that prohibit renting, you may have strangers on your property.
Solutions for your Airbnb condo conundrum
What can you do to placate residents on both sides of this issue?
When a resident is upset, listening is one of the best things you can do. People so often just need someone to hear them. You don’t have to take a side. You don’t even have to offer a solution at that moment. Listening won’t solve the problem, but it can begin to defuse the situation.
No matter your opinion of Airbnb, condo managers need to remain impartial if rentals are allowed. Between now and the time the condo association can meet and decide on the matter, you are responsible for keeping the situation civil and respectful.
The last thing you want is a feud between condo owners. Offer to host a calm discussion so each side can air their concerns. Temporary solutions might be easier to agree on if you can define some parameters for everyone. At the very least, you may be able to mitigate further damage.
3. Bring it to the condo board
What condo owners can and cannot do with their unit is subject to community decisions. As a property manager, you can help ensure a fair and open discussion about Airbnb rentals at an upcoming condo board meeting by providing requested information to the board members and residents beforehand.
Take some time to research facts and analytics regarding topics like safety, property value, and quality of life issues in relation to Airbnb condo rentals.
4. Develop security protocols
Safety is always a primary concern. The security protocols you have in place may need a slight update to accommodate an influx of visitors until the condo association determines how to handle an Airbnb situation.
A few possible security updates:
- The condo owner must notify management and neighbors when they are expecting AirBnB guests.
- Airbnb guests must sign in with the front office when they arrive.
- Condo management can notify neighbors when AirBnB guests arrive. (Pro tip: Evercondo makes communication like this simple and fast.)
5. Create guidelines for guests
It isn’t unreasonable to have expectations for guests. This is, after all, a community. Superb hosts should already have a folder with local attractions, favorite restaurants, directions for taking local transit, and wifi passwords. Adding a list of condominium guidelines can help keep everyone happy.
If you aren’t sure where to begin, here are some ideas to get you started:
- Please limit noise after 9 p.m.
- Please make sure the door to the building is closed and locked when you enter and exit.
- Condo association rules prohibit using the pool after 8 p.m.
- There is no smoking inside. Please use the designated smoking area near the central office.
As a condo manager, short term rentals may prove to be the real test of your communication and mediation skills. You don’t have to solve the problem yourself. You do have to hear and understand the concerns of your association members.
We have a bonus idea that can help you manage condo association problems and improve your relationship with current residents. Streamline communications between residents and property managers by using our app. Start your free trial of Evercondo today, and find out just how smooth communication can be!
Have you faced the issue of Airbnb rentals in your condo community? How did you handle it? Let us know in the comments.