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Can I rent my house on AirBnB?


Posted: January 01, 2020 by Karen Johnson

Answer: Maybe. It depends on where you live and under what circumstances. 

If you have considered renting out your home on a site like AirBnB or VRBO you are not alone. Many people are looking at the possibly of offering up their house as a short term rental especially since it's tempting to make some extra cash during the time that the home may be sitting empty. 

In our area, as the number of short term rentals have grown, municipalities have started to look at or even regulate the offer of residences as short term lodging. Here are just a few of the regulations that have been passed or are in the process of being passed: 

Solebury

Small facilities or bed-and-breakfasts, with between two and six guest rooms, are permitted as conditional uses in four types of residential and three types of village commercial districts, plus outdoor recreation districts, and by right in the traditional neighborhood commercial district. The ordinance does not cover homes that rent out just one guest room. There are some thoughts that Solebury may be looking to clarify this further but there is currently no admendment on the board.

Tinicum:

Transient use of residential property for remuneration shall be permitted in all districts where residential uses are permitted upon the issuance of an annual zoning permit pursuant to this Ordinance; provided that:

·         There is adequate onsite parking for the tenants;

·         The applicant for a zoning permit demonstrates that the septic system is adequate to serve the transient residential use, based upon an assumed occupancy of two (2) persons per bedroom. An applicant only has to demonstrate that the septic system is adequate to serve the transient residential use the first time that the applicant applies for a zoning permit, unless a failure of the septic system is observed, in which event the applicant must demonstrate that the appropriate repairs have been made to the septic system to prevent future failures.

·         The applicant has served each of the neighboring property owners written notice of the applicant's proposed transient residential use at least fourteen (14) days prior to applying for a zoning permit.

·         As the transient residential use is an accessory use of a residence during each calendar year, the transient residential use of a property shall be no more than sixty (60) days in any calendar year.

·         The rental period for all transient use of any single family residential property or housing unit shall be not less than fourteen (14) consecutive calendar days nor more than twenty-nine (29) consecutive calendar days.

·         The number of occupants in any residential unit for transient use shall not exceed one (1) single family per housing unit.  

·         Availability of the rental unit to the public shall not be advertised on site.

·         Any zoning permit issued pursuant to this Section shall require, as a condition of approval, that applicant who does not reside within a 25-mile radius of the residence being rented, designate a person located within a 25-mile radius of the rental unit, as a local contact person who will be available 24 hours a day to respond to tenant and neighborhood questions or concerns and to otherwise be responsible for assuring that the rental unit complies with the requirements of the permit issued and the provisions of this Section and other applicable provisions of this Ordinance.

Lower Makefield

Unless qualified as a hotel or bed and breakfast home use conducted in accordance with the Zoning Ordinance, Short Term Lodging is prohibited throughout the Township of Lower Makefield except in the following circumstances:

·         A. Specific bedroom accommodation. The owner of an owner-occupied single family dwelling may rent no more than 2 bedrooms to transient visitors for a period of not less than 24 hours and not more than 30 consecutive days.

Under this arrangement, the owner must occupy the residence during the stay of the transient visitor.

·         B. Entire residential unit accommodation. An owner may rent a residential property he/she/it/they own(s) to transient visitors for a minimum period of 7 consecutive days, not to exceed 30 consecutive or nonconsecutive calendar days per year (each year shall be January 1st through December 31st). Under this type of arrangement, the owner may, but is not required to, remain on the premises during the stay of the transient guests.

·         Before providing any Short Term Lodging, property owners must obtain and keep current a Short Term Lodging License for each property to be designated as a Short Term Lodging Facility. Such License shall only be issued if the requirements of this Ordinance are met.

·         Each License will note how many lodgers are permitted for short term rental and require the applicant to submit proof of, and remain in constant compliance with, all of the following:

o   1. An accurately-drawn floor plan of the residence showing the number of bedrooms and location of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Floor plans must show details for every level of the residence and any attached structures, and the location of windows and all interior and exterior doorways.

o   2. In the case of Short Term Lodging where the owner-occupant rents a specific bedroom accommodation, the floor plan must clearly designate bedrooms to be used for Short Term Lodging, which must be located within the principal dwelling unit and not in an accessory building.

Check your townships website for short term rental info in your area before you list!

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