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8 Tips to Turn Your HOA Property into a Vacation Rental

Winding pool in a condo building with palm trees

Owning a vacation property that’s part of a managed community gives you a place to call home when visiting your favorite getaway destination. You have everything you need right where you need it, anytime you want. And you rarely have to worry about landscaping and maintenance.

Additionally, vacation homes or condos provide an opportunity for a better return on your investment. When you’re not using your property, you can rent it for a steady stream of extra income. However, because homeowners’ associations (HOAs) have rules and regulations that may limit short-term rental potential, homeowners might face some challenges. Melissa Eisenman, business development manager for Associa Mexico, offers tips on how to turn your managed community condo or home into a successful vacation rental.

1. Make sure you’re aware of association owner-occupancy limits.

Many condo associations in the United States must adhere to owner-occupancy laws. The Federal Fair Housing Law addresses occupancy standards and details the number of people legally allowed to occupy a dwelling. And the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) may limit a condo association’s ratio of condo owners to condo renters. Similarly, states might have certain laws that apply to landlords and the number of tenants allowed in a property. Because of this, your condominium association may have specific rules on owner-occupancy ratios.

For some communities, too many renters compared to owners could compromise and hurt neighborhood property values. Check in with a board member or community manager to see what owner-occupancy ratios apply to your condominium association to avoid violating the rules.

Want to learn more about violations? Read “Top Frequently Asked Questions About HOA Violations” to get expert insights.

2. Review laws and practices for renting your international property.

It’s common for people to purchase a vacation home or condo in a resort-style community abroad. However, your international property may have different laws regarding vacation rentals. Do your due diligence by researching local laws and practices, and the community’s rules and regulations, before moving forward with short-term rental plans. If you know what is expected of a vacation rental by owner, you can avoid costly landlord mistakes.

Read our ebook “How Do You Say HOA?” to learn terminology used in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada to describe certain aspects of HOA life.

3. Check your community’s governing documents.

If you’re thinking about using your vacation home as a short-term rental property, review your association’s governing documents for rules and regulations on renting. Every community is unique and may have different policies that affect owners and renters, including:

  • The types of rental opportunities available
  • Who is responsible for homeowners’ association (HOA) fees
  • How long a tenant can lease a property
  • Who is responsible for tenant violations
  • What must be included in the rental agreement
  • Commercial use of personal property

Understanding whether or not a short-term rental opportunity is available in your community is imperative before moving forward. Because some managed communities prohibit short-term vacation rentals in their governing documents, breaking the rules could lead to fines and legal consequences.

4. Make upgrades to boost occupancy and rent.

Vacation renters are looking for homes and condos that offer modern features that make their stay easy and enjoyable. While they may be an upfront investment, you can boost your occupancy and rental rates with these strategic upgrades:

  • Repaint the walls and doors
  • Replace outdated appliances with energy-efficient ones
  • Upgrade the flooring
  • Replace dated lighting fixtures
  • Install a fireplace
  • Add a kitchen backsplash
  • Invest in patio or balcony lighting

5. Prep your property for vacationers.

If you want to be a good host and maximize your rental income, be sure to have everything you need to make visitors feel welcome, comfortable, and secure in your vacation rental property. Preparing your vacation home for guests may include:

  • Decorating the property with a simple yet cohesive style
  • Creating a functional and inviting layout
  • Hiring a professional cleaning company
  • Investing in quality sheets, pillows, and other bedding
  • Conducting preventative maintenance regularly
  • Providing instructions on how to use amenities

Also, you can provide your guests with unique amenities that set you apart from the competition, such as bicycles, beach toys, rain jackets, or a list of local restaurant recommendations. These small gestures can leave lasting impressions that eventually lead to positive reviews and higher occupancy levels.

Spanish-style home with rounded windows, tiled roof and palm tree landscaping

6. Remove personal items and valuables.

While your vacation home is still your property, you’ll want to remove your personal items and valuable belongings before welcoming a renter. Find a closet, attic, or other hidden area to store your items where others don’t have access. Not only does this lower the risk of losing prized possessions, but it also creates a beautifully neutral space for vacation renters to make their own.

7. Market your vacation rental condo or home.

Marketing your vacation rental is a must if you want to be profitable. However, listing your HOA property correctly and in the best place is key to reaching potential guests and closing the deal. Take time to find sites that are approved by your HOA to advertise your vacation rental. A catchy headline, well-written description, and professional property photos will also boost your listing and help you reach more people.

8. Hire a rental property manager.

Managing a short-term rental property can feel overwhelming for many HOA home or condo owners. It’s a lot of responsibility to handle operations, communications, and payment collections from afar. Hiring a property manager who has experience with vacation rentals in an HOA can streamline the rental process with these services:

  • Tenant and short-term renter screenings
  • Customer relations
  • Property maintenance
  • Accounting and tax services
  • Marketing and advertising

Consider reaching out to your HOA’s community management company to find a local property manager who understands the complexities of vacation rentals and HOA rules.

The Beginner’s Guide to Purchasing a Second Home

Purchasing a vacation property that’s part of an HOA or condominium association offers several benefits, including rental income potential. Educating yourself on your community’s policies and vacation rental best practices will help you manage expectations, prepare your property for guests, and set you up for long-term success.

Check out the article, “The Beginner’s Guide to Purchasing a Second Home,” to learn more about benefits of purchasing in a managed community and additional tips and tricks to keep in mind when buying a second home.

About the Author

Melissa Eisenman is the Business Development Manager at Associa Mexico. With an undeniable passion for people, she naturally developed a love for public relations, sales and customer service. Her experience in the tourism industry has led her to live and work in beautiful cities across Mexico including Cozumel, Mazatlán, and Los Cabos, where she currently resides. She loves her role at Associa Mexico and the opportunity to welcome new accounts to the evergrowing Associa family.

Profile Photo of Melissa Eisenman