Renting In A Residential Community

I'm the webmaster for my college class.  A group of eight of us get together every year or so for a 3-day "boy's weekend" in a tourist destination area.  This year was in San Diego.  Last year was in Palm Springs.

With 8 of us, we look for houses that have at least 7 bedrooms, preferably 8.  For example, this is the one in San Diego

It was located on a quiet street in a residential neighborhood.  If you go to the listing, you'll see this:

The max occupancy of 20 guests will be enforced, unless approved prior to booking.

ABSOLUTELY NO PARTIES, LOUD MUSIC OR LOUD NOISES. We have noise monitors inside and outside of the house that will alarm us if it gets too loud. We also have security cameras throughout the exterior of the property. We have very sensitive neighbors who enjoy the special peacefulness of this area that will complain and you can be in violation of your contract (as its specifically written here). If this happens, you may be asked to leave with no refund and fined $1500.

This is a NON-smoking property. No smoking allowed anywhere on the property especially inside the house. If there is any scent of smoke, you will be fined $1500.

I guess if you are renting a house for a "weekend" with 8 college friends, the host really needs a major club ($1500!!) to keep the parties quiet.  (In our case, we are old men and not party animals.  So ... no problem!)

On Friday and again on Saturday evenings at about 8 pm, I received this text message from our host:

Welcome! We hope you are having a great time and getting settled into the Medallion! Just a reminder that per the rules on the Airbnb listing, the outside area and game room is closed after 9 pm to be respectful of the neighbors and the city noise ordinance.

There is a 1500 dollar fine that you agreed to when you booked.  Our neighbors unfortunately are sensitive and will complain and have even called the cops on the house.  Unfortunately the guests had to be sent home with no refund and a $1500 fine.

Please don’t take offense to this message, we know 90% of our guests follow the rules and are great guests!! Unfortunately, there has been some groups that “try to get away with it” and we have had to enforce the rules.

We hate sending this message as we built the house for everyone to enjoy but unfortunately we’re stuck in the middle and we just like to fully inform the guests so they know.

We hope you all have a great stay and let us know if you need anything!

Needless to say, this message got my attention!

*. *. *. *. *. *. *

The 2019 "boys weekend" was in Palm Springs.   Again, it was a party house (7 bedrooms) in a residential neighborhood:

I had to sign a formal Lease Agreement which required that I list all the guests, ages and contact information.  I then had to initial and agree explicitly to these terms:

  • Quiet Hours 10 PM to 10 AM
  • No Amplified Music Outdoors at any time
  • Maximum Occupancy is 12 Adults Plus Two Children under 12
  • Any guests or pets not listed with AirBnB will allow owner to evict all guests
  • The City of Palm Springs requires the Responsible Party must be 25 years old and sign a Contract and provide a copy of a government-issued ID.**
  • All guests must sign this Contract
  • All cars must be parked in our driveway and not on the street.
  • We have outdoor recording devices for protection of the property.

** My host collected copies of this from me personally!

On the Airbnb messaging app, I got a message when I checked in warning me about the 10 pm curfew and "no outdoor amplification."  It also stated that "if the neighbors call the police (which they WILL do if they can hear you), the city will fine me $500, which I'll take out of your deposit."

Several Take-aways for Las Mañanitas Owners Who Rent:

  1. If you are in a [high-end] residential community, but renters are likely to want to "party" (or just to "let loose on vacation"), you need to set expectations, redundantly:
    1. In the listing agreement
    2. In the "contract" or agreement where they pay and your promise to rent them your Unit.
    3. As a specific reminder at the time they check in.
  2. Per our HOA Rules, when your guests check in, they MUST sign the Zero Tolerance Policy.  Some express surprise, and few express displeasure.  You should warn them.
  3. I found the text messages from my two Airbnb experiences -- the ones with specific warnings -- very useful (and sobering).  The reality is that everyone is constantly asked to "agree to Terms of Service" and "see attached Rules" for a host of services we use.  It's easy to view all that as "yada, yada, yada" stuff that you can navigate with "common sense."
  4. But "common sense" is not enough here.  Our HOA is very serious about enforcing the rules, ESPECIALLY the ones on the Zero Tolerance Policy.  It's not fair to your guests to have them get confronted by a Security guard who doesn't allow a beer bottle when they are sitting next to the pool.  They try to bargain.  They claim they didn't know or weren't told.  No, the guard says and insist they leave with the bottle.  Some of the guests get angry -- first at Security and then at Las Mañanitas.  But eventually they take it out on you, expressing displeasure in their review of your Unit.

It is MUCH better if you set expectations like my hosts in San Diego and Palms Springs did.