Re: Rental of rooms or Air BnBs? (Linda Smith)
From: David Heimann (
Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2019 14:22:06 -0800 (PST)

Hello All,

With the advent of AirBNB and VRBO, things have been changed over the last few years. A lot now depends on laws and regulations adopted by your town and state. For example, Massachusetts this past month (December 2018) just passed a law about short-term rentals with the following features (check the MA Web site for details):

o  Hosts must register and carry insurance.

o Hosts must pay the 5.7 percent MA hotel tax, unless they rent for 14 nights or fewer per year.

o Cities and towns can levy their own taxes of up to 6 percent (6.5 for Boston), unless the rental activity is 14 nights or fewer per year.

There may be some other points, but the above should be a good summary.

As to these short-term rentals in cohousing, that's another matter, with no consistent approach. Our decision log on rentals is for 60 days or more. We've had discussions on short-term rentals once when a couple of households started doing significant activity in them, but the activity settled away before we passed any formal measures. So, as to short-term rentals in cohousing, YMMV.

David Heimann
Jamaica Plain Cohousing, MA

Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2019 09:29:19 -0500
From: Sharon Villines <sharon [at]>
To: Cohousing-L <cohousing-l [at]>
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Rental of rooms or Air BnBs? (Linda Smith)
Message-ID: <28812309-04AE-4FB9-B2CB-BDAD9DDD3918 [at]>
Content-Type: text/plain;       charset=utf-8

On Jan 28, 2019, at 3:48 PM, Kathy Tymoczko <kathy.tymoczko [at]> 

I'm wondering how (if?) your renting those spaces and operating the guest
room "like a hotel" affects the ability of buyers to get mortgages or the
type of mortgage a buyer can get.

In 2000 when we moved in, we discussed various options with our lawyer. Her 
response was, So then what are you? If we began charging money to the ?public? 
even if we called them associate members, we wouldn?t be functioning as a 
condominium. If we were running a community workshop with neighbors using 
tools, etc., we were not a condominium. What other license, insurance, etc., 
did we need.

Almost every business is regulated in ways that "protect the public? and 
establish the business basis for liability and taxation. If members of a condo 
decide to get together and make dinner for each other, that is not a business?it 
isn?t open to the public. But cooking and serving meals on a payment plan for 
non-owners who are also not personal guests puts you under another set of 
regulations dealing with food safety, inspections, etc. Each kind of business has to 
demonstrate that it meets the standards set for that business.

Thinking about it that way may help you clarify whether you want to engage. It 
ultimately costs time and money to earn money.

It is just as hard to paint a small painting and a large painting of equal 
complexity, but the large painting will sell for far more. Businesses work the 
same way. You still have to do everything for a part-time business that you 
have to do for a full-time business but you have less income. Is it worth it?

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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