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After learning about short term vacation rentals from us, a friend decided to rent a condo in Sedona, AZ doe his vacation this week. When he arrived, there was a note posted on the door stating that the owner was in violation of a short term rental ban and that if our friend occupied the property they, too would be in violation and could be fined and jailed. After two hours of conversation back and forth with the manager, our friend opted to leave and stay in a hotel in Flagstaff. So here is my question, how can this owner rent to my friend knowing there is a ban on short term rentals? What happens now? How does my friend get his money back for a rental he was not legally able to occupy? This was booked through VRBO.
The first step would be for your friend to contact the owner and request a refund. If your friend incurred additional expenses due to being unable to occupy the premises, your friend could request that the owner reimburse those, also. However, due to some uncertainty whether there was any enforceable ban, the owner's actual liability is uncertain. Did your friend contact the owner immediately on being told of the claim of a ban? If so, what did the owner say? In general, one who is turned away from rented premises should not accept such an order not to occupy it unless the owner confirms it or a valid court order is produced.
Was the manager with whom your friend spoke a property manager acting as agent for the owner, or a manager employed by the condo complex or association?
Is the 'short term rental ban' something imposed by the city, or claimed by the condo association?
It would be rather unusual that a person could be jailed for occupying a short term rental in violation of a ban, regardless who imposed the ban. That threat could present some interesting legal issues, but without knowing more I have no idea just where those issues might lead.
Making some huge assumptions based on the woefully incomplete facts, I suspect that the condo association prohibits short term rentals, and the manager was employed by the association. I suspect that the association would be powerless to impose any penalty on your friend, and would not have the right to prevent your friend from occupying the premises--any action it might take to enforce the ban would need to be taken against the owner. In this case, the owner might have no legal responsibility to refund anything to your friend because your friend may have voluntarily abandoned the rental in the face of the manager's opposition and notice, however the association might be liable to your friend.
If your friend does not get this worked out your friend should consult an attorney in the area who does landlord tenant law. And if your friend has not already done so, it could be helpful to obtain a copy of the notice.
Those are really all the facts I have since he hasn't returned from the
vacation yet. This is second hand info from a phone call with my husband. I
do know that the notice on the door was from the sheriff and not the condo
association. The owner was called and made aware of it. There was little
they could do at that point except move on to a hotel.
Aha. There seems to be more to this story than first appeared.
There is a brief, but interesting, article at http://redrocknews.com/News/supreme-court-throws-back-rental-ban-to-lower-courts.html that indicates there is ongoing litigation over the validity of a ban enacted by Sedona in 1995 on 'short-term vacation home rentals of fewer than 30 days.' It appears the ban is likely to be overturned by the courts, but that will not come quickly enough to help your friend.
It sounds as if it would be the owner, not the association, that would be liable to your friend for return of the rent paid plus additional costs incurred due to being excluded from the premises. But again, if this is not resolved satisfactorily, your friend should consider consulting an attorney who does landlord tenant cases in Sedona.
The communities are also trying to close down the airport due to noise. I sure hope not as I fly into there at least a couple times a year. Its an absolutely gorgeous place to go visit.
I agree! I was there last Jan and it is beautiful. Went to a time share
with friends. I wonder if those are included in this short term rental ban.
Maybe not since it was a corp and run like a hotel.