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Does Your Delaware Community Allow Short-Term Rentals?

Before buying your retirement home know how short-term rentals are handled in your community.

We have seen situations where the homeowners did not pay attention to the rules and ran into trouble. You want to ensure you know and comply with your community rules on short-term rentals.

The implications of short-term rentals for homeowners can affect you whether you plan to rent your home or not. Most people forget this when buying. Neighbors having the ability to offer rentals in your community can also impact you.

The ability to rent for short-, medium-, or long-terms gives the homeowner a lot of freedom to travel and spend time elsewhere for a portion of the year. This can be a plus for the homeowner, but what about their neighbors? For example, if you buy a home in this community, will your next-door neighbor be renting out their home or condo on a weekly basis during the peak season? Is this okay with you?

If you are also purchasing as an investment property then you are probably fine with a short-term rental neighbor. But, if you are purchasing a primary residence, at retirement, in a new location, you might prefer to live in a neighborhood of other like-minded people. Its difficult to make new friends if you are surrounded by groups of vacationers who have come to party. Even the best renters will never be neighbors.

Before you buy, it is important to read the Homeowners Association (HOA) or Condo Association documents completely. Pay close attention to the rules governing rentals in the community. Are rentals even allowed? If they are, what is the minimum term allowed?

HOA/Condo Restrictions Vary

In some communities, rentals of any kind may be prohibited.

  • Leased land communities often prohibit rentals of any kind. The community itself may have some rentals available but sub-leases are not allowed.
  • Condo communities, which allow long-term leases, might restrict the total number of condos that can be rented at any one time. If there are too many rental units in a condominium, prospective buyers may be unable to obtain financing.
  • Communities with a Homeowners Association (HOA) and/or a Condo Association have written rules and regulations that you need to review prior to purchasing. Even if renting is allowed, many of these associations restrict rentals to long-term leases of at least one year.

Local Government Restrictions Apply Too

The growing popularity of Airbnb has created a problem and forced boards and local governments to rule on what constitutes a rental. For example:

Sussex County officials have laid down a gauntlet, and it could have far-reaching implications for county residents who offer lodging through the popular Airbnb app.

Dozens of homeowners in the Cape Region offer Airbnb lodgings.

At its October 16 meeting, the county's board of adjustment denied a special-use permit to operate a bed and breakfast for Barbara McClay, who lives on Doe Run in the 175-lot Woods on Herring Creek subdivision off Camp Arrowhead Road near Lewes. For about a year, McClay had been renting a room in her house through Airbnb, a total, she said, of 20 rentals. Her husband recently passed away, and she said she was seeking additional income.

Ron MacArthur - October 27, 2017

The Cape Gazette -

Here in Coastal Delaware, there are many communities that do allow weekly or monthly rentals, especially those in proximity to the beach resorts. But most of the new active adult communities, even those not age restricted, have restrictions on short-term rentals.

Before you buy your retirement home be sure to:

  1. Ask the right questions.
  2. Read the HOA/Condo documents.
  3. Get all the answers you need to make an informed decision.

Use the Neighborhood pages on to help you choose where to live and what each community has to offer. Weve done the work for you and pulled together the answers to the questions you have about living in Delaware. You can also download our Relocation Guides to Northern, Central or Southern Delaware. Get your guides here.

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