California court blocks HOA ban on short-term rentals
- Apr 4, 2018 | Jennifer Sokolowsky
A California court has ruled against a homeowner association in a coastal neighborhood in Oxnard, stating the HOA doesn’t have the authority to ban short-term rentals.
The Second District Court of Appeal’s ruling to allow a preliminary injunction against the HOA’s ban in the Oxnard Shores neighborhood reversed the earlier decision of Ventura County Superior Court Judge Kent Kellegrew.
Kellegrew ruled against the preliminary injunction, which was sought by two members of the Mandalay Shores Community Association, Robert and Demetra Greenfield, who operated short-term rentals in their home.
According to the appeals court, one of the goals of the California Coastal Act of 1976 was to preserve public access to beaches: “Mandalay Shores Community Association has not erected a physical barrier to the beach, but has erected a monetary barrier to the beach. It has no right to do so.”
The HOA should have gone through the California Coastal Commission to get approval for its ban on short-term rentals, the court said. It failed to follow the commission’s process for such regulations.
The Greenfields started renting their home for short terms in 2015, and the HOA voted to ban short-term rentals in June 2016. In August 2016, an official with the California Coastal Commission sent a letter to the association advising it that under the California Coastal Act the short-term rentals ban required a coastal development permit — which the HOA did not get, according to the appeals court.
Once the injunction against the ban goes into effect, the HOA’s short-term rental ban — which was never enforced under threat of a fine from the Coastal Commission — will no longer apply to the 1,400 units that are part of the homeowner association, many of which have historically been used as short-term rentals.
The Coastal Commission has declared that complete bans of short-term rentals in beach communities are inconsistent with its mission to preserve affordable options for beach visitors.
In December, the Coastal Commission also rejected a Laguna Beach city ordinance that banned short-term rentals in residential areas, saying the law blocks access to public beaches and parks and calling it economically “discriminatory.”
Oxnard has no city rules governing short-term rentals. Nearby, Ojai has a ban on short-term rentals in city limits, while Ventura allows short-term rentals and requires short-term hosts to collect lodging taxes.