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What to know about neighbor disputes while renting through Airbnb

Homeowners who want to rent their property on Airbnb may be concerned about what happens if guests cause damage or their own liability if a guest hurts themselves. However, many possible renters forget about disputes with someone they will see more often: their neighbors.

Not everyone loves having new people coming through the neighborhood, especially if those guests are getting anywhere near their property. In these situations, it is important to know what rights homeowners have if they have interest in renting through Airbnb.

A recent case establishes access rights

An adjoining landowner may be upset if they perceive Airbnb guests are “entering” their property. Many homeowners see adjacent paths as part of their property and may claim these guests are trespassing.

However, a recent California Supreme Court case determined otherwise. The First District Court of Appeals ruled that a homeowner who rents their property on Airbnb can access paths that run along a neighbor’s property.

In the case, Steve Unger built a fence that blocked access to sand dunes in MacKerricher State Park that were previously accessible along the property line path shared with Jason and Lauren Ditzian, who were renting their home on Airbnb. The path accessing the sand dunes runs along both parties’ property line, crosses the neighbor’s property and then another neighbor’s.

While Unger argued the Mendocino County Superior Court should not have granted the prescriptive easement because of the Ditzians’ previous history with citations for illegal overnight guest use, the appeals court ruled that the Ditzians’ failure to obtain their permit before hosting guests was not connected to the prescriptive easement claim.

Knowing these homeowners’ rights when it comes to their adjoining property can be helpful, especially if a dispute becomes necessary. While there are many scenarios to consider when renting through Airbnb, dealing with a neighborhood fight should not be one of them.

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