Las Sendas

PROPOSED CC&R AMENDMENT

Vote YES to prohibit short-term rentals
 
 
Our original CC&Rs — agreed to by all Las Sendas owners at closing — state that every home must be used for residential purposes by a single family.
 
As short-term rental and vacation homes became popular, the Las Sendas Community Association wanted to address the issue. In 2009, a "good neighbor policy" was implemented to promote harmony in our community. This rental policy was consistent with the original intent of our CC&Rs and prohibited any new leases from having a term of six months or less. This policy was invalidated when, in 2016, new state legislation required rental restrictions to be included in a community's CC&Rs. Our CC&Rs do not have rental time restrictions.
 
The board received increasing resident complaints about activity coming from short-term renters as they came to Las Sendas. The board decided to form a resident-led working group to research the impact of short-term rentals on our neighborhoods and Las Sendas as a whole.
 
In 2019, Las Sendas had approximately 50 confirmed (and estimated to be more) homes advertised for lease as vacation rentals. The group continued to monitor this number as they moved forward and reviewed several methods to regulate problematic short-term rentals. Today the number of vacation rentals advertised and located in Las Sendas has more than doubled. The Association estimates that about 17% of Las Sendas homes are potential rental properties, many of which have not yet registered with the Association despite the rental policy which requires them to do so.
 
As the number of vacation rentals has increased, the Association's nuisance violations have increased. Nuisances from any property, including short-term rentals, may negatively affect eight or more neighboring properties. Some examples of nuisance violations include:
  • Excessive noise (loud music, late-night parties, profanity)
  • Business activity not consistent with a residential neighborhood
  • Trash containers placed on the street several times per week
  • Large numbers of cars blocking fire lanes and neighboring driveways
  • Excessive and disrespectful usage of community amenities by guests
 
Compared to 2019, confirmed nuisance violations increased in 2021 (through November) by 41%. Violations related to trash increased by 70%, and properties' commercial use increased by 25% (2020 violations were omitted from this comparison due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
 
We know that the number of short-term rentals in Las Sendas is continually rising — so while you may not currently have one in your immediate vicinity, this could easily change at any time. Problematic short-term rentals can have adverse effects on their nearby neighbors, others in their enclave, and even the Las Sendas community as a whole.
 
The Las Sendas board supported the initiative to propose a CC&R amendment to restrict vacation rentals, as has successfully been done in similar master-planned communities such as Desert Mountain and The Islands. This amendment would require all rental contracts to be 31 days or more, at which point the state of Arizona has property management licensing requirements.
 
If approved by a 75% vote of all property owners, the proposed amendment would prohibit short-term rentals (or vacation rentals) in our residential community.
 
The board invites homeowners to vote YES to the proposed amendment. We encourage you to be well informed and ask you to review all resources provided. You can reach the Association offices at 480-357-8780 with any questions or feedback.
 
Printable FAQs
 
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WHY SHOULD I VOTE YES?

We want Las Sendas to remain a safe, family-friendly community where neighbors know one another. Short-term rentals (often advertised through Airbnb or Vrbo) are popular vacation destinations. Las Sendas is one of the few master-planned communities in the area without CC&Rs that restrict short-term rentals. Without a CC&R amendment, Las Sendas presents vacation rental investors with an easy business opportunity.
 
Las Sendas homeowners have already reported the adverse effects that short-term rentals have on their neighborhoods.
 
Some of these effects include:
  • Excessive noise
  • Late-night parties (24/7)
  • Illegal or problematic parking
  • Trash issues
  • Overwhelming or disrespectful amenity usage
  • General lack of compliance with community rules
 

HOW CAN I VOTE?

You can vote online, by mail, or in person at the Trailhead. If you vote online, you'll need your 16-digit access key, which was provided by mail to all owners, and in an email from invitations@mail.electionbuddy.com. If you don't have your access key, call the Association offices at 480-357-8780 to retrieve it.
 
Paper written consent forms can be retrieved and then mailed or returned to the Las Sendas Community Association at 7900 E. Eagle Crest Dr., Mesa, Arizona, 85207.
 
If you want to vote in person, you may do so at the Las Sendas Trailhead at 7900 E. Eagle Crest Dr., Mesa, Arizona, 85207. Our office hours on Monday through Friday, 8:30 am-4:30 pm.
 
Once you have your physical or online written consent form, we invite you to vote YES.
 
Because this is a written consent vote, there is no due date, giving you time to review these materials. See FAQs — VOTING for more information on how the voting process works.
 

WHAT DOES THE AMENDMENT ACTUALLY SAY?

The proposed CC&R amendment states that Las Sendas homes:
  • May not be rented or leased for less than 31 consecutive days
  • May not be advertised for lease as a vacation rental
  • May not be used as timeshare or fractional interest properties
These restrictions would apply to the full residential unit and lot. Click here to read the proposed amendment in its entirety.
 
Click here to read the red-lined version (note that the red text is the proposed addition/amendment).
 

FAQs

Here you'll find a few of the most frequently asked questions about the proposed short-term rental CC&R amendment vote. For answers to all frequently asked questions, click the "Printable FAQs" button below.
 
Printable FAQs
 
What are CC&Rs and what do they have to do with short-term rentals?
 
When you purchased your home in Las Sendas, you agreed to abide by a set of community rules. These rules were outlined in a Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (or CC&Rs). Currently, these rules do not prohibit short-term rentals. Click here to view our CC&Rs.
 
 
What is a short-term rental?
 
A short-term rental is a home or any other portion of a lot made available to renters for a short time, often for vacation. Airbnb and Vrbo are popular apps that advertise short-term rentals. They are sometimes referred to as vacation rentals.
 
 
What are timeshares and fractional interest properties?
 
Timeshares are properties owned under a time-sharing agreement, usually where several owners use a property as a vacation home and not for residential use. A fractional interest property is very similar where multiple families purchase a property for vacation purposes and split their usage based on their ownership percentage.
 
 
How big of a problem are short-term rentals in Las Sendas, really?
 
Presently, the Association estimates that about 17% of Las Sendas homes are potential rental properties. While we are gathering data through our rental registration, Las Sendas residents have reported illegal parking, excessive (often late-night) noise, and disrespectful usage of community amenities by short-term rental guests. These temporary guests may not have a vested interest in keeping our amenities clean and in good condition.
 
We know that the number of short-term rentals in Las Sendas is continually rising — so while you may not currently have one in your immediate vicinity, this could easily change at any time. Problematic short-term rentals can have adverse effects on their nearby neighbors, others in their enclave, and even the Las Sendas community as a whole.
 
 
Didn't we already have a policy prohibiting short-term rentals?
 
Yes; however, that policy has since been invalidated. In 2009, the Las Sendas Community Association implemented a good neighbor policy to promote harmony within the community through a rental policy that prohibited any new leases from having a term of six months or less. This policy was invalidated when, in 2016, Governor Doug Ducey signed into legislation A.R.S. §33-1806.0l(A), allowing any individual to use their home as a short-term rental unless expressly prohibited by a community's CC&Rs (ours do not).
 
 
Why 31 days?
 
The Las Sendas Board of Directors and the Short-term Rental Working Group chose this length of time as a compromise, primarily because most rental complaints have been related to vacationers who violate Las Sendas rules. Such violations include loud and late-night partying, excessive street and fire lane parking, or trash bins being placed out multiple times per week on non-collection days.
 
It is believed that tenants with leases longer than 31 days are likely living in a home as residents and not as vacationers. This time frame also allows our seasonal residents to rent out their home while they may be out of town for more than a month at a time.
 
 
Instead of prohibiting short-term rentals, why aren’t we working with owners or property managers to address individual problems?
 
Many short-term rental owners and property managers are responsive and willing to assist with enforcement and concerns; however, many others are not. Even if an owner or property manager is willing to help and does their best to manage guests and their activities, they are often not made aware of a problem until after it has occurred. This means Las Sendas residents are still impacted by short-term rentals.
 
 
If passed, what will happen to short-term rentals currently in the community?
 
If the amendment is passed, there will be a six-month grace period where short-term rentals can continue to run as usual. After the six months, short-term rentals will no longer be allowed in Las Sendas. These properties may opt to sell, convert to a long-term rental, or otherwise use the home for residential purposes.
 
Once the amendment is recorded, it will be publicly available to potential buyers and investors and disclosed through the escrow process.
 
 
Does this amendment allow my deed to be held in a trust, LLC, or family designation?
 
Yes. If this amendment passes, deeds may still be held in a trust, LLC, or family designation, so long as the property is used for residential purposes and not as a short-term or vacation rental investment.
 
 
If passed, can my family and friends still stay at my home?

Yes. This proposed amendment would not prohibit you from inviting over family or friends for any occasion. However, the amendment would prohibit Las Sendas owners from allowing their family and friends to rent the home for less than 31 days.
 
 
I have a short-term rental next to me and don’t have any problems. Why are we taking away the rights of people who enjoy vacationing in Las Sendas and who don’t break rules?
 
Las Sendas owners have an expectation that their rights as owners would be prioritized over the rights of non-residents who are vacationing in their neighborhoods. Owners often express an expectation for quiet enjoyment of their homes, and for the association to enforce community rules.
 
The board initiated the amendment process because it heard from many owners over the past three years that many short-term rentals often welcome guests that negatively impact the quiet enjoyment of their homes. Owners also contact our association with great frustration about the repeated violations at short-term rental properties, which are difficult to capture and effectively enforce.
 
 
Why are enclave ambassadors contacting me?
 
Enclave ambassadors are your neighbors who’ve volunteered their time to provide you with association-produced materials regarding the proposed amendment. Their primary role is to encourage you to participate in the vote.
 
If you have any additional concerns regarding enclave ambassadors, please contact our association offices during regular business hours at 480-357-8780.
 
 
Why do I need to vote?
 
If you choose not to vote, you are essentially voting against this amendment. Abstaining from voting (or voting "no") indicates that you are in favor of having short-term vacation rentals in our community. It will take no less than 75% of members voting affirmatively to prohibit short-term rentals.
 
 
Can I change my vote after submitting it?
 
Yes – at any time during the open vote should a homeowner change their mind, they may revoke their original consent by submitting a written request.
 
 
How do I vote "yes"?
 
By selecting "I hereby indicate my consent to and approval of the proposed Amendment" online or on your paper written consent form, you are effectively voting "YES" to amend our CC&Rs and prohibit short-term rentals in Las Sendas.
 
By selecting "I hereby indicate that I do not consent to or approve of the proposed Amendment" or if you do not vote at all, you are effectively voting "NO" and saying you do not want to approve the amendment to our CC&Rs.
 
 
When will this vote end, and when will we know the results?
 
This CC&R amendment vote is a written consent vote. This means that the vote will not end until enough residents vote either in favor or against the proposed amendment. Our CC&Rs require that 75% of Las Sendas homeowners vote in favor of any amendment for it to be adopted.
 
Once we have enough votes either in favor or against the proposed amendment, the votes will be validated by a third party for authenticity and current homeownership in Las Sendas. The Association will notify all residents of the vote's outcome.
 

What is being done to ensure the vote isn’t “rigged”?
 
Las Sendas is using two third-party services to help ensure the integrity of the vote. First, ElectionBuddy is our online voting platform. They assign a 16-digit code to each unit which allows each unit to only vote once. If the association receives 75% approval, ElectionBuddy will provide documentation to certify the results. 
 
Additionally, the association will utilize a third-party firm to count the paper ballots and further review the votes to ensure integrity.
 
Again, this is a proposed amendment that the board is putting to a community vote. Although the board believes it’s in the community’s best interest to vote yes, they would in no way ever compromise the integrity of the vote.

ADDRESSING OPPOSITION

The positive aspects of short-term rentals — and arguments for a "no" vote — were considered. Below are responses to address these concerns.
 
Printable FAQs
 
The availability of short-term rentals allows for friends or family of Las Sendas residents to stay in close proximity.
 
The opening of a new hotel, Home2Suites by Hilton Mesa Longbow, offers accommodations in close proximity to Las Sendas. This hotel is just five minutes from the Power Road entrance into Las Sendas
 
 
Short-term rentals allow prospective buyers to experience living in the neighborhood before purchasing.
 
Prospective buyers can still experience the neighborhood by arranging a rental that is longer than 31 days.
 
 
Short-term rentals allow homeowners to generate an income from their homes.
 
Owners may still generate an income from their home by renting it out for longer than 31 days. The majority of problems arise from vacation rentals of short duration. The restriction of rentals shorter than 31 days is to maintain the owner’s ability to generate income, yet ensure it is not at the cost of the quality of life of residents in neighboring homes. One problem rental can affect residents in 8 or more surrounding homes, while renters’ behavior when using the common amenities can potentially affect everyone in the Association.
 
 
The Amendment will restrict homeowners’ ability to generate an income.
 
Owners may still generate an income by renting their property for more than 31 days.
 
 
The Amendment is coming out of the blue and changing the rules.
 
It is clear that the initial intent of our CC&Rs was to preserve a residential lifestyle in Las Sendas by restricting homes to single-family use and limiting business use of each property. At the time the CC&Rs were drafted, vacation rentals were not a known issue.
 
In 2009, when vacation rentals started to become more popular, the board at the time moved to preserve the residential lifestyle in Las Sendas by banning rentals shorter than six months. That restriction was in place until it was invalidated in 2016 by new state legislation. After seven years, the state legislature changed the rules, invalidating the existing Las Sendas policy.
 
In 2019 — after receiving numerous complaints from residents as short-term rentals returned to the community — the Board initiated the process of investigating appropriate next steps to preserve the residential lifestyle in Las Sendas.
 
The board then established the Short-term Rental Working Group, as communicated to residents in meeting minutes from the February 28, 2019 open session board meeting. Owners were invited to submit applications to join the working group and updates were provided to residents through various communication channels over the last two years. The efforts of the working group eventually led to this proposed amendment vote.
 
 
The Amendment is unnecessary. Airbnb and VRBO will deal with problem short-term rentals if they receive complaints and will even remove them off of their websites.
 
While this may be true for many short-term rental properties, it is not an immediate process and does nothing to prevent those problem short-term rentals from moving to a different platform that does not have the same policies.  
 
Additionally, not all short-term rentals are associated with Airbnb, Vrbo, or other larger entities with established complaint processes. For these lots, gaining assistance from owners or managers has been difficult.
 
Finally, when owners and property managers are willing and able to act quickly to address concerns, their efforts are often reactionary since it is difficult for them to prevent every unique guest from breaking established rules.
 
 
The Amendment will penalize everyone rather than just dealing with the problematic short-term rentals.
 
Several steps have been taken in an attempt to deal with problem rentals. Unfortunately, the efforts are labor-intensive, time-consuming, potentially risky, and ultimately do not provide timely relief to the residents living in neighboring homes who have a right to enjoy their residence in peace.
 
Monitoring and dealing with problem short-term rentals represent a financial cost that affects all members of the Association.
 
While owners of short-term rentals and owners who want the option to rent their homes as short-term rentals may have this option removed, the amendment — if passed — will protect the rights of the greater majority of owners who are residing in Las Sendas.
 
 
Association funds are being wasted on this issue and on trying to get owners to vote "YES".
 
A great deal of staff time, Association funds, and even police resources have been utilized to deal with complaints about problematic short-term rentals in our community. With the increasing popularity of short-term rentals and the ever-increasing number of vacation rental properties in Las Sendas, the expectation is that the resources required to deal with problematic short-term rentals will only continue to increase.
 
Dealing with this issue now and allocating funds aimed at trying to prevent the problem is felt to be most cost-effective. In this case, the board has reason to believe this issue is impactful to the entire community, and that the amendment would be in the best interest of the community as a whole.
 
 
The short-term rental issue was dealt with in secrecy.
 
The board made an open call for volunteers to sit on the Short-term Rental Working Group (STRWG). When nine volunteers responded, the board voted to expand the committee to nine members from seven in order to allow everyone interested to join the group. All meetings held by the STRWG were open to members of the Association and many were attended by one or more guests.
 
Recommendations were made to and voted on by the board at open meetings. Meeting dates of both the STRWG and the Board were advertised in an email newsletter, our online community calendar, and other usual communication channels. In addition, articles were published in our community magazine to update the community on the STRWG’s activities.

TOWN HALL FOLLOW-UP

In January 2022, we held a virtual-only town hall meeting with a brief presentation, testimonial video, voting progress update, and answers to pre-submitted questions. Watch the recorded town hall meeting below.
 
 
In November 2021, we held our first town hall meeting regarding the proposed CC&R amendment. Residents submitted many questions that we answered in our updated FAQs and web page introduction.
 
Printable FAQs
 
Many residents asked for relevant statistics regarding short-term rentals in Las Sendas. Please review the introduction to this web page for this information.
 
Some questions raised that are not answered in our FAQs include:  
 

What is in place to determine whether a short-term renter is a sex offender, compared to a resident owner or long-term renter?
 
You can search for registered sex offenders residing long-term in a neighborhood online at nsopw.gov. The screening level of a guest staying in a vacation rental varies depending on the owner, the rental platform, etc. For example, the Airbnb website indicates that in the USA, if the registering guest has a valid name and birthdate and is from the US, Airbnb "will check certain databases of public state and county criminal records as well as state and national sex offender registries.”
 
 
Will the community be receiving regular updates on how the vote is progressing?
 
Once voting closes the final numbers will be released. Only the total number of votes cast will be available while voting is open.
 
 
The amendment states that the full lot must be rented. Does that mean that if the Amendment does not pass, I can rent out my backyard pool?
 
Currently, there is nothing in our CC&Rs that would prohibit someone from renting out their pool or other portion of their property. If the Amendment passes this would not be allowed.
 
 
Thanks to everyone who participated in our town meeting and has already voted. If you haven't yet, you can click the link below to vote now.
 
Vote now