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ZONING: Can a zoned single family residence be rented for short-term occupancy?

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | December 23, 2017

No. 1,380

Image: blogairdna.co


The Township Zoning Officer issued an enforcement notice charging Slice of Life, LLC with violation of an ordinance creating a single family residential district where the property [Property] was located by “[u]se of [the Property] as Hotel and/or other types of transient lodging, Rental of Single Family Residential Dwelling for transient tenancies.”

The Zoning Hearing Board upheld the citation and the trial court affirmed, stating that the Board had not abused its description in holding that the use of the Property.

Upon review, the Commonwealth Court reversed.

Appellants point out that the ordinance does not define the terms “transient lodging” or “transient tenancies.” The single family house in question did not meet the definition of a hotel, which involved multiple units, not a single-family dwelling, as here. However the Court stated that it is not permissible to pursue the perceived spirit of a law while ignoring the letter.  A review of case law supports the conclusion that a short-term lease of a single family residence is permissible under this ordinance, since it did not contain any specific provision addressing the length of the tenancy.



CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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