Court sides with homeowners in NC ski country who want short-term rentals

HIGH COUNTRY, N.C. — After a homeowners association in the North Carolina High Country tried to block short-term rentals during ski season, a court has ruled against the HOA.

The Reserve II sits feet from the slopes on the top of Sugar Mountain in Avery County. Jeff and Martha Wells have had their home there for more than 10 years. At one time, they rented their condominium.

They spoke to Channel 9′s Dave Faherty about the three-year-long battle over whether or not short-term rentals should be allowed there.

“I feel like the people who are suing really have the right to a short-term rental because they bought with that intent,” Martha Wells said.

In January 2021, the board of the homeowners association received complaints of overcrowding, noise, garbage, and unauthorized parking during ski season. It’s why they voted to ban short-term rentals during the winter months.

Tom Drasites lives just down the street and told Faherty that ski season can be overwhelming at times.

“Three-day weekends, bachelor parties, kids coming in and partying hard -- I’m not too much into it. I’d rather have a long-term rental,” he said.

The court of appeals found that the trial court was correct when it ruled in favor of the homeowners. They wanted short-term rentals, explaining “an amendment to a condominium association’s declaration which contained a prohibition on short-term rentals was unreasonable where the original declaration expressly contemplated the units being rented.”

Jeff Wells believes many of the problems came during the pandemic, which was when he said short-term rentals increased in the mountains.

“People weren’t following any of the rules,” he said. “They’d leave their trash out. And they’d bring extra cars. That’s what started the whole thing.”

Faherty is still trying to find out if the homeowners association will have to pay all of the attorney’s fees for the court battle.

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