Short term rental use held not to violate covenant prohibiting "commercial activity"

The courts continue to split on this question with the majority holding use of property for short-term rental (such as vacation rental or Airbnb use) is a residential rather than a commercial use. The Wisconsin Supreme Court has joined the courts that have found short-term home rentals to be consistent with a covenant prohibiting "commercial activity." Forshee v. Neuschwander, 914 N.W.2d 643 (Wis. 2018).


The court noted that "[p]ublic policy of the State of Wisconsin favors the free and unrestricted use of property…Accordingly, restrictions contained in deeds and in zoning ordinances must be strictly construed to favor unencumbered and free use of property. Consequently, in order to be enforceable, deed restrictions that limit the free use of property must be expressed in clear, unambiguous, and peremptory terms."