Should Your HOA Outlaw Renters?

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Renting is a troublesome topic amongst HOA’s for a variety of reasons.

Many stereotypes follow renters, giving HOA’s an excuse to limit renting within their community, or prohibit it outright. However, not all renters are the harbingers of dreadful deeds, and there can be a middle ground between renters, landlords and HOA’s. Here are some tips to consider before implementing or reviewing an HOA policy against renters.

HOA’s have managed renters successfully before.

There are innumerable success stories of HOA’s allowing renters within their association. Most of the time, there were rules and restrictions in place. Because the community and the neighbors are expecting renters to follow HOA rules, make it very clear what the regulations are. Often times, HOA’s will require the landlord provide a copy of the governing documents to the renters, including the Rules and Regulations.

Be aware that stifling and overbearing restrictions can cause dissent amongst the landlords and the renters. Contention can also be caused by outlawing renters completely, so be prepared for any friction that may come if this is your course of action. Write each governing law with purpose, or in other words, to prevent something that is common or that has happened in the past. This way, each rule has a purpose and can be defended if need be.

Remember, landlords are responsible for their tenants!

If there is a rule in the community regarding the property or the occupants inside, it is the landlord's responsibility to see that it is followed. For example, if there is a regulation on political signs or affiliations, it is the owner of the property’s job to see that this rule is not violated. This can include negative circumstances as well. If the occupant of the house tresspasses a law in the association, it is the duty of the landlord to pay any fines, though they may be reimbursed by the tenant.

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Any communication that is done between the tenant and the HOA should be done through the landlord.

In other words, the landlord should be the middleman in all exchanges with the HOA and the resident of the house. That being said, there are some exceptions in which an HOA may step in. If the resident breaks a civil law that is above the HOA’s power, the HOA may call the authorities directly and deal with the issue from there. This strategic system of power allows for the landlords, not the HOA, to deal with renters and any problems that arise.

Changing the governing documents will not be easy.

If you are a landlord or a potential landlord, and you have issues with the governing documents, be forewarned. Amending the CC&R’s, which is where renting policies are commonly found, is not an easy or quick solution. Only if you are invested in the renting market should this avenue be traveled. In any situation where a rule is fought, seek out others who feel the same way. Together, you are more likely to make progress than if everyone fought alone.

While there may have been bad experiences in the past with renters, this shouldn’t keep an HOA from outlawing renters from entering the community. With the proper regulations in place, and a landlord to be the middleman of every exchange between association and tenant, renters can have a wonderful experience in any HOA. Without the friction that normally stereotypes HOA and tenant relations, both parties can enormously benefit.

This article contains general information. Individual situations are unique; please, consult your attorney, accountant or other professional before utilizing any of the information contained in this article.

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Source: Neighborhood Link - Sabrina Robinson
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