Renters May Not Be a Problem in HOAs

renters in your communityWhen selling homes, it generally doesn’t take long for the topic of renters and rental properties to arise. Many associations have seen a sharp increase in rentals in their neighborhoods.  Few associations  have rental caps to limit the percentage of homes that can become rentals.  Discussion of rental properties almost always involve eye rolling and discounting… you know that trashy house on the corner with the tacky inflatable dinosaur in the front yard.

But what is the truth? Are rentals a bad thing?

The answer is complex. They are what you make of them. It is true that rental properties typically do not look as spiffy as the resident owned properties. Absentee owners often do not (or cannot) put the same care and detail into a rental property that they would put into their own residence. So yes, you may point a finger of blame at the rentals for not maintaining the highest standards of the community, but remember when you point, three fingers are also pointing back at you.

Many associations treat renters as second-class citizens. While they may not purposely discriminate against them, they typically exclude them from the benefits of the community; simply because they do not have voting rights.  Renters often have no clue what is happening in the community because they simply are not communicated with.  Odds are  they do not know that they cannot put up the inflatable dinosaur in the front yard, because they were never given a copy of the declaration or the rules when they signed the rental agreement.

renters in your communityThink about it.  When sending out an association newsletter or communication, does your HOA typically mail to just the the homeowners of record?  Or do you also include the renters?  How many rental property owners do you think actually take the time to forward information from the association on to the renter?  Answer: zero.  How can you blame a renter for not following the rules when you have no assurances they were ever actually given the rules?

So here is the thought for the day.  The truth is rentals ARE twice the work of any other home.  You must communicate with two stakeholders, the rental’s owner and the rental’s occupant.  When new renters move in, welcome them as you would any other new homeowner with a small token and a copy of the CC&R’s and rules.  Invite them to community meetings, explaining that they cannot vote, but they may be interested in what is going on within the community.

Bottom line… before talking “rental cap” – embrace your renters

Don’t discount them as temporary occupants; sometimes renters have the potential to be future homeowners.  Even if they don’t purchase a home in the neighborhood, they can still be actively involved in building your community.  Two helping hands on neighborhood clean up day… are still two helping hands… regardless of whether they are attached to a homeowner or a renter.