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Subject: Who resides in homes
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Author Messages
(New York)


11/27/2018 9:09 AM  
We have a non-gated townhouse community and have a limit on the number of rentals of residences. What we don't know however is owners who rent out part of their home while still living in it. If it relatives and it is just a local arrangement there is not much we can do about it, or at least I don't think so. If the owner is renting to non-relatives that may be something we need to find a way to control.

So I am wondering if anyone has a way of getting an inventory or census of people who live in their units? Any suggestions will be appreciated.


11/27/2018 9:26 AM  
The only thing I can think of is sending out a notice, but if no one responds, you won't know what's what, and people can and do lie, so it's easy for someone to say "oh, my cousin lives there," when it isn't true. That's part of the problem with limiting the number of rentals (I also live in a townhouse community and we tried to amend our CCRs this way, but it was a colossal failure).

A lot of work is needed to get some sort of accounting and you have to do it continously, so if that's what you're willing to do, you may wish to start with the folks you know aren't living in the community (you should have an address list that shows where association mail goes). You may also want to consider homeowner complaints - are people complaining about folks who seem to be moving in and out of the homes regularly? You could then contact those people and ask what's going on, but once again, they may or may not tell you.

I'm not a fan of HOAs being overrun by rentals because I saw a lot of problems during my 10 years on the board, but what I also found is the behavior is what you really need to concentrate on. Many (not all) investor-owners tend to pick communities where the board is lax on rule enforcement and will rent to anyone with a check that doesn't bounce and don't care if those tenants play well with others or not. You really shouldn't be able to tell the difference between a owner-occupied home and one being rented out because everyone should be held accountable in following the rules.

So, start there - what sort of problems have you been seeing in the community? It may be time for the board to tell EVERYONE that effective immediately, there will be increased rule enforcement, starting with X number of issues. Remind everyone where the rules are, why they exist, the penalties for violating them and appeal rights. When you ramp up enforcement, be prepared for pushback, but be consistent and fair, and keep going.

As people see they will not be able to get away with whatever, you will likely see where the problems are coming from and you can hammer the homeowners accordingly. Note I said homeowners - you can't have crazy tenants without landlords willing to rent to them and unless they want to pay fine after fine, they might start paying more attention to who they rent to. This also goes for the people who are letting their cousins/aunts/grandparents and whatnot stay with them. Good luck!


11/27/2018 9:31 AM  
As Shelia indicates, focus on rules enforcement. In particular, do the HOA's CC&Rs allow the HOA to require a parking permit issued by the front office? Require vehicle make, model, license plate number, and a copy of the registration. Then routinely tour the parking lot. See if the CC&Rs allow any vehicle parked for more than three days, without a permit, to be towed. Post plenty of notice of this new policy well in advance of implementing it.


11/28/2018 11:53 AM  
You could get a general idea of what homeowners are living onsite by doing a property records search. If the owner has a different address from the property, then they probably are leasing out their unit, but they may have other reasons for using a different address, so it's not definite.

As for owners who are living onsite and renting out the property too, there's really no way to know that unless they volunteer the information.

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