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Subject: Special Meeting- Impact Fee
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TerriM8
(Missouri)

Posts:15


09/30/2020 6:35 PM  
Our HOA Board has agreed to hold a special meeting at request of owners.
Some owners are upset about too many rentals in the complex- and want to discuss how to handle this- possibly an Impact Fee for owners that rent. This would help pay for the extra trash, water, security that is needed due to large number of rentals.

When the Board sent out the notice of the meeting, they are calling the meeting Informational Only, no voting will take place, so no proxies will be needed. The Board said this was the recommendation our management company.

I see nothing in our bylaws and decs about Special Meetings being classified as "Informational Only."
It says Special Meetings can be called by President, by the board, or by 25% of owners. It also states the only topic will be what the Special Meeting is being called for, unless a majority of owners present agree to dicsuss other issues.

Thank you
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3512


09/30/2020 7:10 PM  
If your documents say a special meeting must specify what will be discussed, it's perfectly fine to call it a special meeting to discuss the pros and cons of impact fees for rental property or something similar. That's an example of what a special meeting is - something to address an extraordinary tooic, which could range from voting on a special assessment to meeting candidates for the upcoming board election.

Usually HOAs ( the responsible ones anyway) have meetings where people can get information, ask questions, brainstorm ideas, etc, before having another to cast a vote. So calm down and go to the meeting and perhaps learn something. Or not - that's your choice too.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:4130


09/30/2020 9:48 PM  
Is it a Special Board Meeting or a Special Members Meeting? At the latter, sharing information is probably all you can do anyway since the power to actually make decisions rests with the board, not the members (unless the members are required to vote on something that the members are entitled to vote on, such as a special assessment, amendments to the governing documents, a recall vote, a special election vote, etc).

The most impactful thing the owners can do is vote for board members at the next election who support or reject the idea of additional rental restrictions. The next most impactful thing the owners might vote for, or against, is an amendment to the CC&Rs that will make the rental restrictions a reality.

Getting all the members together at a Special Meeting isn't going to accomplish much except to share information and take the pulse of where the owners stand as a whole. It won't be binding.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:1315


10/01/2020 5:44 AM  
The OP didn't ask about this, but the association should first investigate the legality of charging a special fee to landlords simply because they are landlords. We've had similar discussions in my community about assessing pet owners a fee, and our attorney said "nope, discriminatory". This could vary by state, but I'm not so sure...

The real solution to keeping the number of rentals down is a properly worded and enforced rental restriction. The problem is that you have to enact this while the numbers are still low, otherwise you won't have the necessary votes to amend the governing docs.



CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:1315


10/01/2020 5:47 AM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 10/01/2020 5:44 AM
The OP didn't ask about this, but the association should first investigate the legality of charging a special fee to landlords simply because they are landlords. We've had similar discussions in my community about assessing pet owners a fee, and our attorney said "nope, discriminatory". This could vary by state, but I'm not so sure...

The real solution to keeping the number of rentals down is a properly worded and enforced rental restriction. The problem is that you have to enact this while the numbers are still low, otherwise you won't have the necessary votes to amend the governing docs.





Should have added: if an amended rental restriction isn't possible, then you're left with strict enforcement of the association's CC&Rs and rules and going after landlords whose tenants are causing problems.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:10014


10/01/2020 9:39 AM  
Terri

Easy enough. The subject of the Special Meeting is Rental Impact Fees. I think the meeting was misnamed. It could have been called Informational Meeting to discuss Rental Impact Fees versus a Special Meeting.

The questions will be, does it require owners approving and what % of owners? If you set fees will you have push back (possibly legal) from those that rent their units. To nip this in the bud, have an attorney advise how to do so.

KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7579


10/01/2020 10:00 AM  
As someone else asked: Is this a special meeting of the board or a special meting of the members? See your bylaws for the differences between the two.
KellyM3
(North Carolina)

Posts:1559


10/01/2020 10:36 AM  
I think your HOA board may be treading into discrimination territory by claiming that occupied homes generate more trash and burden on the overall community. If those same rentals were owner-occupied, how would the owners create less community impact than if it's a tenant?

I understand the opposition to having an abundance of rentals in a neighborhood but blaming tenants seems to be a stretch.
ND
(PA)

Posts:504


10/01/2020 11:20 AM  
Posted By KellyM3 on 10/01/2020 10:36 AM
I think your HOA board may be treading into discrimination territory by claiming that occupied homes generate more trash and burden on the overall community. If those same rentals were owner-occupied, how would the owners create less community impact than if it's a tenant?

I understand the opposition to having an abundance of rentals in a neighborhood but blaming tenants seems to be a stretch.



I am also questioning the correlation between rented units and "extra trash, water, security that is needed". Can you explain how the HOA arrived at the conclusion that rented units are specifically and solely the cause of whatever issues are necessitating extra trash, water, and security?
TerriM8
(Missouri)

Posts:15


10/01/2020 11:30 AM  
It is a special members meeting. The members do want to discuss possible options on how to handle the rental situation at our HOA. Hopefully a lot of ideas and brainstorming will take place.

Rental restrictions- amending the bylaws might be our best bet (as one on this thread said- before there are more rentals).

Unfortunately rules are not enforced. The board president has sole discretion on who gets warnings and fines when violations are reported. Hopefully that can be ironed out soon.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:10014


10/01/2020 11:43 AM  
Posted By KellyM3 on 10/01/2020 10:36 AM
I think your HOA board may be treading into discrimination territory by claiming that occupied homes generate more trash and burden on the overall community. If those same rentals were owner-occupied, how would the owners create less community impact than if it's a tenant?

I understand the opposition to having an abundance of rentals in a neighborhood but blaming tenants seems to be a stretch.



I agree.
TerriM8
(Missouri)

Posts:15


10/01/2020 11:50 AM  
I believe in the last 6 months, our complex has had to go to twice a week trash pick up, rather than once a week.
All units are small and can only have 2 - 4 guests. Unfortunately some owners rent to people that have 6-8 guests.
More trash and more water. Numerous times, especially this summer, security/property management has been called to our property due to rental/guest issues. Loud partying, fighting, and fireworks on the docks to name a few.

Personally, I think if rules were enforced and some owners were fined, then they might do a better job of screening their renters. Rule enforcement is a bit of a problem.
Nearly all the rentals are short-term, 2-5 days. About 30% of our units are rented out this way.

The whole impact fee was brought up by our property management company, (after owners complained about the unruly guest, not following rules, etc). So what I think started out as a concern about renters behavior- turned in to a way to charge the owners that rent- when the PM suggested an Impact Fee. The issue for owners did not start out as a way to get more money from Owners that rent. It was more about how to get owners to follow the rules. It turned into an impact fee discussion after the owner of our PM company suggested it.

I think our meeting will have good positive discussion.
TerriM8
(Missouri)

Posts:15


10/01/2020 11:58 AM  
Our complex consists of small condos at a lake in MO. All are about (550 sq feet).

Many units are empty when the owner is not there, which would be the reasoning as far as generation of more trash, water, etc.

(I think I mistakenly replied to another person on this thread in regards to the questions you asked).

Thank you for your time.

GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:4130


10/01/2020 12:05 PM  
Posted By ND on 10/01/2020 11:20 AM
I am also questioning the correlation between rented units and "extra trash, water, security that is needed". Can you explain how the HOA arrived at the conclusion that rented units are specifically and solely the cause of whatever issues are necessitating extra trash, water, and security?

Me too. I don't get how more rentals translate into extra trash, water and security" costs. Maybe the issue is short term rentals where rowdy transients throw loud parties for their friends and guests and they generate a large amount of waste and trash way above normal, and use copious amounts of water on top of it all.

If enough people want this then I suggest you move on it ASAP. If you wait too long then owners whose primary goal with their units/homes is to generate income will have the upper hand. They'll never vote for more rental restrictions and then you're stuck.

Also, I would consider amending the CC&Rs with any new or changed rental restrictions. I don't think the rights of owners should be restricted in the Bylaws.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:10014


10/01/2020 2:34 PM  
Typically it is often illegal to change some of the basic right of owners. One on the most hotly contested issues is putting in rental restrictions of any type when there were none.
AugustinD


Posts:4153


10/01/2020 4:21 PM  
Posted By TerriM8 on 10/01/2020 11:50 AM

The whole impact fee was brought up by our property management company, (after owners complained about the unruly guest, not following rules, etc).
Were the next sentences coming out of the mouth of the property manager, "But I pulled 'impact fee' out of my arse. To assess rental units differently than non-rental units, an amendment to the Bylaws or Declaration would be necessary. Even then such an amendment might not pass muster with a court,"? If not, then your property manager is clueless.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9648


10/01/2020 8:43 PM  
It should be noted that it is not necessarily LEGAL to put in rental restrictions. You can write them into your by-laws or CC&R's all day long and twice on Sunday if you want. Doesn't mean it is legal and enforceable in your state. If an owner chooses to rent their home out, the HOA does NOT own that home to restrict it's use. It is focused on it's "looks".

The real "impact" for too many rentals is NOT dirty un-maintained property. Owners can do the SAME thing with their own property without renting it out. The HOA's job is to make sure the OWNERS adhere to the "beauty standard" whether or not a tenant lives there. Ultimately it is an OWNER issue NOT a renter.

Now all this being said, the "real" impact of having too many rentals is this. It lessens the availability of some loan options to potential buyers and raises refinance rates for those who already own. Meaning that a potential buyer may not be able to get a loan via FHA, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, or other government backed typed loans. They use a HUD form that evaluates the HOA like an HOA appraisal. It includes questions like rental #, lawsuits, dues collection rates, and if it's fee simple. These answers then are used to evaluate the "risk" of the HOA properties. A HOA with high rental, lawsuit pending, and collection issues means they may not take on that loan or refinance.

So before you all go down that rabbit hold, find out what your STATE says about it. Plus realize you can not blame everything on a renter. It's the owner whom isn't taking care of their property.
'

Former HOA President
NpB
(Arizona)

Posts:413


10/01/2020 9:33 PM  
By having restrictions on rentals, you are only making it more difficult to sell your property in the future. Not wise, because less people interested means less demand and lower property values. A lot of people buy a dwelling specifically to rent it. Why deter them as buyers?
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9648


10/02/2020 4:47 AM  
That makes no sense NPB. How would using your property as rental property effect home values at all? Not related. Home values are based on REAL NUMBERS. What houses in similar size bath/bedroom have sold or foreclosed for in last 6 months in a certain radius. Use of rental has no dog in that race...

Former HOA President
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:1315


10/02/2020 5:32 AM  
Posted By NpB on 10/01/2020 9:33 PM
By having restrictions on rentals, you are only making it more difficult to sell your property in the future. Not wise, because less people interested means less demand and lower property values. A lot of people buy a dwelling specifically to rent it. Why deter them as buyers?




Because if there are no rental restrictions, then you'll lose the buyers who don't want the disadvantages of living in a rental community along with the disadvantages of home ownership. (I'm one of them. If I'm going to live around transients, then I want the benefits of being one myself.) And you'll lose FHA eligibility. And lenders won't want to lend to buyers if there are too many rentals, further limiting your buyer pool to those who can afford to pay cash. And you'll have the fun of dealing with the airbnb's, and don't get me started on that.

Cathy's Rant du Jour: I have a real problem with investors who basically ruin condo communities. One of the reason that these properties are attractive to buyers *and* tenants is that nearly every home is owner occupied. By buying "investment property" they're basically destroying the main reason it's desirable. People who want to own rental property can buy up houses or apartment buildings - or if they don't have enough money to do so, they can buy shares of REITs (real estate investment trusts) which trade on the stock market like any other shares. It's not like their only option is renting out a condo. Finally, it's basically dishonest since the association (ie, the neighbors) are going to be picking up at least some of the slack for maintaining the property - if you own free standing property or shares of REITs, the entire cost of maintaining and managing falls on you the investor, which is exactly where it belongs. The neighbors didn't buy condos in order to help you make money. /end-rant
AugustinD


Posts:4153


10/02/2020 7:41 AM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 10/02/2020 5:32 AM
Finally, it's basically dishonest since the association (ie, the neighbors) are going to be picking up at least some of the slack for maintaining the property
I would say the workload on condo managers roughly doubles when half or more of the units are inhabited by tenants.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:1315


10/02/2020 7:56 AM  
The big problem is that condo communities can be targeted by investors - which happened during The Great Recession.

Investors start to buy up units in a community, and when they have enough to control the association, they convert the community to rental only.

The remaining owners (ie, those who hadn't seen the writing on the wall and bailed earlier) are given the option of either renting their homes or selling at a low price. The offering price continues to fall until the owners are forced to decide one way or the other.

And yes, this is perfectly legal.

There are good reasons for condo owners to be wary of landlords. It's not just that we're unreasonably bigoted against tenants, although I'm sure that some are. Condo communities work best when all owners are pulling together for the good of all. Owner-occupants' and landlords' interests differ in important ways.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:3275


10/02/2020 8:14 AM  
As someone who owns a couple of houses in a pretty nice neighborhood, and who joined the board of that neighborhood to help establish process and communications, I would certainly agree that rentals are bad for neighborhoods - unless those that own the rentals insist on higher standards than those owing and living in the neighborhood.

The first thing I found when I joined the board, was that many, many folks who owned and lived in the neighborhood blamed the rentals for looking bad and not paying the voluntary assessments (yeah, I know, a crazy concept, but it is just a fact in this neighborhood). My research via county records, showed that there were fewer rentals than believed, and that the properties most complained about were actually resident owners. Further, the non-resident owners paid assessments at over 25% higher rate than resident owners. Go figure.

So, I have written into the lease documents that the tenants will follow ALL rules and restrictions found in the CCRs, and other governing documents. I also provide landscaping services as part of the rent - this goes a long way to changing the views of the resident owners. Finally, when I hear of something, or do my own driveway, that is a violation - I immediately photograph it, and send to the rental management company who immediately notifies the tenant that we will abide by the terms of the rental contract and terminate the lease. This gets quick attention, and makes the resident owners feel you are a good neighbor.

NpB
(Arizona)

Posts:413


10/02/2020 8:32 AM  
Rentals are not bad for neighborhoods. Sounds a like a lot of people here want to discriminate against landlords.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:3275


10/02/2020 8:39 AM  
Of course rentals are (usually) bad for nice neighborhoods.
AugustinD


Posts:4153


10/02/2020 8:48 AM  
... and of course, as long as an investor is complying with the covenants, especially those regarding renting, the investor has the right to buy up units/homes. It is what it is.

An acquaintance of mine once complained that I was being classist when I complained about a high proportion of renters in my then condo community. I told him he should take his kvetching to housing lenders, since said lenders often and pursuant to the law, use the proportion of renters to limit or sometimes, prohibit home loans to borrowers.
NpB
(Arizona)

Posts:413


10/02/2020 8:53 AM  
In my HOA, there is no significant additional management company workload due to rentals. Most of the problems are with owner/occupied units, not rentals.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3512


10/02/2020 10:30 AM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 10/02/2020 5:32 AM
Posted By NpB on 10/01/2020 9:33 PM
By having restrictions on rentals, you are only making it more difficult to sell your property in the future. Not wise, because less people interested means less demand and lower property values. A lot of people buy a dwelling specifically to rent it. Why deter them as buyers?




Because if there are no rental restrictions, then you'll lose the buyers who don't want the disadvantages of living in a rental community along with the disadvantages of home ownership. (I'm one of them. If I'm going to live around transients, then I want the benefits of being one myself.) And you'll lose FHA eligibility. And lenders won't want to lend to buyers if there are too many rentals, further limiting your buyer pool to those who can afford to pay cash. And you'll have the fun of dealing with the airbnb's, and don't get me started on that.

Cathy's Rant du Jour: I have a real problem with investors who basically ruin condo communities. One of the reason that these properties are attractive to buyers *and* tenants is that nearly every home is owner occupied. By buying "investment property" they're basically destroying the main reason it's desirable. People who want to own rental property can buy up houses or apartment buildings - or if they don't have enough money to do so, they can buy shares of REITs (real estate investment trusts) which trade on the stock market like any other shares. It's not like their only option is renting out a condo. Finally, it's basically dishonest since the association (ie, the neighbors) are going to be picking up at least some of the slack for maintaining the property - if you own free standing property or shares of REITs, the entire cost of maintaining and managing falls on you the investor, which is exactly where it belongs. The neighbors didn't buy condos in order to help you make money. /end-rant




Amen! This is pretty much what happened in my community. Since I stepped down from my board in 2014, I don't know what the owner-occupant percentage is these days, but the community does seem quieter. Maybe because the rowdy owner-landlords left (or lost the house in foreclosure) or they've improved their tenant selection. Now if only we could stop all the mattresses, sofas and what not landing in the dumpster near our clubhouse!

As you can see Terri, the preceding discussion is what you'd likely hear if there was a special meeting to discuss the pros and cons of impact fees. This is why it's silly to quibble over what type of special meeting it is - you already know or should know, a specific topic will be discussed and the notice should state if there will be a homeowner vote or not. You already know this is supposed to be an information meeting - if you want to go, fine. If not, stay home.

If your real issue is that this may go through and you'd have to pay the fee because you want to rent out your home, you need to be honest about the situation, go to the meeting and say so (maybe people will agree with you.), so I really don't understand why you wondered if this was allowed by your Bylaws or not. Sometimes, people need to stop and use common sense once in a while - wouldn't you prefer the community to have a discussion about impact fees and then vote on whether to amend the CCRs to allow them? This is what informed voting is all about.

Whatever you decide, I believe rule enforcement regarding trash, noise and all that is critical. When you drive through a community, you shouldn't be able to tell if a tenant or owner occupant lives in a house or condo because EVERYONE's complying with the rules. I'm not a fan of investor owners primarily because they seem to prefer communities with weak boards that don't enforce the rules that will cost the owners money. Since they don't live there, they usually don't give a damn if the place is inhabited by people who'll treat it like the frat house in Animal House or something from the Amityville Horror.

The key is consistency - make sure all owners understand they're responsible for the behavior of the people in their household or their tenants. If they don't want to be hauled before the board every month for a rules violation and have to deal with fines, lawsuits and all that stuff, maybe they'll pay close attention to what type of people they allow to live there and think about more than the check clearing.

TerriM8
(Missouri)

Posts:15


10/02/2020 11:22 AM  
Shelia H - of course I will go to the meeting. Of course I will be honest about the situation.

I don't rent my condo out (I gather you thought I did). I would prefer that we not have so many short-term rentals, (as you said- Frat house type situations). I wish we had a board that enforced rules, and that way, the owners (landlords) might be more selective of who they rent to, so as not to get warnings or fines. Our problem is the short-term rentals (2 to 5 days, in and out, new group, in and out again- renters inviting additional guests, loud partying, leaving trash all over, jumping off wave breaks, smoking at pool etc etc).

Shelia, I was not trying to "quibble"-as you said.

I simply wondered if a board could have an owner's meeting and state ahead of time "no voting." I asked the question because I do not know and don't see the answer in our bylaws/decs. I think there will be good discussion.
I guess I wanted to know if the board was being presumptuous. I could see an owner vote on a number of issues related to the special topic. No worries, Shelia, I will be calm at the meeting.

Thanks for your input.


KellyM3
(North Carolina)

Posts:1559


10/03/2020 8:51 AM  
Posted By TerriM8 on 10/01/2020 11:50 AM
I believe in the last 6 months, our complex has had to go to twice a week trash pick up, rather than once a week.
All units are small and can only have 2 - 4 guests. Unfortunately some owners rent to people that have 6-8 guests.
More trash and more water. Numerous times, especially this summer, security/property management has been called to our property due to rental/guest issues. Loud partying, fighting, and fireworks on the docks to name a few.

Personally, I think if rules were enforced and some owners were fined, then they might do a better job of screening their renters. Rule enforcement is a bit of a problem.
Nearly all the rentals are short-term, 2-5 days. About 30% of our units are rented out this way.

The whole impact fee was brought up by our property management company, (after owners complained about the unruly guest, not following rules, etc). So what I think started out as a concern about renters behavior- turned in to a way to charge the owners that rent- when the PM suggested an Impact Fee. The issue for owners did not start out as a way to get more money from Owners that rent. It was more about how to get owners to follow the rules. It turned into an impact fee discussion after the owner of our PM company suggested it.

I think our meeting will have good positive discussion.




What you describe here is different that what, I bet, many of us were envisioning. As a vacation rental, you may have options. First, there's the bona fide nuisance (which is abated by calling the police). Also, there are limits on the number of people who can safely and legally occupy a dwelling.

Good luck.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7579


10/03/2020 12:47 PM  
Glad Kelly contributed. S/he always makes sense. Check with your muni-laity on occupancy restrictions based on room count or SF number, if any.

First, it seems clear that your problems are not rentals per se, but short term rentals. If your CC&Rs permit, in your rules & regs limit rentals to 30 days or more, which is what we did. Assign a very heavy fine for violators. I'd make it the approximate amount of what the owner can get short term for a long weekend.

A clause you need to look for in your CC&Rs is something like the condos can't be used for transient purposes. This topic isn't normally found in bylaws.

(A condo near us--in a our amenity-laden 'hood-has a fine of $5,000; ours is $1,000, doubled with regret offenses)

BUT, you need a Board that will enforce the fines. Which brings me to: WHY does the prez have authority over fines??? What size is your Board? What do the other directors do? Just let the prez make all decisions?

Finally, others: do not let NpS highjack this topic: it is NOT about rentals per se. It's easy to a fall into his traps.
ChrisE8
(New York)

Posts:128


10/03/2020 1:48 PM  
Posted By TerriM8 on 09/30/2020 6:35 PM
Our HOA Board has agreed to hold a special meeting at request of owners.
Some owners are upset about too many rentals in the complex- and want to discuss how to handle this- possibly an Impact Fee for owners that rent. This would help pay for the extra trash, water, security that is needed due to large number of rentals.

When the Board sent out the notice of the meeting, they are calling the meeting Informational Only, no voting will take place, so no proxies will be needed. The Board said this was the recommendation our management company.

I see nothing in our bylaws and decs about Special Meetings being classified as "Informational Only."
It says Special Meetings can be called by President, by the board, or by 25% of owners. It also states the only topic will be what the Special Meeting is being called for, unless a majority of owners present agree to dicsuss other issues.

Thank you




I haven't read this whole thread, but SheilaH is correct. What's the concern here?
ChrisE8
(New York)

Posts:128


10/03/2020 1:49 PM  
Posted By TerriM8 on 10/02/2020 11:22 AM
Shelia H - of course I will go to the meeting. Of course I will be honest about the situation.

I don't rent my condo out (I gather you thought I did). I would prefer that we not have so many short-term rentals, (as you said- Frat house type situations). I wish we had a board that enforced rules, and that way, the owners (landlords) might be more selective of who they rent to, so as not to get warnings or fines. Our problem is the short-term rentals (2 to 5 days, in and out, new group, in and out again- renters inviting additional guests, loud partying, leaving trash all over, jumping off wave breaks, smoking at pool etc etc).

Shelia, I was not trying to "quibble"-as you said.

I simply wondered if a board could have an owner's meeting and state ahead of time "no voting." I asked the question because I do not know and don't see the answer in our bylaws/decs. I think there will be good discussion.
I guess I wanted to know if the board was being presumptuous. I could see an owner vote on a number of issues related to the special topic. No worries, Shelia, I will be calm at the meeting.

Thanks for your input.






Sorry, should have read further.

YES, a board can have a meeting and state that no votes will be held. That's perfectly acceptable.
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