The concept of homeowners associations is centered on bringing people together to establish a “community”. This is a group of people with a common interest in the bettering of the neighborhood as a whole. In an ideal community, everyone within an association is a homeowner who takes pride in the way their home is kept, and holds a sincere respect for their fellow neighbors. The reality is that most communities consist of a percentage of rented properties. With the economy and Real Estate market both in question, more people have given up the American dream of home ownership, and instead have looked to renting a home. Renting in an home owner association allows for a resident to reap the same benefits of living in a well kept community, without the long term commitment and financial responsibility that comes with owning a home and making consistent dues payments. With this mentality, the number of renters of single family homes, condominiums, and town homes has been on a steady rise, and Boards must ensure that they are aware of which homes are rentals and understand how those owners should be approached in case of a problem.
When discussing renters in a community, it is often in a negative connotation, most people assume these stereotypes are true because of a seemingly high rate of violations, even the idea that a renter wouldn’t have the same respect for the property because they don’t own it, and lastly that renters lack a desire for neighborly interaction. Though some of these stereotypes may be found true in some instances, it’s really important to not so quickly look down on a renter. This can sometimes be an unfair generalization against renters though, it’s important to keep an open door of communication with the renters so they feel that they are in fact a part of the community, because even as renters they are still residents. I try to encourage communities to involve renters in community functions and seek their help for volunteer work when needed. Their involvement in the community will most certainly be of benefit to the community, regardless of the length of the lease. If you are experiencing problems with renters, I would recommend reaching out to them. Although notices and official business must go to the deeded owner of the property, the messages sometime are not relayed back to the renters, which could lead to a very difficult situation. If the renter was not provided with a copy of the community governing documents they may not understand the rules that they must abide by.
Communication is always the key when dealing with HOA’s, but inevitably this process does reach a level of complication when having to relay information to a renter who at times may lose an esteemed interest in the property, thus leading to a potential degradation of the property. This is why it’s truly up to the homeowner to keep a sharp eye on the property, even if that means making more frequent trips to the property, keeping a wide frame of communication with the tenant, and just being in control of their property, because they are in fact the owner. In the end it is more important to remember the ultimate goal of the community, which is to protect property values and create a sense of community. Renters should be expected to uphold the same standards as owners, and if they are not the problems should be brought to the owners attention and penalties should be imposed quickly.