It is not uncommon to encounter HOA rental restrictions in Virginia. However, homeowners may question whether such restrictions are valid and enforceable. After all, homeowners sometimes purchase properties intending to rent them out. And an association’s limitations on rentals can interfere with that.
What Are HOA Rental Restrictions? Why Are They Important?
Rental restrictions govern rentals, whether long-term or short-term, in homeowners associations. These restrictions can vary from one HOA community to another. Some ban rentals altogether, while others only enforce limitations regarding rentals.
Some may wonder why rental restrictions exist in the first place. After all, shouldn’t homeowners be allowed to use their properties in the way they want freely?
HOA rental restrictions serve several purposes. For one thing, they allow the association to control the community’s character. If a community consists primarily of renters, it may interfere with the community’s atmosphere and drive away potential homeowners.
Rental restrictions also offer a sense of security to residents. Many homeowners choose to live in HOA communities for their safety and exclusivity. If an HOA becomes populated by renters, it no longer feels exclusive or private. Plus, having a constant stream of strangers in and out of the neighborhood can make residents uneasy.
Furthermore, rental restrictions help minimize property damage in the association. Tenants are generally less invested in the HOA’s well-being than homeowners. Homeowners are more likely to protect the association because it can affect their investment, whereas tenants are only in it for the short haul.
All of these contribute to curb appeal and property values. And as you might know, an HOA’s primary objective is to preserve the property values in the community.
Are HOA Rental Restrictions in Virginia Legal?
While HOA rental restrictions are rather common nationwide, they are not always enforceable in all states. Can an HOA restrict rentals in Virginia?
A homeowners association in Virginia can restrict rentals but not without the express authority to do so. That means HOAs are permitted to limit or prohibit rentals provided such provisions are duly adopted in their declaration or CC&Rs. This is according to Section 55.1-1806 of the Virginia Property Owners’ Association Act and Section 55.1-1973 of the Virginia Condominium Act.
An HOA in Virginia may place a cap on rentals in the community. It may also allow only long-term rentals or rentals that go beyond 30 days. Such restrictions, though, should be included in the declaration to be enforceable.
If an HOA board in Virginia simply decides to ban rentals one day, it is likely invalid and unenforceable. An HOA board also can’t just include such restrictions in the association’s operating rules. Instead, an HOA must amend its declaration to reflect the rental restrictions if the declaration currently does not contain them.
Conditions for a Rental Restriction in HOAs in Virginia
Virginia HOA and condominium laws describe the restrictions that associations can’t enforce unless they appear in the declaration. Of course, these provisions don’t apply to properties the HOA owns.
Unless outlined in the declaration or otherwise provided by law, no association shall do the following:
1. Impose a Fee
No association shall impose a rental, application, or processing fee that exceeds $50 for any lease term. Virginia law also prohibits associations from charging an annual or monthly rental fee that isn’t expressly authorized under Section 55.1-1805 of the Virginia POA Act and Section 55.1-1904 of the Condominium Act.
2. Require a Lease Prepared by the HOA
If a homeowner wishes to lease their property, they should enter a lease agreement with their tenant. However, the association can’t require homeowners to use a lease agreement or a supplement that the HOA itself prepares.
3. Charge a Deposit
It is common practice for landlords to collect a deposit from tenants to protect their property. Virginia law, though, does not allow associations to charge such deposits from the homeowner or tenant.
4. Evict a Tenant
No association has the authority to evict a homeowner’s tenant. Associations also can’t require homeowners to execute a power of attorney that gives the HOA the authority to evict tenants.
5. Refuse an Authorized Representative
As per Virginia law, no association shall “refuse to recognize a person designated by the lot owner as the lot owner’s authorized representative.” A tenant may serve as a homeowner’s authorized representative when it comes to matters of the association.
Can an HOA in Virginia Require Tenant Information?
Some strict stipulations exist under the Virginia Property Owners’ Association Act and the Virginia Condominium Act. The same sections also outline an association’s ability to collect certain tenant information.
According to Virginia law, the association may ask the homeowner/landlord to submit the tenants’ and authorized occupants’ names and contact details. The association may also require their vehicle information. Additionally, the association may require the owner to provide any authorized homeowner agent’s name and contact details.
When it comes to renters, an area that most associations worry about is rule compliance. Some tenants don’t follow the association’s rules because the consequences may not affect them directly.
As such, Virginia law also allows an association to require the homeowner to submit the tenant’s acknowledgment of the rules and consent to the HOA’s rules. This applies to both homeowners associations and condo associations.
The Right Kind of Help
Managing HOA rental restrictions in Virginia is not always easy. Board members not only need to enact and enforce such restrictions but also make sure they comply with federal and state laws. Due to a lack of legal knowledge, treading this fine line can sometimes result in liability.
- HOA Rental Restrictions: How Far Can Regulations Go?
- Virginia HOA Foreclosures: What VA HOA Homeowners Should Know
- Virginia HOA Laws