You're a member of a homeowners association as a nonresident owner who leases some units to renters. How many times have you been at a community homeowners association board of directors meeting and heard, "It's the people who rent that don't follow the homeowners association rules" or "Our homeowners association fees are increasing because the people who rent don't care about our buildings and rules."
Approximately four in 10 homes in suburban America are occupied by people who rent. If the unit you own is occupied by people who rent here are a few tips that will help you and your renters live harmoniously in a homeowners association.
Talk to the Manager
The homeowners association manager can give you important information about what the association requires of owners and people who rent, as well as helpful tips about the rental process, especially if you're leasing for the first time.
Check the Documents
Make sure you comply with the homeowners association's governing documents -- the bylaws and CC&Rs. They may contain special requirements for nonresident owners who lease their units.
Educate Prospective Renters
Be sure to inform prospective renters about the special considerations of living in a community association beforethey sign a lease. The association will be happy to give you a copy of the rules to pass along.
Use a Lease Addendum
No doubt you'll have your people who rent sign a lease. Be sure to attach an addendum to your lease that covers the specifics of the homeowners association and require people who rent to adhere to the homeowners association rules. This is very important because it gives you and the homeowners association a means of enforcement. A good lease or lease addendum should support the community by:
Requiring people who rent to obey the bylaws, rules, and regulations of the association. (Attach copies!)
Requiring people who rent to pay fines for homeowner association rule violations.
Requiring people who rent to vacate if homeowners association regulations are repeatedly violated.
Keep the Homeowners Association Informed
Once the lease is signed, give a copy to the homeowners association manager or a board member. The more information you provide about the people who rent, the more successful they will be in your community. Please provide the following information to the homeowners association:
Renter's name (and children or roommates) and phone number.
Renter's email address, employer, or other pertinent details.
Renter's vehicle description and license plate numbers. This will allow management to provide parking information.
The number and type of pets, if any.
Your forwarding address and phone numbers.
Encourage People Who Rent to Participate in the Homeowners Association
Be an advocate for the people who rent. Make sure they have access to the recreational and parking areas and that they have the keys and passes they need. Also give them the name and phone number of the homeowners association manager.
Even though people who rent have no vote on homeowners association matters, they are an important part of your community. Make them feel welcome, provide information that will familiarize them with the homeowners association, and encourage them to participate in community activities whenever possible. Today's renters may be tomorrow's owners -- or even board members. The more we all do to promote a sense of belonging for people who rent, the more positive and successful the leasing experience will be for everyone.