When you buy a property in a community with a homeowner association, you agreed to abide by the rules and regulations of the association. Unfortunately, many owners don’t read the rules and don’t realize they can change.
What rules should you pay attention to?
Rules regarding parking, barbecues, pets, and moving are all rules that could affect your tenants.
Rules regarding parking
A car parking rule that might affect tenants is that no commercial vehicles allowed to be parked outside overnight. If your tenant has a work van, then they may not be allowed to park in the community. How many cars are allowed to be parked in the driveway or street (if any) may also affect them if their cars will not all fit in the garage.
Rules regarding pets
The rules can limit the type, weight, and number of pets. Also, in some communities, homeowners in the community can have pets but tenants might be prohibited from having pets.
Rules regarding moving in or out
In condo and townhome communities where there are common areas and elevators, most moves need to be booked in advance and there might be fees and deposits due prior to moving.
Rules about renting
Just because you’re allowed to rent out your property today doesn’t mean there won’t be a rule voted in later prohibiting or severely limiting you from renting out your property down the road.
Many communities require additional addendums signed as part of the lease and a current lease to be on file. Some may even require background checks on tenants or have their own lease that they require you to use.
What happens if my tenant doesn’t abide by the rules?
If you rented your and your tenant breaks a rule and your account is fined, you are responsible but can go after your tenant to be reimbursed. If your tenant refuses to abide by the rules and keeps breaking them and refusing to pay fines, most likely this is a violation of their lease and grounds to evict them.
How much are fines?
Fines vary and can be as low as $25 or as high as $1000. Sometimes it makes more sense to break a rule that has a $25 fine than abide by them.
For example, tenants may be required to attend a orientation before moving in, but the orientation is only offered once a month and isn’t going to be offered for another three weeks and the tenant needs to move in immediately. Do you risk losing a tenant and three weeks of rent or rent to them immediately and pay the fine? It’s your call.
How can you protect yourself from receiving violation notices and incurring fines?
- Make sure you’re familiar with the current rules and regulations.
- Disclose any pet restrictions, fees and/or deposits required for moving in your advertising to avoid disputes later when you start receiving and processing tenant applications.
- Provide a current version of the rules and regulations to your tenant.
- Have a clause in your lease addressing what happens if your tenants don’t abide by the rules and incur fines.
These are no guarantees that you won’t receive violation notices or fines but if you’re aware and it’s clear that your tenants were made aware of the rules and penalties, it’s easier for you to collect on in the future if needed.