Renters have long been perceived and treated, rightly or wrongly, as negative forces within a community. Because of anticipated problems relating to property maintenance and upkeep, the behavior of renters generally, and the negative impact of rentals on property values in the community, many communities have included provisions in their governing documents which limit or prohibit rentals in the community. The secondary mortgage market also has contributed to this perception of rentals by encouraging owner-occupied communities.
Given the current economic and housing downturn, it is appropriate for communities to rethink such strict restrictions on rentals. Permitting renters in a community may help financially, by allowing non-occupying owners to pay assessments. Also, people occupying units or homes in a community, whether as renters or owners, creates a vibrancy within the community that, ironically, may help stabilize or increase values. As such, while targeting the negative behavior associated with renters should remain a priority, loosening restrictions on rentals within the community may provide some short or long term assistance in distressed environments.
Now is the time for communities to analyze their governing documents and their practices to determine whether policies and provisions relating to renters are appropriate in this environment and to consider how to encourage responsible renting while continuing to discourage the negative behaviors associated with rentals. Please contact us to discuss this. We would be happy to help.