Smart HOAs Get Tenants on Their Side
In this week's tip, we provide insight on why and how to get tenants involved in your community.Not sold on the idea of getting tenants involved in your community? It's more important than you think.
First, times they are a'changin. There are simply more renters today than in the past few years. "When the housing market suffered, fewer people became eligible for home loans," says Jenny Key, the Austin, Texasbased vice president of RealManage, a San Rafael, Calif., association management firm that oversees properties in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Nevada, and Texas. "We've seen a lot of people having to rent housing. It's more like 25-30 years ago when you had to save up for down payment."
A growing number of associations are adjusting to that reality. "More associations are recognizing that having tenants in their community is going to be more of a fact of life because eliminating tenants affects the buyer pool for their unit owners," says Matthew A. Drewes, a partner at Thomsen & Nybeck PA in Edina, Minn., who represents associations. "Some associations have asked us to remove or alter the provisions in their governing documents banning rentals. Boards now recognize that allowing investors to buy or allowing current owners to rent is better in terms of the community's revenue streams. Then the question becomes, 'What do we do to ensure that people renting are doing it responsibly, are more engaged, and are treating their unit as more of a longterm home than a shortterm landing spot?'"
How can you get tenants invested in your community? Start with some housekeeping matters.
"Make sure they understand the bylaws and the rules and regulationsthat's the principal issue," says Robert Galvin, a partner at Davis, Malm&D'Agostine PC in Boston who specializes in representing condos and coops. "Your bylaws should state that it's up to unit owners to give tenants copies of the relevant documents to explain that this isn't an apartment, that there are bylaws and regulations, and they have to be familiar with them. I'd also give them copies of the association's newsletters so they feel they're part of the community and know what's expected of them."
That's not the only step you should take to document tenants' responsibilities. And when you've finished that, you can begin buttering them up. Find out how in our new article, Getting Tenants Invested in Your HOA.