An­gry neigh­bors push­ing for ‘renter rules’

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - Homespot - Broward East - - REAL ESTATE - By Ilyce Glink and Sa­muel J. Tamkin

Tri­bune Con­tent Agency

Q: Ourthree-unit­condo build­ing al­lows renters as long as the lease is for a term of at least one year. We bought a unit and then met the other two unit own­ers on the day we closed. We told them we’d be rent­ing our unit and one of the unit own­ers has been quite dis­traught, as he has no in­ter­est in hav­ing renters in the build­ing.

As a re­sult, he has been ha­rass­ing the renter for tiny things and cre­at­ing a very tense sit­u­a­tion all the way around. Now the two other own­ers are con­sid­er­ing putting a sep­a­rate set of rules in place for renters.

We are com­mit­ted to hav­ing the renter fol­low the by­laws of the as­so­ci­a­tion and do not know why there would be a sep­a­rate set of rules for them. Have you heard of this? I feel this is a slow and steady march to pre­vent renters in the build­ing, which is not an op­tion for us. A:

Let’s start with the fact that per­son­al­i­ties are al­ways a fac­tor when you live in a com­mu­nity, and with a three-unit build­ing, you’re in a very small com­mu­nity. So, what­ever per­son­al­ity is­sues arise, they tend to get mag­ni­fied, whether the is­sue is noise sen­si­tiv­ity, smoke in­tol­er­ance, in­dif­fer­ence to the build­ing ap­pear­ance, pick­i­ness about the level of clean­li­ness, or a host of other is­sues.

In your par­tic­u­lar sit­u­a­tion, the neigh­bor is con­cerned about rentals in the three-flat build­ing. You didn’t in­di­cate if the neigh­bor had is­sues with the renter be­cause they were rent­ing or if there were prob­lems with that per­son. We’ll have to as­sume that the neigh- bor doesn’t want to live in a build­ing with rentals.

Gen­er­ally, the gov­ern­ing doc­u­ment for a con­do­minium as­so­ci­a­tion is the ul­ti­mate de­ter­mi­nant as to what you can and can’t do in a con­do­minium project. If the doc­u­ment al­lows rentals, the board may not have the au­thor­ity to elim­i­nate rentals in the build­ing with­out an amend­ment to the doc­u­ment. If the doc­u­ment re­quires all unit own­ers to sign off on an amend­ment, they would need your vote to make the change.

Now, you still would have to read the con­do­minium dec­la­ra­tion or other gov­ern­ing doc­u­ment to de­ter­mine what re­stric­tions the board can place on rental units. The board may have the abil­ity to screen renters, pass rules and reg­u­la­tions that ap­ply to all res­i­dents liv­ing in the build­ing, but they prob­a­bly don’t have the right to pass rules and reg­u­la­tions that specif­i­cally ap­ply to renters and not own­ers. So they can’t pass a rule that says that own­ers have the right to use the com­mon ar­eas of the prop­erty but renters can’t.

As an owner of one of the three units in the build­ing, we as­sume that you have the abil­ity to sit on the board for the as­so­ci­a­tion. We’d sug­gest you go to the meet­ings to see what the other own­ers are try­ing to do. There are times that talk­ing things through can de-es­ca­late sit­u­a­tions and ad­dress­ing con­cerns by neigh­bors helps limit some of the prob­lems that may have arisen. You can’t elim­i­nate all is­sues but per­haps you can fig­ure out what has your neigh­bor up in arms and try to work things out.

Again, when it comes to per­son­al­i­ties in build­ings there may be lit­tle you can do and be­ing on the right side of the law may not mat­ter. If you have to take le­gal ac­tion against the board or your neigh­bor, that route can be quite ex­pen­sive and may not be cost ef­fec­tive. And, if go­ing the lit­i­ga­tion route ends up be­ing your only op­tion, your neigh­bor might end up win­ning be­cause it might be more ben­e­fi­cial for you in the long term to sell your unit – if it can sell for a profit – than con­tinue own­ing it and deal­ing with the neigh­bor.

Ilyce Glink is the cre­ator of an 18-part we­bi­nar and ebook series called “The In­ten­tional In­vestor: How to be wildly suc­cess­ful in real es­tate,” as well as the au­thor of many books on real es­tate. She also of­fers in­for­ma­tion on her YouTube chan­nel. (youtube.com/user/Ex­pertRealEs­tateTips).

Con­tact Ilyce and Sam through her web­site, ThinkGlink.com.

© 2016 Ilyce R. Glink and Sa­muel J. Tamkin. Dis­trib­uted by Tri­bune Con­tent Agency, LLC.

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