Angry neighbors pushing for ‘renter rules’
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.