Living in a community with a homeowners’ association (HOA) has its perks. And the community lifestyle, professionally maintained amenities, and enhanced property values that attract homebuyers to the neighborhood are equally enticing to prospective renters. Owning a rental property within an HOA can be rewarding, but it also has its challenges. As a landlord, profitability is crucial, but you must also respect the association and its guidelines. You want tenants to be happy, but you also must maintain a healthy relationship with the HOA’s board of directors and neighbors. Here are some dos and don’ts to consider for owning a rental property in an HOA.
DO: Understand the types of rental opportunities allowed in the association.
Many HOAs have restrictions governing both short-term and long-term rentals. Make sure you understand what’s allowed—and what’s not—before you purchase a potential rental property or lease your home to a tenant. Seek guidance from an attorney and review the governing documents to confirm your rental property adheres to the community’s laws. You might find additional tenant screening requirements, rental investment restrictions, and long-term lease stipulations.
DON’T: Assume a tenant will cover HOA dues.
Once you buy a property within an HOA, you’re legally required to pay its association fees. While some rental laws may allow this responsibility to fall on the tenant, it’s ultimately your duty as a landlord to ensure association payments are paid in full and on time. Set a rent rate that includes your community’s fees and create a manageable payment schedule for your tenant. The easier you can make it for your tenant to pay their financial obligations, the easier it’ll be for you to pay yours.
DO: Stay connected with the neighborhood.
The best way to be a good steward to the community—even if you live elsewhere—is by staying connected with neighbors and the board of directors. It shows you care for and are involved in the success of the community. If you still live in the area, make it a point to attend board meetings and contribute your time and ideas. And pay attention to all emails and written correspondence from the HOA to stay up-to-speed on new initiatives and parlay any relevant information to your tenants.
DON’T: Go silent on your tenants.
Keep the lines of communication open with tenants, and let them know to reach out to you as soon as issues arise. Then, respond and address the issue in a timely fashion. Share the community’s welcome packet with your tenant and ask the HOA to add them to the HOA’s distribution list for newsletters and notices of community events. Tenants who feel supported by their landlord and neighborhood tend to be more satisfied, more likely to renew their lease, and may take more pride in caring for your property.
DO: Ensure your rental property is well maintained.
Your HOA rental property has the potential to directly impact your neighbors’ homes and the community. Neglecting regular upkeep might not only put you in violation of the community’s guidelines, but may also decrease curb appeal and lower home values in the neighborhood. Show pride of ownership and visit the property, make upgrades, and maintain a regular lawn care program. You might inspire your tenants to treat your home with the same level of respect and sustain long-term retention of high-quality renters.
DON’T: Ignore HOA violations.
Make sure you and your tenant are aware of the community’s Codes, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs) and understand how to comply with them. With restrictions on everything from street parking and lawn care to holiday decorations and yard signs, it might be easy for a tenant to lose sight of what’s allowed and what isn’t. But as the property owner of record, compliance with the HOA’s CC&Rs is your responsibility. Ask your HOA if they can set up dual notifications that get sent to both you and your tenant, so you remain aware of any issues and can respond promptly.
DO: Hire a reliable local property manager.
When you self-manage a rental property, you take full ownership of the contracts, maintenance, and marketing efforts needed to keep your investment sustainable and profitable. It can be a full-time job. Property management companies, like RHOME, do the heavy lifting. Experienced in everything from contract negotiations and local, provincial, state, and federal legislation to property maintenance, marketing your home, and more, a professional property management company ensures you, your tenant, and your board are always on the same page. Explore property management companies in your area and ask for referrals before deciding on one that’s right for you.
How Rental Properties Succeed in an HOA
It's not always easy to navigate the relationships and responsibilities between your tenants, neighbors, and the HOA board, but with more than 43 years of HOA management experience, Associa can help guide you. Download our ebook, “How Rental Properties Succeed in an HOA,” to learn more about rental ownership in an HOA.