From the Forum – is it legal for condo HOA to impose different rules for renters vs. owners?

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is it legal for condo HOA to impose different rules for renters vs. owners?:

“Condo building HOA is proposing enacting a new rule that would prohibit renters from having pets. However, any owners who live in the building, are permitted to have pets.

Just curious if anybody is aware if this is legit? Is it ok to apply different rules depending on your status of being an owner resident vs. tenant resident?

All current renters would be grandfathered in. Not sure if it matters, but this building has approximately a 54% to 46% owner to investor ratio.”

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8 Comment

  • Yes, it is legal

  • I rented in the Cairo ages ago, and they had this rule. Condo HOAs are entitled to adopt rules, and they just have to be reasonable. The association can vote in new board members if they aren’t. Your own pets may be wonderful, but the HOA could reasonably feel that on average renters are less invested in the building, less likely to live there a long time, and more likely to have nuisance pets. Don’t like it, live somewhere else.

  • With a ration like that, the condo has bigger problems than dog poop in the hallway. No bank should be extending mortgages to buyers in that condo.

    • Clearly this building does not qualify for FHA mortgages (and possibly not VA mortgages) with that ratio.

      • Yeah, I’m surprised that the proportion of investors is so high. Maybe this condo association never set a cap on how high the percentage could go?

        • Renter caps are often the third rail of condo politics. Many condo board members won’t go near the topic for fear of ticking off their friends and neighbors who may have assumed that they’d always be able to rent their places out some day. Or the board members themselves are counting on being able to rent their units out. Either way, it’s common for condo associations to collectively deny that there’s a problem until buyers start having trouble getting financing, and then all hell breaks loose — The board gets voted out, management company fired, one or two owners insist on renting their units out in violation of the newly-imposed cap, etc.

      • Interesting point. I am in a small building and this is something I brought up to fellow owners as a potential issue going forward. If your building is small, like 4-6 units, then one or two people can tip the scales with regard to the percentage needed to qualify for FHA or VA loans, which can drastically affect your ability to sell a unit in a high dollar market like DC where many people can’t afford a traditional 20% down payment (plus closing which isn’t cheap).
        I bought as a long term investment and plan to own my unit for quite a while, but don’t know how long I will personally live here. We have discussed charging tenant units a bit more in HOA fees, etc to offset the perception that “renters don’t care for the property as well” but so far we have had great tenants and haven’t had too many issues.

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