Taming Transient Turnmoil Managing Renters in Condos

 As housing markets in many parts of the country—including South Florida—have foundered, many developers have opted to convert portions of communities  originally intended to be condominiums into rental properties.  

 When a development with no owner-occupied units converts to rental, it's not  such a big deal—after all, no units sold means no unit owners are affected. But sometimes,  rental conversions take place in buildings where a handful or more units have  been purchased—meaning that new unit owners are living side-by-side with rental tenants, or  that unit owners are renting out their apartments as income properties. In both  scenarios, inter-residential relations in a mixed community can become  complicated. The growing numbers of renters in South Florida’s condo buildings and HOAs present these communities with challenges—but also opportunities. There’s a lot at stake, since having a fully occupied community keeps property values  up and maintenance fees low.  

 Status Quo

 Financially speaking, rental tenants don’t have the same level of investment in the unit they call home as owners do in  real property they’ve bought. This doesn’t mean that all—or even most—renters are going to be irresponsible, or that renters aren't interested in the  upkeep and well-being of their apartments. But the perception of differences  between the two types of residents lingers, and can be a source of friction  between building residents, board members and property managers.  

 But mixed communities with many owners and renters together is a market reality—and buying into or living in such a community needn’t be a big gamble. Providing they know how to plan for and react to different  situations, unit owners and board members can successfully manage the  owner/renter dynamic. And when a community has clearly defined policies on  renters, as well as open communication and community-building events for all  residents, conflicts can be eased or altogether prevented.  

 Economic pressures are changing many communities from what they once were or  from what they were intended to be into something new. Due to the recession,  the glut of units on the market has meant that many South Florida condominium  buildings have had to either adopt a total rental strategy or partial rental  strategy to get units occupied and offset maintenance costs.  

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