What if your HOA suddenly passed a rule that no member could ever convert his home to a rental?
Homeowners rent out their homes for many legitimate reasons: to stall for time until sales values go back up; to bring in some money while Dad’s is relocating to a job out of state. Some parents invest in homes near a college so a child can decrease living expenses by taking in a roommate.
Poorly maintained rental property certainly brings down values of nearby homes. But well-maintained rentals harm no one.
So, what’s the harm in outlawing non-owner occupancies?
More than half of all homeowners in North Carolina live in covenant-controlled developments or Homeowner Associations. One of them is Becky Lew-Hobbs. She and her family owned a home in VillageLakes, near Raleigh. Becky admits the family got behind in their dues when her husband was out of work. But they tried hard to come up with the $1,143.89.
Suddenly, they were told they were being evicted from their own home and had FIVE days to pack up and leave. Becky says they were never notified that their house had been seized in a foreclosure action ten months earlier. That $1100 bill cost them their $160,000 home.
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How Safe is Your House from Your Homeowners Association?
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Well, at least it sounded cool, but I didn’t have the guts to say that to my publisher. I actually did want to hold off for a couple of weeks on my new book, Neighbors At War: the Creepy Case Against Your Homeowner Association. With all the embezzlements from HOAs, I’ve got a last minute update I’d like to make. I want to slip into Chapter 14 a $1000 challenge: a reward for the reader who can compile a verified list of the largest number of Homeowner Association embezzlements.
“Oh. you’re moving into the neighborhood? I don’t really want to interfere with your attempt to lease or buy a home in this HOA. But I work for the government. And it’s my job to make sure the landlord didn’t make any misrepresentations to you when he agreed to lease or sell his home to you.
“For example, did the owner tell you whether the ratio of HOMEOWNERS to TENANTS was out of whack here? Since renters have a reputation for not properly maintaining their homes, FHA loans and company reimbursements may not be available to anyone in the neighborhood.
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A Conversation the Homeowner Doesn’t Know is Going On
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Whenever the news media start trolling for stories about HOA abuse, they seem to be buried with them. This was one of many uncovered by reporter J. David McSwane, of Denver’s Westword Magazine.
He reports that Angela Quinn, a resident in an HOA in Western Washington, was told she could not have an air conditioner in her rental home. She says her neighbor had an A/C unit, and since she was in her third trimester of pregnancy, she figured she could install one in a back window which was not visible from the street.