HOA Spotlight: An Inside Look

HOA Spotlight: An Inside Look

A recent non-scientific poll of association board members gave us a better understanding of why investor-owned homes seem to carry a negative reputation in common interest communities.

Question 1: How many investor properties are in your community?
The answers ranged from “too many” to “more than half”. As we looked at numbers specific to the HOA*, we found:
Answer 1: 30% of the residences were rentals yet homeowners and board members alike were consistently using the 50% ratio in any rental/owner occupied conversations.

Question 2: How many of the investor properties are delinquent?
Due to privacy issues, an actual percentage couldn’t be supplied. However, the board members said that their assumptions were roughly 15% higher than the reality.
Answer 2: The percentage of investor homes that were 30 days or more behind in assessments or with outstanding fines was 15% less than the board anticipated.

Question 3: What is the difference between a large investor organization and the local owner/tenant?
Answer 3: The board members said the local owner/tenant was quicker to respond and less of a “problem” than the big companies. But during the course of the conversation it became apparent that there wasn’t any real data to back up that assumption. One board member said they’d always heard that investors were a ‘problem child’ and they hadn’t really looked at the stats.

Question 4: Are tenants an active part of the community?
Answer 4: The board members said “yes”. The board members mentioned that one of the most active residents is a tenant. And that the tenant has been renting the same place longer than 2 of the board members have been living in the community.

This brought me to my final question –

Question 5: When you joined the board you had a defined opinion of investor properties and tenants. Considering this discussion, do you still believe that tenants are the Achilles heel to HOA advancement?
Answer 5: It seems harder to find someone to talk to when it’s an investor property and that could be why we feel like we spend so much time on them. We send a letter, no one responds, and they never show up at the hearings. Owner occupied do create more violations but they’re right here and they show up when we send a hearing notice. We want everyone living here to come to parties and hang out on puzzle night. It’s just hard to forget some of the problems we’ve had with party houses and parking in the landscaping.

While this was a short survey with a limited group of board members, the responses were enlightening. I expect that as we go forward and expand our survey to a larger group of homeowners, board members and community managers, we’re going to find bad that behavior on the part of a few has created an image that we’ll have to address with each and every communication.

*Specific homeowner information was not revealed. The percentage of rentals in an association is public information necessary for certain mortgage options.

Condo or Townhome or Both?
IHS Good Neighbor Principles