I own rental property in a neighborhood that is deed restricted and covered by an HOA. Three years ago, that HOA tried to make a rules change. This is the rule that they wanted to change:
Leases – All Leases of a home shall be restricted to residential use. All leases shall be in writing and shall provide that the Association shall have the right to terminate the lease upon default by the tenant in observing any provisions of the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions for [neighborhood]. A copy of any such lease shall be delivered to the Association upon request. Each lease shall contain the following provision:
The lessee hereby acknowledges that this lease is subject to the Declaration of Covenants, conditions, and Restrictions for [neighborhood], that lessee has read the same and agrees to be bound thereby, and that failure to comply with the same may result in certain remedies being applicable to lessee including, without limitation, termination of this lease without further notice, and personal liability of lessee and lessor for damages, including reasonable attorney’s fees.
I had a number of problems with this. The first is that the HOA wanted to have the power to evict my tenants, but expects me to assume all liability and expense. No fucking way. So I went to the HOA meeting and told them that not only was this illegal, but that it would expose the HOA to liability if a person they ordered to be evicted was part of a protected class and decided to sue under the Fair Housing Act. The HOA lawyer agreed. I figured I had won that round, but took that as a warning and become involved in the HOA, eventually making it onto the board.
I am on the board as the treasurer, and I represent the interests of several property owners who own rental property in the neighborhood. Collectively, we own as rental property more than a third of the properties in the neighborhood, or more than $10 million worth of rental property. The rules of the neighborhood cannot be changed unless 2/3 of the property owners vote to do so, and we have the votes to block any rule change that we choose to.
So now here we are, three years later, and apparently this rule was put in place without our knowledge. One of the landlords showed me a letter where the HOA is telling her that they want a tenant evicted within ten days because that tenant has been parking a boat in the driveway of the rental house.
This all stemmed from an argument with a petty tyrant in the HOA. Another HOA board member lives across the street from the rental property in question, and told the tenant to move the boat out of the driveway. The tenant told him to mind his own business, a screaming match ensued, and now the board member is demanding that the tenant be evicted.
I am not going to allow that to stand. I will sue if I have to, but for now I am advising the HOA to meet with an attorney before pushing this any further, because litigation can be expensive.