Violations committed by homeowner’s agents, family members, agents, employees, tenants, or any others acting on behalf of the homeowner shall be attributed to the homeowner and all fines imposed shall be the homeowner’s responsibility.
To clarify the issue of homeowner responsibility, this letter was sent to homeowners in the Fall of 2012:
Letter of Understanding: Clarifying OWNER’S RESPONSIBILITY for Tenants (Renters)
The purpose of this communication is to address complaints from homeowners regarding violations of SMVE Conditions, Covenants, and Restrictions (CC&Rs). Many of these complaints were about homeowners with tenants. The Board has examined each resident issue, evaluated concerns, and elected to address such concerns in this specific communication. The Board affirms and supports directly how important it is to maintain and enhance property values by enforcing CC&Rs and Rules and Regulations for the whole SMVE Community. Moreover, we consider safety, security, fairness and comfort for all as guiding principals for this HOA.
Over the last 3-4 years, problems with absentee SMVE Homeowners have escalated regarding tenants violation of CC&Rs. The SMVEHOA has contractual arrangements with OWNERS only, not renters, property managers, or guests. Moreover it must be noted that the Board of Directors has no say so in choosing or screening of property managers or tenants nor do they want to assume such duties. Therefore, the SMVE HOA reaffirms its long-standing direct legal arrangement with its homeowners NOT intermediaries (i.e. tenants &/or guests or property management companies).
Why has the number of home rentals increased precipitously in the SMVE Community from 2 or 3 to 15 to 20 homes? As the national financial crisis precipitated plummeting real estate values in late 2007, market values for homes in AZ dropped about 35%. Homeowners previously expecting to sell property promptly turned to rentals. Most often, homeowners would hire property management companies, leave town, and collect the rent but assume NO direct responsibility for oversight and/or managing their home. Thus, communicating the CC&Rs, Rules and Regulations to their renters was just not accepted as a responsibility of SMVE ownership. As a result, violations of SMVE CC&Rs began to accumulate. For example, over 60% of resident issues reviewed at monthly Board of Directors Meetings over the last three years involved violations by absentee homeowners and their tenants despite rentals representing less than 10% of the total number of homeowners.
To share the depth of the problem, some specific examples are noted as follows:
- Signs advertising public estate sales suddenly appeared in our community without warning. Saturday AM calls from irate SMVE neighbors resulted. Estate sale signs were placed on Sunrise Drive, Territory Drive, and throughout the community, traffic snarls occurred on our relatively narrow streets, nonresidents appeared in the neighborhood with hands full of cash, and an unmanaged public flea market without security control descended on a previously safe, quiet SMVE neighborhood. Even gold jewelry and coins were for sale (cash only) without on-site management or security. Absent Homeowners’ assumed no responsibility. Often when contacted homeowners took absolutely no responsibility; were embarrassed, curt, and combative; and usually quite discourteous to Board members. The resultant disorder was dumped on volunteer Board members to shut down these public, unsupervised sales to restore order.
- Another troublesome violation resulted when PODs (portable moving and self-storage units) appeared on SMVE Community streets and driveways without warning. Rental turnovers occurred unannounced. Again OWNER’s were not to be found, neighbors rightly were irritated and frustrated. Also, new renters were blindsided and unaware of SMVE HOA Rules and Restrictions. As you would predict, new tenant embarrassment again resulted in combative behavior when questioned by Board members. In addition, use of recreational facilities became a problem. Pool keys were “shared” with “friends of tenants”, posted rules were ignored regarding pool courtesy, and often pools became crowded with underage children put in charge of younger siblings without any adult supervision.
- Finally, it is also fair to state that the oversight behavior of property management companies was spotty at best. They allowed trailers to be parked in front yards, ladders stored leaning against homes in full view for weeks, and overnight vehicles parking became commonplace on our narrow, private Community streets. No site visits were made by property management companies to monitor rental property. Result? Board members were forced to enforce CC&Rs, hold absentee Homeowner’s directly responsible for violations and restore security and safety to the SMVE Community.
The few above examples of violations are presented only as feedback to homeowners who experienced frustrations subsequently presented to the Board not as the only violations. ALL CC&Rs and Rules and Regulations will be treated the same with enforcement and fines as appropriate. Electronic copies of specific parts of the CC&Rs can be provided at no expense upon written request from homeowners to the Board.
The only contractual property agreement remains between the SMVEHOA and the property OWNER. All owners will be treated uniformly whether they occupy the residence that they own. That owner responsibility cannot be delegated. All communication of CC&Rs, Rules and Regulations remains the owner’s responsibility to their agents. All fines for violations will be assessed to OWNERS.