Tenants in Condominium Associations

Property managers report

Tenants in condominium associations pose a special challenge for managers and boards of directors. They are viewed by some owners as having fewer rights and therefore should be governed by a different set of rules. Tenants are generally more transient than owners, the owners of the units don’t live on the property and so are not tuned in to the community culture, and managers generally can’t enforce rules and regulations against the tenant directly.

Tenants are members of the community, with many of the legal rights that owners have in a condominium, such as the right to occupy the unit, the right to privacy, and to quiet enjoyment. They are members of the community and, as a matter of fairness, rules and regulations should apply to owners and tenants alike. Stated succinctly, regulate the behavior and not the person.

Even though rules and regulations should apply to everyone, the enforcement of the rules and regulations are generally managed through the owner.

When tenants don’t comply with rules and regulations, managers have to address the issue with the owner because the owner has the enforcement mechanisms, through the owner resident relations act, to demand that the tenant follow the rules. For example, condominium documents generally don’t give the condominium association the right to issue a 7-day-notice of non-compliance against the tenant but the owner/landlord can. Similarly, fines issued for non-compliance should be issued against the owner because the condominium association has legal mechanisms to collect from the owner but not from the tenant. Therefore it is very important that the owner include a clause in the lease that requires that the tenant abide by all of the rules and regulations of the condominium association, that the rules and regulations may change from time to time, and that the tenant is responsible for paying any fines as a result of non-compliance.

Next month: How can condo boards step into the shoes of the owners?

Tom Simon is a Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA), Association Management Specialist (AMS), and Professional Community As- sociation Manager (PCAM).