A number of homeowner associations in Tampa Bay are now allowing more homes for rent in their deed-restricted communities because of the need for foreclosed houses to be occupied and because of the increase in real estate investors owning properties in these communities.
Many communities managed by HOAs have strict rules about renting out or requirements that must be followed by owners who decide to rent out their homes.
But because of the hard times, HOAs have been forced to relax some of their rules to help homeowners struggling from financial troubles and to prevent unoccupied foreclosed units from causing blight.
At Heritage Isles, a middle-income community in New Tampa, the percentage of renters has increased to about 28 percent of all households in the area. The community owns a golf course, but it is not able to sustain the required maintenance because of inadequate funds. Townhouse prices in the community have dropped to just $100,000.
According to Heritage community manager Michael Tillotson, since the community has allowed renting out since the opening of the community in the late 1990s, it has developed rules for homeowners turning their properties into homes for rent. Landlords are required to hire a landscaping firm to maintain the properties and to submit copies of their notarized leases and the rental certificates issued by city officials.
Tillotson said Heritage Isles has not had serious problems with compliance so it has not experienced some of the problems faced by communities with a lot of troublesome renters.
Even the upscale gated community Cheval in Lutz is now seeing a sharp surge in renters. HOA president Tim McClain said that problems arise when owners do not tell their renters the restrictions. He added he understands the need to rent out because there are now a rising number of Cheval owners who can no longer afford to stay in Cheval.
In FishHawk Ranch, enterprising realtors are making rentals as part of their business. They look for homeowners who want to rent out their homes and then manage the rentals for the owners.
In some communities facing problems arising from rentals, some residents plan to ban renting out. But according to investor-owners, it is not easy revising the rules. HOAs need the majority vote to make amendments to HOA regulations.
All in all, residents of communities do not like banning homes for rent because renting out helps owners; they just like to remind owners to ensure that renters follow community rules.
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