Renters Causing Financial and Rules Enforcement Problems for Condo

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D.C. from New Haven County writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

Is our association allowed to add on a “management service fee” for units which are rented?  We have a large complex with a large number of rentals. Should the landlords expect the association to be used as a free on site management service? Many of these landlords are off site; some are even out of state. They cannot deal with their tenants, many of whom are not following rules & regulations. Our management now has to deal with tenants and the landlord. Why should this extra service be taken out of our fees? This should be something they should be paying for.

Mister Condo replies:

D.C., so many issues in a condo complex like yours! I feel your frustration. Let’s take a look at a reasonable approach to handling the management of these issues. First off, you asked about a “management service fee”. The short answer is “Yes”. As long as the association puts a rule in place describing the fees for units which are rented, there is no reason a “management service fee” couldn’t be assessed to units that are rented. Many condo associations have a series of fees for rental units. They include move in/move out fees which are collected every time the unit gets a new tenant. A monthly increase to common fees for rental units could be implemented as well. Of course, documentation is critical and the landlords should be required to provide copies of the lease and all of the relevant information about who will be living there, what pets, if any, they are allowed and what vehicles they will park on the property. As for rules and regulations not being observed by the tenants, the Board should follow proper procedures for documenting these offenses, offering warning letters and opportunities to appear before the Board to explain the violations, fines and even eviction for repeat offenders. Eviction is particularly tricky to enforce but as long as the proper procedures are followed, you can have problem tenants removed over time. Also, by pressuring the landlords to have their tenants comply with the rules you have a double-edged sword to wage your attack on the tenants who misbehave. It takes time, but you can correct the situation, compensate the community properly for maintaining a large number of rental units, and restore the peaceable enjoyment that all unit residents are entitled to. Good luck!

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