Q.Q. from Chicago, Illinois writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
We are a self-managed condo association. A few of the unit owners are leasing by the room and they don’t provide the tenant’s information nor ID and upon asking owners claim them as their guest. Nothing in our docs about guests, but isn’t there a legal definition of a guest and his tenure after which he should be considered a tenant even if he is not paying rent. These owners are getting away with calling these renters as their long-term guests. While these guests are a havoc on our HOA resources as they use the HOA’s water, gas, do laundry on premises. The HOA is having to waste so much resources due to this problem. Can the Board do anything such as make a rule and enforce as long as we are doing it as legally binding?
Mister Condo replies:
Q.Q., I am sorry you are having a problem with undocumented “guest” renters. It is relatively simple to add rules restricting short-term rentals. Restricting long-term guests may not prove so simple but you can make it much harder on the folks that are abusing the rules. You will need to amend your governing documents to include a no “long-term guest” policy that clearly defines a long-term guest. That might look something like “a guest may not stay overnight more than 12 times in a calendar year”. Getting the rule in place is only the first step. The second step is much more difficult and that is enforcement. How would you know who is staying for more than 12 times in a calendar year? Who will keep track? Some associations keep an eye on cars in their parking lots as an indicator of who is there more often than they should be. This requires the association to register all vehicles and keep an eye out for long-term parkers who don’t belong there. Another option is to monitor amenities that these guests may use – a pool, a gymnasium, a clubhouse. A non-resident who uses these amenities frequently is likely a “long-term guest”. Keep in mind you will be acting against the owner pf the unit, not the undocumented renter as the association only knows who the owner is, not their guests. The association is not in a position to act against a guest. With the right rules and proper vigilance, I do believe you can stop these undocumented renters from living in your association. All the best!