N.C. from Virginia writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Owners who rent are charged $50 each 3 days for common property upkeep. No extra services offered to owners who rent. Documents read common property upkeep paid by assessment. Common property damage to be paid by owner responsible. Condo lawyer ruled owners who rent can be charged a fee by siting a bylaw. Do documents overrule by laws? Owners who rent are preparing a law suit. What is their chance of prevailing?
Mister Condo replies:
N.C., that is a quite a predicament the association finds itself in. I am not an attorney so I can offer no legal opinion here. By laws that have been interpreted by an attorney are likely to be valid and should withstand a lawsuit if one is brought by the owners who rent their units. However, there are always sticking points such as what were the rules in place when these owners purchased their units? Changing the rules on them after they made their purchase can be tricky and I am sure the association’s attorney has taken this into consideration before letting the association know that his opinion was that they could charge these extra fees for rental units. If I understood what you wrote, the unit owners are being charged $50 every 3 days. That’s $500 monthly on average for renting their units. If they were aware of these fees before they began to rent their units, I hope they accounted for the fees before negotiating rental agreements. Otherwise, having to pay the association $500 per month for the ability to rent their units may leave them with little option but to raise their rents substantially which might make their units undesirable to renters because of price. I can see where they might try to sue to get some relief. However, your association did the right thing by having an attorney review the by-laws. I’d love to hear how this turns out. Keep in touch!