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Jerseyboy2010, Home Buyer in 07302

My Condo Board is harassing me for renting out my apartment

Asked by Jerseyboy2010, 07302 Tue May 4, 2010

I own a Condo in a 5 flr,35 unit bldg in Jersey City. I bought in 2003, lived there for 3 yrs and then moved to another bldg. I wasn't getting a good price to sell, so I began renting it out in 2006. It is a 2 rm apt, so I find it easier to rent out to 2 individuals on 1 lease. No problem from 2006 until 2010, when a new board was elected with a new president that loves conflict. He claims that the bye-laws of the condo assoc state that we can only rent out the apartment to "...a single person or family..." and that I am in violation because I am renting it out to multiple tenants!?! We recently hired a mgt company and he is making them send me a letter. This "single person or family" bye law is ridiculous:
1. How can i get around this? 2. what if my tenants are a gay or unmarried couple or bf/gf situation? 3. What if I only 1 tenant on the lease copy that I turn in? 4. What if I want to do charity and tell them that I don't have any lease and refuse to give any lease to the board

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11
Jerseyboy - I am not going to repeat what has already been shared so as not to be redundant........as you can see, there is a definite a pattern forming with responses..............you need to follow the bylaws....it's as simple as that............or they may become "bye bye laws"!........at least bye bye to your money if they start to charge you a fee for being in breach........

I Iive in a condo community - I had a lovely hanging plant by my front door......got a letter telling me to "take it down within 5 days", or else be fined $25 per day that it remains !! They meant business................I took the plant down, and took out my bylaws. Sure enough, my bylaws forbid hanging plants!

Hard to fight them.........if you feel their interpretation of the rules is unlawful, or it's discriminatory towards certain protected classes - find an attorney.
Like it or not, you must work within the regulations and rules that are in place.

Best wishes
Debbie Rose
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue May 4, 2010
Hello Jersey Boy. Some presidents unfortunately are a little overinvolved and some aren't nearly involved. It's good that you have one that is looking out in the building's best interest, but let's face it, some rules are just outdated.

First, there may be a conflict in the by law with discriminating against couples married or unmarried or otherwise, so you may have an angle there. FYI - look up the equal opportunity housing laws and see if you find anything there to support that claim. If so, then you have a clear arguement.

I wouldn't recommend you having only one tenant sign a lease in case trouble arises in the future you want both parties liable.

I would recommend that you write a letter to your neighbors and try to organize a meeting to go over rules in the by laws that are antiquated and need updating. Present a case as to how it could benefit them, like the rentability of their units but still keeping certain rules that could hurt the building, like short term leases and upholding a no pet policy if there currently is one.

You should also seek counsel of a real estate attorney to go over the rules and also your obligation as a landlord to fulfill the lease terms.

Hope this helps!

Karina Anillo
RE/MAX Gold Coast Realty
56 Newark Street
Hoboken, NJ 07030
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue May 4, 2010
The first thing you need to do is read the bylaws, you then need to read your state laws and then the federal laws regarding housing. The bylaws can not violate state or federal law. you can not discriminate base don thise factors. If teh management company rented the condo for you, then they should assist you in working this out. Depending how far you want to go, there may be a lawyer who specializes in tenant law that can assist you. good luck working things out
Web Reference: http://www.ScottSellsNH.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue May 4, 2010
Jersey,

Get an attorney to look over the BYLAWS and see if you are truly in breach of same. For your own protection I would not try to "get around this" by submitting fraudulent information to the board.

BYLAWS are in place to protect the general welfare and integrity of the entire complex, (from no pets or you can't alter the exterior, to not renting out to separate individuals) and you are bound to adhere to them, just the same as anyone else.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue May 4, 2010
Good answers already.

I'm not a lawyer, so what follows is not legal advice. For that, you need a lawyer.

Here are some additional quick thoughts:

1. How can i get around this?
ANSWER: First, read the bylaws. Make sure that what's being described to you "single person or family" is what the bylaws really say. If not, is your rental situation permitted?

2. what if my tenants are a gay or unmarried couple or bf/gf situation?
ANSWER: Interesting question. That in part depends on your state and local laws. In some areas (but not all), you can't discriminate against a tenant because of sexual orientation. But there's no similar protection (involving equal rights) for two unrelated adults, whether straight or gay.

3. What if I only 1 tenant on the lease copy that I turn in?
ANSWER: For your protection, all persons over the age of 18 ought to be on the lease. And there may well be something in the bylaws with the same requirement. Check the bylaws. Also, we're getting into semantics here. You'd be trying to argue that you're only leasing the unit to one person. The board would argue that you're providing accommodations to 2 or more unrelated adults. And there may be something in the bylaws defining what a "guest" is versus a "tenant." Check that. But I don't think this is your most productive avenue to pursue.

4. What if I want to do charity and tell them that I don't have any lease and refuse to give any lease to the board
ANSWER: Not a good idea. You're bound by the bylaws. You've got to obey them. Either that, or get the co-owners of the condo to revise the bylaws--a very difficult task. Or hire a lawyer and prove in court that the applicable bylaws are illegal--a very expense and often difficult task. So, work within the bylaws.

Hope that helps.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue May 4, 2010
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA
MVP'08
Contact
Dear Jersey Boy ... Many older buildings have antiquated rules and regulations that are contained in your by-laws, and often members will ignore certain rules, over time, that no longer concern them in modern times. But you have someone who is pushing to enforce these outdated rules. Rather than continue to be held to accountable to these outdated rules, and rather than finding ways around them, you should consider changing and updating the rules. I think you will find out that others in the association feel the same way you do and may also feel bullied as well by this by-law reading trouble maker. Contact your management company, let them know that you want to contact the other owners to suggest a meeting or mailing, and vote on changing the wording in the by-laws, that will help not only the current association members, but will also help them when they go to sell their condo, as prospective buyers will also not want to be held to these antiquated rules.

I'd be happy to help you with the specifics. Please feel free to contact me to discuss further, or for all your future real estate needs.


Sivya Weis
RE/MAX Gold Coast Realty
(201)951-8306
sivya@hobokenproperties.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue May 4, 2010
Jersey,

This is information that you should have had access to when you purchased your property in 2003. Unfortunately, most individuals do not regard this as important information...at the time of purchase, because it doesn't apply to them at the time.

Typically, it is part of the purchase process, when involving an HOA, that the buyer signs and indicates they are aware of and agree to abide by the HOA rules that apply.

Where does this regulation leave unmarried couples that reside in the complex. Since this arrangement is quite common an unfair application of the HOA rules may be demonstrated by identifying that these arrangements exist and are also a breach of community regulations.

This may be an issue best referred to an attorney for their input.

Best wishes.


Bill
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue May 4, 2010
Jerseyboy2010:

Did you read the Bye Laws prior to renting? If so, what was stated in the guidelines regarding renting? If what you stated in reference to renting out to an individual or a family is within the bye-laws, you maybe in violation!

1. Be honest and negotiate with the board.
2. If they are unreasonable, ask if they can stay out the term of the lease.
3. Thereafter, be upfront with your next tenants.

Pierre King
Web Reference: http://www.kandhHomes.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue May 4, 2010
Jerseyboy:

It is hard to fight by laws that existed before you started renting the unit. If you look in the paperwork that you signed when you purchased your condo, you signed a form stating that you've reviewed and agreed to the condo bylaws.

Many condo boards are very lax in implementing bylaw rules. It looks like your condo board is tougher than most others in the area.

If the bylaws state that you can only rent to a single person, couple of family, you may have a problem.

Good luck.

Kevin Dowd
Broker Salesperson
Prudential Castle Point Realty
201-606-5957
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 15, 2010
If these are the same tenants for the entire time, you may have a case and grandfather it. However, it may be negated upon renewal. Without a doubt the board is playing hardball, but on the other side, they would even be more miffed if you could not find a tenant and be unable to pay your maintenance fees.
I would also see if other owners are in the same boat. If that is the so, get a group to amend the by-laws.
I do like the others who stated fair housing violations. If that is the case you certainly have a case.
Best of luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed May 5, 2010
All good advice. Jerseyboy2010, you agree that you are not complying with the regs. That's really the end of the story.

Many associations have regs that state that no portion of the unit, except the whole, may be rented. This circumvents the apparent Fair Housing violation, but your association could maintain that the intended effect is the same.

Meaning - you couldn't rent to two people who were not a family unit, who intended to have exclusive private bedrooms protected against trespass from the other party.

If your tenants were cohabitants, they would not need exclusive rights to a bedroom. I'm guessing that the two individuals you're renting to absolutely insist on exclusive rights.

Sorry.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 4, 2010
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