If you’re renting in an HOA you may not feel the need to keep up to date on the interworkings. In reality, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Just because you’re a renter does not mean that you don’t owe anything to the neighborhood. You share many of the obligations that owners have in the neighborhood as well. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

It’s important to understand that all residents(even renters) are subject to the same HOA’s rules and regulations. Why? Simply put, both owners and renters have the obligation to sustain and protect the property values of the community. Every resident has a responsibility to learn the rules and regulations that govern their HOA. The HOA has the legal ability to enforce all of these rules across all members of the association. It is also not uncommon for your HOA to require you to sign a copy of the rules. It also binds you to the rules, as you cannot claim ignorance if you violate them.

What do Renters Receive?

Renters take on a lot of the responsibilities when they move into an HOA community. It’s also important to keep in mind that renters entitled to many of the privileges that full HOA members receive. An example of this would be the use of common areas. If your community is holding a July 4th pool party at the neighborhood pool, you are certainly entitled to join in.

This can also include some small changes to the residence (as long as they are approved by the owner). The only things that a renter is expressly forbidden from taking part in is influencing board decisions by either voting or attending Board meetings. Although renters are entitled to be kept within the loop of the Board’s decisions and how they affect the HOA, they simply cannot provide any sway towards one position or another. That right is reserved exclusively for owners.

Do Renters Have a Voice?

That, of course, does not mean that you have to be silent with your questions or concerns with the HOA. If your HOA is well-run, then your Board members and the HOA manager should encourage you to participate in the community and should encourage you to voice your concerns to them. This always helps to head off conflicts before they occur, and it helps to foment constructive dialogue between you and the leaders of your community as well as for future renters and owners. As long as both sides keep each other informed of their expectations, then there is no reason why renters can’t live in harmony with their HOA.