Common Community and City Rules and Regulations
Many tenants and owners are unaware that the cities or homeowners’ associations they live in or looking to move to have rules. The rules usually have to do with exterior aesthetics, maintenance, pets, parking, and how people can use spaces outside of their homes. When homeowners or tenants violate the rules, notices can be issued. Homeowners can also be fined and, in extreme scenarios, may end up going into foreclosure on the property.
Common Rules for Living in Communities
What kind of rules are there? There can be rules regarding:
- move in and move out procedures
- paperwork (information forms, lease addendums provided by the city or community to add to the lease)
- fees and deposits for moving in and out
rules regarding pets
- trash bins (amount, color, how soon they need to be brought in after trash is picked up)
- holiday decorations (how long they can be left up after the holiday has passed)
- exterior paint colors and building materials
- type of landscape and maintenance
- satellite dishes
- vehicles (where they can be parked, for how long, and what types)
- and many more
Is the Homeowner Allowed to Rent Out the Property?
This is a big one if you’re a homeowner buying a property as a rental or a tenant looking to rent a home in a community where the homeowner may not be allowed to rent. Some homeowners do not realize that they can be restricted from renting out the house. If a homeowner, knowingly or unknowingly, rents out their property, they can be subject to hefty fines (we’ve seen up to $1,000 per month) and possible foreclosure on the property by the community, and tenants can be evicted.
Rules Regarding Pets
Most communities and some cities have rules regarding pets. How many pets you can own, pet vaccinations, what kind of pets you can have, as well as weight limits. Weight limits can be expressed as a number per pet or a combined weight limit. For example: “No more than two pets with a combined weight not exceeding 50 lbs” or “No more than two pets and each pet cannot weigh more than 20 lbs.”
Generally, “pets” are considered cats and dogs, but most associations will also address whether fish or more exotic animals like lizards, snakes, rabbits, guinea pigs, and other types of pets are allowed. If fish are permitted, there may be a limit on the tank size since a larger tank is more likely than a smaller tank to cause extensive water damage to other units in a condo building if it leaks or breaks.
Communities often have rules about the types of vehicles that can be parked in the parking garage, community lot, or even your private driveway.
For example, tenants who have work vehicles that they park at their residence should check that it’s allowed before applying for and signing a lease at a community that doesn’t allow commercial vehicles to be parked overnight.
How Can You Find Information?
Most information is available on city and community websites. Before renting a property, you should be provided with this information and have a chance to review it before you sign a lease. Make sure that the information you’re provided is the most recent version, as many associations adjust the rules regularly. If a homeowner gives you a copy of the regulations from three years ago, they may have changed.
Make sure you read the rules that apply to renters and not owner-occupied homes, as some communities have different regulations for owner-occupants and tenants. A big one is that owners are allowed to have pets in the community, but tenants cannot. You may view a property and see pets and think pets are allowed and they might be but only for homeowners living there and not tenants.
Moving into a new home can be exciting and fun but just know what to look for to make sure there aren’t any surprises later leading to tenants needing to move due and break their lease due to something that could have been foreseen if the rules of the community had been reviewed prior to signing a lease.
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