By Oretta Croushore, Property Manager for Home Rental Services.
Most of us know that happy renters tend to equal long time renters. That is a win for everyone. Outside of finding the perfect house, most people want to find the right neighborhood. For some, it’s being in a good school district. For others, it’s location in relation to work and errands. On top of all that, they want the extras.
SHOW ME THE AMENITIES!
I love that word… amenities. That fancy word that means, the glitter extras that make life worth living. My family has been looking at vacation rentals. You know, right after making sure the place has running water and a coffee pot, we are looking at the extras. We want a pool, a hot tub, close proximity to the beach, a house boy, access to a personal wine collection. Some of those items may require compromise… but I digress.
Looking for a permanent residence isn’t all that different. Renters are often drawn to a neighborhood pool, and playgrounds. Who doesn’t love the idea of lawn care and snow removal included with their housing cost? This sounds great, Oretta. But, how in the world could a neighborhood manage all of that? I’m glad you asked. A magical entity called a Home Owners Association, or HOA, as the cool kids call it.
Home Owners Associations
Ask ten different people what their HOA does or handles and you will get ten different answers. In general, they uphold the covenants established for their community. The HOA dues the homeowner pays to be part of that community go toward upkeep, among other things. When you’re in a neighborhood where all the lawns are the same color and height, the common areas are trimmed and full of seasonal flowers, and everything looks neat and uniform, that’s the work of an HOA.
Another great thing HOAs do is coordinate entertainment. Ice cream socials in the summer, trick or treating, barbeques, Easter Egg Hunts, adult swim nights, the list goes on and on. In this electronic society we live in, we don’t always know how to meet our neighbors. These social events help bring the community together and it allows us to have a reason to introduce ourselves to the new family that just moved in.
It’s important that renters are able to make a connection with the HOA.
One of the things we ask renters to do when they’re preparing to move into a rental, is to read the HOA docs. Our website has a dedicated page where you can download any of the HOA docs we have. Many HOAs have a social media presence, and we encourage renters to be part of that, as well. After all, they’re living in the community! We want them to feel like they are part of the community. Oftentimes, the property managers receive notices from HOAs about community events or important information. We pass this information along to the renters so they are also informed.
It’s important that your PM has good contact information for your HOA.
This is most helpful when we need to reach out on something related to the management of the house. For instance, if a renter wants to put in a swing set or we need to know when the HOA dues are due. Many HOAs use management companies who handle the dues and a lot of the day to day business, similar to how Home Rental Services handles things for the homeowner. Other HOAs have a board of residents who handle collecting dues, organizing events, maintenance, etc. It makes my head spin to think of how much work probably goes into those volunteer positions. Hats off to those involved.
Regardless of the amenities which are included in HOA dues we want to make sure renters have full access to take advantage of them. The goal is for them to settle into the house and the community and continue renting the home for a long, long time!