Can my HOA really evict my tenants for them not being in their unit enough? 24 Answers as of August 07, 2012

I rented my townhouse to two young women in February of this year. Not long after they moved in I received a phone call from the HOA stating there were complaints of people visiting the unit at late hours. I talked to my tenants immediately and discussed this issue with them. Several months have passed with no more calls or letters from the HOA so I thought the problems had been resolved. Recently, I received a letter from the HOA stating now there is not enough activity at the residence. The complaint states that (a.) the A/C doesn't run often, (b.) the 2 tenants are never at the residence at the same time, (c.) the blinds are always closed, (d.) no one at the unit for days at a time, and lastly, (e.) at various times several cars pull up to the unit and the driver gets out, enters the unit, and comes out carrying a small bag. (I'm assuming they are insulating drug deals, but my husband is a police officer and has watched several drug houses in his career and stated this is NEVER the case. They would not be carrying drugs out in the open like that). The letter states that the other home owners are at unrest and believe that some sort of business is transacted out of the unit. It also says that if this is the case, they will evict my tenant and I will no longer be allowed to rent my unit to new tenants. I feel that this is an attempt to get my tenants evicted because the other owners simply do not want renters. If they are truly concerned that illegal activity is being transacted here, why haven't they contacted the police? Doesn't there have to be some sort of proof or legal documentation and not just someone saying this is happening? Does my HOA really have the right to evict my tenant over these matters? Most of these complaints I feel are petty and are probably not listed anywhere in the bylaws. Where would it state that my tenants have to have the same schedule and be at the unit together at all times?

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Casler Law Offices PLLC | Carl Casler
Unless your Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs) include a provision that gives the homeowners association (HOA) legal "standing" to evict your tenants (which would be very uncommon), the HOA cannot evict your tenants. Similarly, unless the CC&Rs require continual occupancy of the unit (also uncommon), the HOA has no basis for sending you notices that the property has too little activity. Send a letter to your HOA. Ask for a copy of the CC&Rs (if you don't already have them) and ask the HOA to point out: (1) the language in the CC&Rs giving the HOA the legal right to evict your tenant and/or (2) any language in the CC&Rs that requires continual occupancy of the property.
Answer Applies to: Arizona
Replied: 8/7/2012
Victor Varga | Victor Varga
Unlikely, but it all depends on what it says in your HOA Declaration. Read that document it spells out what your responsibilities are. If it is silent as to this issue, then no, the HOA cannot do anything, but as stated, it all depends on what it says in the declaration.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 8/7/2012
Dennis P. Mikko Attorney at Law | Dennis P. Mikko
The rights of the HOA would be spelled out in the By-laws and/or rules adopted by the HOA. The HOA could not unilaterally take action not permitted by the by-laws or the rules.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/7/2012
Law Office of Charles M. Vacca Jr. | Charles Martin Vacca Jr.
You need to review your condo bylaws, etc. The facts you have presented certainly sound very abnormal.
Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
Replied: 8/7/2012
Sultan Law Office | Gregory Sultan
I think you need to investigate further. Perhaps a surprise inspection is in order or find out at what time of day the activity is going on and stake the place out. No from what you have described it seems unlikely they could evict. Suspicious activity alone is not enough. But you have now been put on notice and if they call the police about drug activity and an arrest is made, then you could also be responsible for allowing the activity in your property and risk losing it.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 8/7/2012
    Austin Hirschhorn, P.C.
    Austin Hirschhorn, P.C. | Austin Hirschhorn
    Unless the association rules prohibit or limit the amount of rentals that can be made, you are free to rent your condo to tenants of your choice. If there is criminal activity going on in your unit that is being done by your tenants the association could have the right to insist that you get rid of the tenants. I think you should respond to the complaint in writing and request and attend a meeting to discuss this issue. You should carefully examine the association rules to make sure you are not in violation. You might even want to hire an attorney to go to the association meeting with you to make sure that the association understands that you are not doing anything wrong. The powers of the association come from there rules and they apply to all of the association members. If the things they are objecting about are not listed as causes for eviction of tenants in the association's rules you are perfectly right in standing up for your right to select a tenant of your choice as long as the tenant obeys the association rules.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/6/2012
    The Taylor Law Office L.L.C.
    The Taylor Law Office L.L.C. | Ian A. Taylor
    An HOA would have no standing to evict unless they reserved the right in the HOA agreement, but even then they are still not party to the lease agreement. There are very specific requirements in regards to who can evict and how the process works. It is not likely that an HOA can invade this process or use it to impose restrictions on your tenants. From these facts the HOA appears to be stepping outside of the HOA operating agreement to try and force you to take action. Their should be a process by which the HOA must adhere to take action for or against you. These steps are generally governed by the articles of incorporation and bylaws. They appear to be stepping out of these rules or if the rules are not set in the by laws, they are making it up as they go. Seek the advice of a local RE attorney and see if you even need to respond. The HOA may need to have an attorney provide them with an opinion as to what they can and cannot do, before the situation really becomes a larger problem for you, the tenants or the HOA.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 8/7/2012
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    It doesn't sound like there are grounds at all to evict.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/7/2012
    The Law Offices of Robert W. Bellamy
    The Law Offices of Robert W. Bellamy | Robert W. Bellamy
    Depends on the agreement you signed when you bought the townhouse. Sounds like harassment. Once your attorney reads the agreement and the HOA by-laws he can advise you what to do.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/7/2012
    Universal Law Group, Inc. | Francis John Cowhig
    My gut feeling is that the HOA cannot do anything to evict your tenants as they do not own the property. Only you can evict your tenants. This also appears to be some sort of harassment attempt to get you to not lease out your property as rentals sometimes decrease the value of the adjoining property. I strongly suggest that you contact an attorney experienced in real property and HOA law for a face-to-face consultation and give him/her all of the facts surrounding your situation. He/she would then be in a better position to analyze you case and advise you of your options.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/6/2012
    Law Office of Gregory Crain | Gregory Crain
    You should read your agreement.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 8/6/2012
    Brett Pedersen & Associates
    Brett Pedersen & Associates | Brett Alexander Pedersen
    Generally, only owners can evict. If no crimes are being committed and there is no actual nuisance or violation of the CC&R's, the HOA has no legal grounds to complain about anything.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/3/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    Sounds like they are pushing. Would have to review your documents.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/3/2012
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    Maybe not drugs but prostitution - just a hunch.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/3/2012
    Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
    There would seem to be no facts here that would support an eviction. However, the difinitive answer lies in the CC&R's and the Bylaws of the HOA. You should consult a real estate attorney familiar with HOA's to review the documents and all of the fact and advise you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/3/2012
    LAW OFFICE OF JEFFREY Z DWORIN
    LAW OFFICE OF JEFFREY Z DWORIN | JEFFREY Z DWORIN
    First, keep in mind that every Homeowners Association I have ever dealt with is run by people who otherwise don't have lives, so that they have time to meddle and quibble. Second, keep in mind that a HOA, and usually any owner, has the right to enforce the bylaws of the Condominium. This means that everyone's rights in a condominium are totally derived from the condominium documents. This means that I cannot give a truly meaningful answer without reviewing the documents. However, since you are allowed to have an empty unit, a "lack of activity" does not seem like a legitimate complaint. IT also sounds like the association may be homophobic regarding two women renting the unit. Reply to the HOA in writing, including corrections about the alleged drug dealing. There are many reasons for lack of activity, especially in the summer when people often take vacations. Contact me if it goes further and you require legal representation.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/3/2012
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein | Neal L. Weinstein
    They may be able to evict them if the HOA bylaws allows them to, but under the circumstances you claim, it is unlikely. The HOA would have to claim a nuisance, which this is not. You need to contact an attorney if you/they get an eviction notice.
    Answer Applies to: Maine
    Replied: 8/2/2012
    AyerHoffman, LLP
    AyerHoffman, LLP | David C. Ayer
    Homeowners and condo associations are notorious for this type of activity. On its face, it appears you are probably correct in your assessment the HOA and its members simply don't want tenants around. This is not uncommon. Your first step should be to speak with your tenants about this activity as you could be open to liability if there is anything illegal going on. Then you should conduct a careful review of your association's by-laws. If you are at all unclear about any term, you should consult with an attorney who handles real estate and condominium law litigation. Your HOA likely has a great deal of power through the by-laws, covenants, master deed or other such agreements, however you have many rights as well, including a right to Due Process. Unless the power is specifically granted to the HOA in the by-laws or another controlling document, it is very unlikely the HOA has the power to evict your tenants as the HOA has no legal relationship with them. It could, however, exact penalties against you, usually in the form of fines. Whether the HOA can restrict you from renting in the future will also depend on controlling documents.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 8/1/2012
    Fidelity National Title Insurance Company
    Fidelity National Title Insurance Company | Andrew Capelli
    The answers to most of your questions should be contained in the bylaws of the HOA , any master deed/use restrictions and any other contracts you may have signed with the HOA. Hypothetically, let's say there are provisions which allow for eviction of tenants due to "suspicious activity." Being "suspicious" is not part of a protected class (e.g. race, religious background); rather, it is a subjective criteria. Generally speaking, though, what you have described should not rise to grounds for eviction. Even "late night" visits, while perhaps annoying, are not illegal unless they generate a disturbance. If drug-dealing or other illegal activity is occurring, that would (and should) be grounds for eviction. Have you asked your tenants about the suspicious activity? Despite what your husband says, there are many stupid drug dealers and buyers who are pretty obvious about their transactions. What if your tenants are simply selling Amway products or something along those lines? If they have no explanation, you should be concerned. I assume you do not want to lease to drug dealers. Perhaps you should seek to clarify what is going on in your rental unit so you can either put the HOA's fears to rest or look into removing the tenants yourself. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/1/2012
    Olson Law Firm | Edward M Olson
    The HOA cannot evict anyone from your house. I recommend that you contact an attorney to help deal with the HOA and, perhaps, put a stop to these complaints.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/1/2012
    Law Office of Grady G Gauthier | Grady G Gauthier
    Generally speaking only a owner can evict a tenant, not an HOA. The HOA can take action against you the owner, for violations by the tenants as allowed under the HOA by-laws/agreement. You should carefully consult the HOA by-laws/agreement and consult a lawyer for further assistance with this matter.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/1/2012
    Hunter Law Offices, PLLC
    Hunter Law Offices, PLLC | S. Christopher Hunter
    Without looking at the rules and regulations of the HOA it is hard to know if your tenants are violating any of the rules. However, usually to evict them they would have to have some actual proof, such as a police report etc before they could get a successful eviction. Based upon the facts you are laying out I think that none of this is actual proof in my opinion. However, they could file an evictions for whatever reasons they want you/your tenant depending on who they sent the eviction to would need to show up in court with a lawyer to defend yourselves. You of course can bring an attorney with you if you so choose.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/1/2012
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    Read the rules, regulations and bylaws of the association.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/1/2012
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