Can too many renters spoil a community?

Depending on who you believe, renters make bad neighbors and bad neighborhoods, due to their short term values during their brief stays in homes that don’t belong to them. Meanwhile, some owners slash investors are only concerned about making money.

True or False? Here to help us understand both sides of this issue is our own FOX 5 Real Estate Expert John Adams:

Q: John, renters are tired of being treated like second class citizens, while some owners claim their neighborhoods are being ruined by renters. Who is right and who is wrong?

A: It’s not quite that easy. This is a struggle that’s been going on for a million years, starting with the first cave man who rented his cave to another family in the off-season. The neighbors didn’t like it, and made their opinions known to the owner when he returned!

Q: So this dispute is not new?

A: Far from it. People who put down roots and invest heavily in a certain location have ALWAYS resented those who were able to achieve much the same benefits for almost none of the financial or life commitment. And I don’t expect that to change anytime soon! Each side has a valid argument to make.

Q: So, what is the position of the unhappy owner-occupant with neighbors who are renters?

A: OK, the owners next door have sunk their life savings into the house and the community, they pay property taxes, and they live and die financially by the success or failure of the community.

From their perspective, they are FULLY COMMITTED, both financially and socially, to the neighborhood, the schools, and the local community.

AGAIN, from their perspective, the renters are temporary blood suckers who benefit from the blood, sweat and tears of the neighborhood, and often contribute nothing back but a poorly maintained house and an ugly yard with overgrown bushes and weed filled lawns.

Q: Is that really a FAIR assessment?

A: Hey, I’m an EXPERT, not a FAIRNESS MONITOR! I guess it all sort of depends on whose side you are on?

Q: OK, so what is the perspective of the renter?

A: Pretty simple… they pay their rent on time and they expect to enjoy living at the property address.

Q: Is there anything wrong with that?

A: Certainly not from the renter’s perspective!

Q: So what about the neighbors who are owners?

A: Well, they have a different point of view, don’t they?

Q: So what can we do to get renters to act more like owners?

A: That GOAL is simply UNREALISTIC?

Q: So what’s the problem?

A: Many neighborhoods want to use the force of law to prevent owners from renting to non-owners. That’s the real issue!

Q: Can the neighborhood actually do that?

A: In some neighborhoods, especially those with mandatory homeowners associations, the answer is YES.

Q: So is that good or bad?

A: I guess that sort of depends on your perspective

Many feel that Americans should be free to rent and live anywhere they can afford, thus contributing to the diversity of a community.

Others feel that they have the right to prevent non-owners from enjoying the full benefits of those who have fully committed to a community.

It’s not my job to say who is right and who is wrong.

Q: John, you’re the real estate expert. Surely you have an opinion…

A: My opinion is that every renter and every buyer needs to be informed as the neighborhood policy on rentals before they decide to rent or buy. That way, you won’t be surprised when you try to rent and are told that you can not do that in this particular neighborhood.

THE BOTTOM LINE: If you are thinking of buying a home or a condo in a community governed by an association of any type, it’s important to find out what restrictions, if any, are placed on your ownership.

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