|Re: Do you wish you had a rental policy?||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Fred H Olson (fholsoncohousing.org)|
|Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2012 04:22:17 -0800 (PST)|
Melanie Mindlin <sassetta [at] mind.net> is the author of the message below. It was posted by Fred, the Cohousing-L list manager <fholson [at] cohousing.org> -------------------- FORWARDED MESSAGE FOLLOWS -------------------- We have a rental policy that says we can only have a limited number of units rented at one time, can only rent for two years and that potential tenants need to be shown a written document we have prepared that explains lots of useful information along with some of our expectations of renters. We've also asked for an opportunity to meet (have tea) with prospective renters before a final decision is made. We expect participation to be done either by the renter or by the landlord if they are able to do so. This being said, it seems unlikely that we would actually stop anyone from renting their home if they need to leave for any reason. I mean, that would be a really intense financial burden that we could not bring ourselves to impose on our friends. I believe the information packet has only been given to renters after they have been chosen and have moved in, although I'm not absolutely sure of this. Our attempts to meet renters ahead of time have generally been rebuffed by those vetting tenants for the reasons Philip states below about how hard it is to find a good tenant. Community landlords do not seem to want to limit potential tenants by asking them to do this. The one person who rents out rooms in her house has even found it too burdensome to even let us know when a new person is moving into her home, which we find particularly discomfiting. Finally, I will say that limiting rentals to two years has been a good policy for us. Exceptions may be made to any policy, so this really acts as an opportunity to review our relationship to a long-term renter. We had a long-term renter who was not fulfilling our expectations for a member of the community, nor were these being fulfilled by the owner who had moved out of the area. The two year limit provided a forum for addressing these issues and moving that situation toward resolution. Although most of our community is owner occupied, we have had quite a few renters here over the past few years. Some of these are great members of the community. These have tended to continue to rent in different homes as they come available or are on our wait list to buy. Others are fine people in and of themselves but find they don't really want to spend much time with us, and don't really understand why they should act any differently here than they would in any other rental situation. Most, pretty much all, don't believe they have the same responsibility to maintain the commons (either physical, social or organizational) as owners do. I believe these difficult financial times are making it hard for people to make a change when they want or need to. I think we will all see an increase in rentals in our communities as this down-market extends into the future. Most of our homes are valued well below what we paid for them, and people very reasonably want to wait until things improve before selling. This doesn't prevent the rest of our lives from continuing to change, so folks will need to rent their homes as they wait it out. As a small community (13 homes), we really need most people to lend a hand to take care of all that is needed and wanted here. Good luck with your conversation. Melanie Begin forwarded message: > At Cornerstone in Cambridge, MA, our expectation of course is that the units will be occupied by resident owners. By and large, this is the case for all but a few units. Nonetheless, the community has more than a few tenants, because some resident owners take in renters, and some owners rent out their units while they are away on an extended leave of absence. Occasionally, a family may have an au pair. All told, I'd say about 15% of our adult residents are tenants, not owners. None of this is guided by any deed restrictions or intentional policy. > The vast majority of the tenants are good folk ? so I can't say that we are "having trouble" with rentals or tenants. What we have trouble with is understanding where non-owners fit into the community culture. One view is that adult tenants should have the same rights and duties as adult owners, and be integrated into community life as fully as possible. An alternative view is that it's very hard for an owner to find a good tenant ? and would much harder if the landlord imposed cohousing expectations on the pool of candidates. At the moment, the latter view prevails, not because we've formally adopted it as a policy, but because we've been unable to organize a good discussion about it. > RPD > > On Jan 23, 2012, at 12:17 AM, Lisa Lackey wrote: > >> Well, Brian, some of us are trying to change it, but there are people in our >> community who feel it is very important to have and don't want it to change. >> That is why I am asking if any community who doesn't have a rental policy >> has troubles so that they wish they did, so I can get a real world sense of >> the troubles communities are actually experiencing not having a rental >> policy. >> >> So, far I am not really hearing back that people are having problems, except >> in your community where there is a real problem with cohousing units >> becoming rental investment property. >
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