Tenants’ Rights in a Condo Association – Do They Have Any?

Here is an email I received from a person who has an interest in what rights a tenant has in a HOA or Condo Association:
“I’m in the process of reading your book, “Finding the Key to your Castle,” which is the perfect read for a first-time president and short-term resident. What I haven’t found so far in it is anything to do with the rights of tenants in regard to the Open Forum part of the board meeting. The other directors don’t like a few tenants, and therefore would like to prevent them from speaking their minds during this session. In fact, they would prefer that “renters” have no input at all unless it concerns a problem that only affects their unit.
My question is: 1) what rights do non-owners have overall in the association? 2) What right do they have to speak during the Open Forum?”
Tenants do not have any specific rights in an HOA or Condo Association except to live in peace if they follow the rules, unless an owner has appointed them Power of Attorney for specific purposes. Even then, the CC&Rs and Bylaws relate to rights and responsibilities of owners, not tenants, and  may or may not permit certain rights to be delegated to an agent or power of attorney.
That said, some associations (I would say a considerable minority) allow tenants to come to meetings. Some allow them to speak during the forum time.
Boards do have to be careful about creating a legal relationship where there otherwise is none. The legal relationship created by HOA and Condo documents is between the owner and the association, and when there is a legal relationship, there are rights, responsibilities and exposure to liability, and that is why many boards avoid interaction with tenants.

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2 Responses to Tenants’ Rights in a Condo Association – Do They Have Any?
  1. Lucy Gonzalez
    April 27, 2011 | 4:00 am

    Thank you for the answer that I have been looking for, I own a Condo, in a community where there are many rentals, however more homeowners, I have been here for 2 yrs, recently I have been having problems with the Vice President of the Board, she has become an advocate for the renters, and whenever they have a complaint their leasing agent sends them to her, and when I attend the meetings she comes up against me, and protects the Tenant, and makes me feel like I don’t even own here. I have complained about certain tenants that have been using our fitness center to bring in people from outside and train them for gain, they do charge, her son is one of them. A new tenant just moved in, and she has complained about me to her leasing mgr, and in turn she sent her to this Board member, at our meeting yesterday, the Board member came up against me because of me telling this tenant about how she could not nail anything unless she asked the Board. I need help with this because this Board member is totally out of control. I will be taking this information to the next Board meeting.

    • Beth Grimm
      May 11, 2011 | 4:11 am

      Too fact specific for a generic blog reply. Check out the website consultation form if you want one. Sorry, they are a service, not free.