Resort Rental Review
The following is the text of a notice that has been sent to all Owners, whose email address is maintained on the HOA database.
Long-term rentals on Terra Verde
Every once in a while an issue arises which is considered to be of sufficient importance to our homeowner membership that our 12 strong HOA Board of Directors feel that any debate should be thrown open as widely as possible, before arriving at any decisions of a policy-changing nature. The question as to whether the steady growth in the number of homes on Terra Verde being let on "long-term" rentals, may have a detrimental effect on the resort? is such an issue.
By way of background, Terra Verde is one of only few developments in the area, enjoying "short-term" vacation rental status, although this zoning does not prescribe a maximum rental term permissible. As a result, for various reasons, over recent years an increasing number of owners on the resort have taken the decision to make their properties available for "long-term" rental, typically for 6 or 12 months. The total of these now stands at 37, which is over 10% of all homes on the resort and with a further 16 homes currently owner-occupied, we now have nearly 15% of our total 363 homes on Terra Verde lived in all year round, rather than being rented out to vacationers for a few days or weeks at a time.
Those who have knowledge or experience of the subtle differences in atmosphere and general appearance, between "fully residential communities" and "vacation resorts", will appreciate the inevitable impact caused when the percentage of onsite residents reaches a so-called "tipping-point". A short visit to almost any neighbouring development, which is not zoned for short-term rental, illustrates how a community can be affected by the presence of childrens' slides & swings on front lawns, numerous bikes & skateboards against walls, groups of unaccompanied children playing in the streets and a predominance of older-plate vehicles, often under repair or out of service.
Whilst it is only fair to say that many long-term renters are model tenants and neighbours, it is evident and perhaps, understandable, that many tend to take less care of their properties and are less considerate to neighbours than an owner-occupier might be. Regrettably, our management report that probably over 80% of staff time dealing with anti-social behaviour, is spent on a tiny handful of residents and their families, who are known to come from that 10% minority of long-term tenants. The most apparent effect, on an everyday basis, is the sight of groups of youngsters, after school hours and at weekends & holidays, gathering at the clubhouse lounge, gamesroom or pool area. All too frequently, our staff are faced with children who have been dropped-off by school buses , only to hang around the clubhouse complex, awaiting their parents' return from work later that afternoon/evening. This is an unsatisfactory situation for all concerned but particularly for guests using the area.
Most who bought on Terra Verde, did so either to live or retire here, or more often, to secure a vacation home in the sun, which they may, or may not, rent out when not onsite themselves. We estimate that this probably accounts for about 75% of the total, with the rest being made up of investors, either seeking capital value growth, or profit from rent-roll, or both. If this latter category of owners operated within the vacation rental ethos, rather than employing purely commercial rental criteria, the perceived threat to the well-being of our resort would not exist. The thrust of this initiative is aimed at achieving exactly that outcome.
Just to be quite clear, owners who occupy their own homes will be unaffected by any of the changes proposed and every homeowner will continue to have the absolute right to reside onsite completely unhindered. A maximum rental term will need to be decided upon in due course but it is not envisaged that restrictions will impact on the "snowbird" population, with any measures designed to address the issue of investor owners, who have no interest in the well-being of the resort and who place tenants in their properties simply for cashflow, while hoping for capital value growth over time. Unfortunately, most such tenants are found via third party agencies, who have even less interest in the integrity of our resort and this is often where the problems arise.
To inform our debate, our attorney has examined our documents and believes that it would be a relatively straightforward matter to address the issue of limiting rental terms, by simple amendment of our governing documents. Any such restriction could, however, not be retrospective i.e. all existing leases would have to be allowed to run their course but no renewals or fresh long-term leases would be permissable.
Following much internal discussion, it's clear that most of us chose Terra Verde for the vacation atmosphere that it has and we would all be very unhappy to see the resort gradually evolve into just another residential community. Consequently, at our most recent Board meeting, further debate ultimately led to a unanimous resolution to take steps to have our Declarations amended to enable us to implement measures to control the situation. Before doing so, however, it was felt appropriate to "sound out" the feeling amongst owners across the spectrum and so this letter is being sent to every fee-paying homeowner a) for information and b) to seek as wide a range of views as possible before proceeding.
Please join the debate by letting us have your comments, preferably by return email to email@example.com by no later than Monday 10th February 2014, so that all interested owners' views can be taken into consideration ahead of any policy change. The outcome of this consultation process will be published later in February, together with details of what action is to be taken, if any.Terra Verde HOA Boards of Directors
The following is the content of an update message sent to owners on 5th. February -
First update on consultation re. long-term rentals
This has quickly proved to be a "hot-button issue, on which many owners have very strong views. The initial consultation letter went out last Wednesday 29th January and within the first two hours we had received 17 email responses from owners. This was followed by a steady stream over the ensuing 48 hours and by the end of the week 58 owners had recorded their views.
As of today, Tuesday 4th February, the total number of responses stands at 66 with the great majority in favour of the proposal to introduce some form of restriction and/or control of long-term leases and only 4 speaking against.
Notwithstanding the above statistics, the true value of such consultation is born out by the many thoughtful and constructive emails submitted, which greatly inform the debate and have raised a number of situations and circumstances, which, as a responsible HOA, we are bound to factor into our considerations of this complex and sensitive matter.
The closing date for comments is next Monday 10th February and every owner is urged to contribute to the debate, in whatever way their experiences or concerns may dictate. Another update will be provided shortly after the 10th, following which our next course of action, if any, will be decided upon and all owners informed of the outcome.
Meantime, thanks to all owners who have taken the trouble to participate and to air their views on this important topic. Whatever the outcome, it is already very clear that this matter has been on the minds of many homeowners for some time and needed to be addressed, sooner rather than later. We are confident that, given the intelligent and well-informed input that this debate is generating, we shall emerge with the best possible solution for our resort and its owners.Terra Verde Masters HOA Board of Directors
The following is the content of an update message sent to owners on 14th. February -
The consultation period has now closed and 101 owners have had their say on this highly emotive issue. This is over 27% of the total, so may be fairly viewed as a good representation of the wide cross-section of Terra Verde ownership.
At a resounding 93%, there is no doubt that the overwhelming majority of responses were in favour of implementing some form of control over the growth of long-term rentals on our resort, with only 7 responders against taking any measures for change whatsoever.
Fortunately, many respondents took the trouble to elaborate on their basic views and it soon became clear that there are many angles on the situation and we will need to consider a number of options which may be open to us and not just whether to simply prohibit rentals over a certain length of time. Interestingly, when analysing responses, on both sides of the argument, three clear themes emerged, which we shall factor into the final debate:
In due course, we shall discuss the matter in open meeting, taking full account of all views expressed, before arriving at our preferred course of action, which we shall then present to our attorney for advice on how we take things forward.
In the meantime, thank you to all who have taken the time to contribute to this important debate. The responses were too numerous for us to reply individually to all comments and questions arising but in our next update we'll attempt to summarise the most frequently raised questions and suggestions, so that all interested owners will have a clearer idea of the various factors being taken into account when moving towards a final decision.
Once again many thanks for your input, which we feel sure will assist us in reaching the best possible outcome for both owners and guests of Terra Verde.Terra Verde HOA Board of Directors
By the closing date of February 10th over 100 owners had made their views known on this issue, with 90% firmly in favor of taking action to reinforce our existing "short-term" rental status and resort atmosphere.
In acknowledgement of the strength of feeling on this matter, evidenced by the tremendous response, both in terms of numbers and well-presented arguments, we are committed to complete transparency throughout the consultation and decision-making process. Accordingly, the attached document contains a copy of every written response received, with, of course, all names & addresses removed, to retain anonymity. Whilst it is unlikely that you will wish to read them all, some are 2 or 3 lines and others 2 or 3 pages, you may like to sample a selection to give you a flavour of overall sentiment and also some specific anecdotal owner experiences.
Having digested the feedback, your 12 strong HOA Board of Directors have formulated a proposal which we believe accurately reflects the concensus view for immediate action on a number of fronts, while building in measures to allow owners some flexibility with their rental planning. At this point it may be worth noting that a number of original owners i.e. buyers direct from the developer, reported that on closing they signed a confirmation that they were purchasing on a "short-term" vacation rental community, so there can be no doubt that the weight of opinion is not for change but is, in essence, a mandate to retain and reinforce the resort nature that the overwhelming majority of us chose to buy into.
The following proposal is currently in draft form only and the intention is to take further advice from our attorney as to its robustness in legal terms and also to explore what obstacles there may be to putting it into action without delay. Once approved, the final proposal will be discussed at a specially convened HOA meeting, which will be open to owners, prior to any final decision being taken to adopt and implement.
Picking up the main themes arising from the consultation process, the proposal before us now consists of:
We believe that the above measures would immediately achieve our primary aim of arresting the growth in long-term rentals, as no new long leases would be approved. They also begin to address some owners' understandable concern that perfectly good existing tenants might be forced out by the proposed changes, introduced partly to deal with the anti-social behaviour of others, as, so long as they do not transgress our byelaws, tenants will have their renewal leases approved by the HOA indefinitely.
Having, in this way, stopped the growth in its tracks, the number of long-term rentals would start to fall, as current leases expire and people move on etc. Thereafter, the pace of homes coming back into the short-term pool would undoubtedly pick up further as landlords shy away from the more onerous regime, represented by a combination of the much stricter HOA vetting criteria, added costs and the now very real threat of eviction of their tenant, should they fail to comply with our byelaws.
Just for clarification, as this question arose a few times in the feedback, nothing contained here has any effect whatsoever on the original and absolute right of owners and their immediate family, to reside in their property for whatever period they see fit.
Another concern often raised in responses was that any action taken to control the issue of long-term leases may cause some owners to fall behind with their financial commitments, including mortgage payments and our HOA fees. This, it is feared, could lead to more foreclosures and short sales, to the detriment of property values and also a drop in revenue for the HOA budget. Whilst this might be so in the short-term, we take the view that any such losses will be far outweighed by the longer term gain to be accrued by retaining the vacation atmosphere that sets our resort apart from many others and makes it so attractive to new buyers and, of course, our guests, who come back time after time and help to make the short-term rental prospects on Terra Verde, healthy and vibrant.
A further update will be provided post attorney consultation and at that time owners will be advised of the date of the next HOA meeting at which the modified/final proposal will be discussed and determined.
Whatever is ultimately decided, we are under no illusion that introduction and control of any tenancy restrictions is likely to meet with resistance and our staff will undoubtedly be presented with challenges in more stringently enforcing our byelaws but with commitment and full owner support, we believe that good outcomes can be achieved for the benefit of all who spend time at Terra Verde, whether guest, owner or tenant.
Masters HOA Board of Directors
The following is the content of a message sent to owners on 11th. April, 2014
Special Meeting RE: LONG TERM RENTALS
Following the extensive owner consultation and subsequent email on the subject of restriction of long-term rentals on Terra Verde, we now attach the Agenda for the "Special Meeting", which has been arranges to discuss and if appropriate, ratify the proposed Amendment to our Master HOA Declarations to achieve this. Also attached, for information, is a copy of the Amendment under discussion.
Owners are welcome to attend, or to telephone-in to the meeting and a limited time will be allowed for attendees to speak, if they so wish. To assist with planning, If you would like to do so, please register by reply to this email and the Secretary will ensure that time is set aside for you. Only those registering will be allocated a time slot to speak at the meeting.
Terra Verde Masters HOA Board of DirectorsA copy of the proposed amendment to the Masters Declaration, may be viewed here
A copy of the meeting agenda may be viewed here
Minutes and audio of the meeting are now available on this site
The following notice has been sent to all owners whose details are registered with the HOA
At a Special Meeting of The Masters Board last Saturday 27th April 2014, the proposal to adopt an amendment to our Association Declarations regarding restriction of long-term rentals on Terra Verde resort, was unanimously approved, to take effect on 1st May 2014.
Although any existing leases currently in place will not be interrupted, the immediate effect of the amendment is to prohibit the issue of any tenancy lease for a term greater than 6 months, except for a short transition period, during which existing leases may be re-issued for a maximum 12 months, under formal written approval of our Resort management.
Thank you to all owners who participated in our comprehensive consultation process and also to the 4 owners who took the trouble to call in to the meeting to air their views and debate the pros & cons of long-term rental restriction etc. In the event, the meeting ran for nearly 1½ hours and the discussion leading up to the final vote led the Board to resolve that, any hardship case brought forward and arising from the changes will be heard and considered on their merits, with advice and assistance offered, as to management of their situation, within the broad framework of the new regulations and taking account of prevailing circumstances.
Over the next few days, a summary of the changes and their effect will be sent to all owners and registered MCs, so that anyone affected can make full use of the transition period offered, to adjust their circumstances, as necessary.
Once again, thanks to all owners who have contributed to this important initiative, which we feel will, over time, have an enormously beneficial effect on our resort and help to preserve the vacation resort atmosphere that we and our guests have come to enjoy at beautiful Terra Verde.Masters HOA Board
The following is the content of the concluding message sent to owners on 7th. MayDear Homeowner,
RE: LONG-TERM RENTAL ON TERRA VERDE RESORT
Further to the HOA Board's letter dated May 4th 2014 regarding the above, I am writing to provide you with more details of the effects of the Masters HOA Declaration amendment, recently adopted and which became effective May 1st 2014.
Rentals 3 months to 6 months
Rentals of less than 3 months
Finally, if you are an owner with a lease in place for a current tenant, of greater than 3 months duration, you are required to provide a copy of the lease document to the resort GM, either in hard copy, by email or by Fax, within the next 30 days.
General Manager, Terra Verde Resort