Nuisance Provisions Can Help Curb Behaviors That Go Beyond Mere Annoyance
It’s one thing when a tenant occasionally doesn’t clean up after his dog. It’s another, says Scott Weiss, of counsel for the Nashville, Tenn., law firm Ortale Kelley, “when you have repetitive violations of the governing documents, drug dealing, loud parties, or damage to common elements or other owners’ property.”
The natural step when a tenant is out of control is to reach out to the owner of the unit, but that’s not always effective. “Oftentimes, an owner will say ‘I have no control over my tenant,’” says Kelly Richardson, a partner in the law firm Richardson Ober De Nichilo in Pasadena, Calif.
Fortunately, most associations have provisions in their governing documents that prohibit nuisances. And, if they’re smart about their leasing restrictions, Weiss says they can use the nuisance provision to address tenant behaviors that are over the top.
“The ideal thing — and I do a lot of this — is to adopt a leasing amendment in the governing documents,” he says.
“The amendment should include a provision that makes all leases subject to the governing documents so tenants and occupants must comply with them.” This would extend the nuisance provision, among others, to troublesome tenants.
Weiss emphasizes that it’s important to also include an enforcement section. “Without it, the leasing restriction is just a piece of a paper,” he says. “The board should discuss enforcement options that may be included with the attorney who prepares the amendment. States have different remedies that may be used for the enforcement of leasing violations.”
The bottom line is that extreme circumstances call for extreme measures. Read the full story now to learn more options for your boards to resolve, and perhaps preempt, such situations: