What to do about Nightmare Renters

Oftentimes HOAs feel as though their hands are tied when dealing with problem renters.  All one needs to do is a simple Google Search to see a litany of ugly situations.  Luckily, HOAs have a variety of remedies that can be pursued to ensure that association rules are being followed by everyone, including renters.

 Enforce Rules

 Both the Condominium Ownership Act and the Community Association Act provide for associations to fine for conduct that violates the association’s governing documents.  Prior to fining, an association needs to be sure that their fine policies comply with the applicable statutory provisions.

 Any fines are applied directly to the landlord, which generally encourages compliance with the governing documents by the tenant because the landlord doesn’t want to lose money on the tenant.  Conduct such as noisy neighbors, an aggressive dog, parking issues, and and generally dangerous activity can be curtailed via effective enforcement.


 In some jurisdictions it is clear cut that an HOA can’t evict a tenant.  In Utah, the situation is different.  In certain circumstances the HOA can evict a tenant.  If the HOA can establish that a Nuisance is occurring a court will grant an abatement of that nuisance via eviction.  Some of the criteria in order to prevail on an abatement of nuisance via eviction the HOA must show criminal activity committed in concern with two or more persons, the property is used as a drug house, gambling is permitted at the property, prostitution or promotion thereof is carried on at the property, or parties frequently occur.  An exhaustive list can be found here.

 We recently had a case in which a group of tenants were terrorizing their neighbors.  The HOA felt completely powerless.  Because the members of the HOA installed closed-circuit cameras and thoroughly documented the activity that was taking place in the community (drug use, animal abuse, criminal activity) we were able to present in detail to the court why an eviction was both proper and necessary.  Despite the fact that the Judge had never presided over a case brought under this provision she granted not only the eviction but an attorney fee award for bringing the action.

 Payment of Fees

 One of the great things about most CC&R’s is that they have enforcement provisions contained in them that include an attorneys’ fees provision.  This means that the HOA can recoup the cost of enforcement against the landlord.  If your governing documents fail to include such a provision you might want to take a look at amending them so that the HOA can enforce without expending money.