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Off-site owners: The downsides

July 30, 2006

I think the opinion expressed in the July 16 letter "It's Not Renters but Rules That Hurt Complexes" -- in response to the July 2 Associations column, "What's Really So Bad About Rental Units in a Condo Complex?" -- is somewhat short-sighted. As the president of a homeowners association in Orange County, I believe there are a number of competing issues involved here.

I agree that, generally, renters are not bad for an association, and I agree that overly restrictive rules are an important issue. However, in my experience, neither of these has as great a negative impact on an association as off-site owners who fail to hold their renters accountable to the same standards as on-site owners.

It's nearly impossible for a board or management company to force renters to comply with the CC&Rs when the owners don't educate the renters and then threaten the board and management company with legal action if their renter moves out.

It's the failure of off-site owners to live up to their commitments to all of the owners in an association that poses the potential problem to an association. The only reason I could imagine an association would consider rental restrictions is that the community's experience with off-site owners and renters has caused nothing but headaches.

I've found that it requires the total commitment of all owners to make an association work. Working together by communicating with and educating renters and owners is the only way to build a successful community.

SCOTT MILLER

Orange

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As the president of one of the Marina del Rey condo boards referred to in the July 16 letter to the editor, and as president of the council of all the homeowner boards in that neighborhood, I take exception to the letter writer's contention that it is "strict" homeowner boards that will be responsible for devaluing the property. It is these very boards, which have volunteered their time and energy in an effort to maintain the common property and enforce minimal rules, that make the condos he has invested in worth what he paid for them.

Landlords are notoriously absent when it comes time to serve on those boards, forcing other owners to take up the slack. Those of us who serve on such boards and strictly enforce the CC&Rs are in effect working as free property managers, protecting the investment of these landlords at no additional cost to them. Many smaller associations do not hire outside property management companies, but rather are hands-on managers themselves.

All we are attempting to do is get some fairness by asking those who buy into our neighborhood to actually live here for a while.

ANDY PEARLMAN

Marina del Rey

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