The residents that you have as part of your community can make all the difference when it comes to having an HOA that is welcoming and a neighborhood that is beautiful and desirable to live in. Although you can never perfectly predict how good a resident is going to be, there are certain screening processes that you can go through to ensure that each new resident is the best candidate for buying the home. Here are a few tips on how to do resident screening to help you build the best community.
Remember What Not to Screen
First, it is important to know what not legal to factor into the screening process. Although not exhaustive, here is a list of a few items that you cannot screen:
- -History of Bankruptcy
It is helpful to protect yourself by writing a statement that can be showed at any time stating your complete neutrality on all of these items in the event that you are accused of discrimination.
Document, Document, Document
Establishing a screening process is an area in which the utmost care should be taken to be thorough, detailed, and organized. Every criteria that you decide on should be clearly documented, transparent for everyone who is purchasing a home, and easily reproduced should you need it at a moment’s notice. This will not only protect you from lawsuits, but will save you from time that may have been spent with prospective residents who obviously do not fit the community.
Provide Ample Copies of the Governing Documents
Many screening processes will surround items on the governing documents. Items such as the pet policy can be a make or break situation for a prospective resident. It is helpful to have all rules and regulations of the HOA available for anyone interested in living in the community to help narrow down the field.
Know What You Can Legally Screen
It is important to know what you can legally screen when searching for prospective homeowners. In general, there are three items that you can safely screen:
- Their past behavior in other associations: If the resident has lived as part of an HOA in the past and they have followed all rules and regulations, they can be a promising new addition to the community. However, if there is a history of violation of CC&Rs or association bylaws, this is a major red flag, and can be legal cause for denial.
- Current conflict with governing documents- if there is a current conflict between the possible resident and the governing document, such as disagreement about fees or the pet policy, this is grounds for denial.
- Providing False Information- if the applicant provides any willfully false information on their application this is also legal grounds for denying the application.
When it comes to building a community, it is always good to be thorough when screening residents both for the sake of those living as part of the HOA, and for the protection and convenience of the HOA itself. Following these tips can help you build a community of which you are proud.