Aside from yourself, who exactly may live in your condo or co-op unit? While you as the owner might believe you have the sole authority to make that decision, most (if not all) condominium and co-op properties today have policies spelled out in their governing documents that determine the answer to that question.
“It’s all based on governing documents,” says Jeffrey Turk, an attorney specializing in common interest community law and principal in Turk & Quijano LLP in Braintree, Massachusetts. “Some have no restrictions, and some have significant restrictions, but really it’s based on individual documents.”
The Nature of Restrictions
The nature of these restrictions tends to fall into a few different categories. First, they set a minimum and maximum term for leases. The more important of the two is the minimum lease term, because it sets a baseline for how much rental turnover the building will tolerate. According to Turk, typical minimums are anywhere from 30 days to six months, and the maximum is usually one year. In other words, buildings aren’t usually on board with residents renting out their apartments for two weeks here and there to make a few bucks.
The second component of leasing restrictions in condominiums governs how frequently you can lease your unit. Most restrict you to once in a twelve-month period, regardless of the lease term. What that effectively means is that if you lease your unit for one year, but one month into the lease your tenant leaves, you will not be able to lease again for 11 months.
A third common restriction prevents you from leasing for a specific period of time after you take title. For example, you cannot lease out your unit for the first year after you purchase it. This rule is designed to encourage owner occupancy.