Here’s an interesting notation on the MLS listing for a property for sale at 920 Jefferson Street. Once a condo building has more than 50% investors, it no longer meets the Fannie Mae requirements. That means that the bank making the loan to the buyer can no longer sell the loan to Fannie. It severely limits a buyers options as to where to get a loan and it usually makes the interest rate the buyer must pay a bit higher. Allowing that many renters in a condo association therefore hurts the marketability and value of ALL the units in that condo association.
What can be done? Well, one building, the Constitution, amended its governing documents to prohibit sales of units to investors. If you buy at 2 Constitution, you better do so planning to live in your unit, at least initially. There is a possibility to rent after a set period of time, I believe two years, based on the number of rentals in the building at that time. They (smartly) just don’t want to go over that 50% limit. When I explain this to people who own in a condo building they sometimes say “you can’t do that”! Well, yes you can.
By it’s nature, condominium ownership means you are part of a group ownership situation. The condo board is given the power to make rules which have an impact on all owners. Changing the rules may require a vote by the board or it may require a vote by the unit owners, typically a majority of the unit owners. Often restricting the number of rentals allowed at a given time may also requires an amendment to the Master Deed of the condominium. But in the long run limiting rentals helps maintain the value of the property.
A condo building full of renters often has more room-mate situations and the atmosphere more like a college dorm, especially in Hoboken. It is never going to be the same as a building full of owner-occupiers. It’s just not their place and they are never going to care as much as the actual owners who live there would. Furthermore, when the market takes a downturn, investors will be much more likely to walk away from an underwater mortgage – after all, it’s not their home. Which is why banks don’t like too many renters in one building in the first place – increase risk of default. There are many, many condo buildings in Hoboken that are now on the cusp of the 50% limit. Pay attention people, too many renters in your building can haunt you down the line and come back to bite you in the wallet.