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Condo owner must give information about tenant to homeowner association

Question: I own a condominium that is part of a homeowner association as well as a house in Los Angeles County that is part of a different association. Each property is rented out.

Each association keeps asking me for the name and contact information of my respective renters. I don't feel that's any of their business, I don't want them harassing my tenants as they've done in the past. Neither tenant knows what the rules are. Do I have to comply with the associations' demands?

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Answer: Yes, you do need to provide certain information about your tenants and ensure that your tenants know and follow all the rules.

Civil Code section 4740(d) states that before renting or leasing your properties, "an owner shall provide the association verification of the date the owner acquired title to the separate interest and the name and contact information of the prospective tenant or lessee or the prospective tenant's or lessee's representative."

This means that every time you have a new tenant, you must supply the association with a current copy of your title to that property and your tenants' contact information.

Don't expect either of your associations to accept a mere copy of your title on its face without anything more. Obtain a conformed copy of your most recent title from the county recorder's office where your property is located. A conformed copy is one that is officially date-stamped by the clerk.

You do not however, have to provide proprietary information, such as a copy of your lease agreement.

As a responsible owner and landlord who rents properties subject to a homeowners association, there are laws and formalities that you must know and follow. Renters, or lessees, should be given copies of the association's covenants, conditions and restrictions, its rules and regulations and any other governing documents that are pertinent to renting and living in that development.

It is your obligation to ensure that your tenants are informed, whether renting a house, condominium, cooperative or mobile home. Have the tenant date and sign that they have received these documents so there is no misunderstanding later if problems arise.

Keep your tenants informed of any updated or superseding documents. Failure to do this could prejudice your position should you need to fight fines, penalties or other such charges lodged against you or your tenant by the association. Make certain that everything is dated and signed.

As the owner of property in a common interest development, you are ultimately responsible for all applicable rules, regulations and related fines.

As a landlord, you cannot completely pass off your responsibilities to your tenants.

The association will look to you first for fines or reimbursement for damages, so having well-informed tenants will put you in a much better position to demand payment from them for fines and other charges they incurred.

Owners are not expected to control all their renters and guests' activities, but making certain that they know the rules may help mitigate a landlord's liability should litigation ensue.

Zachary Levine, a partner at Wolk & Levine, a business and intellectual property law firm, co-wrote this column. Vanitzian is an arbitrator and mediator. Send questions to Donie Vanitzian, JD, P.O. Box 10490, Marina del Rey, CA 90295 or noexit@mindspring.com.

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