Having a fantastic party room, gazebo, or other common space is a great amenity for a condo or HOA—not only does it give residents a place to gather for celebrations, meetings and other community events, it adds real value to the property. Well-appointed common areas also are a potential revenue stream. For those in communities whose residents don’t mind periodically sharing some of their space with outsiders, renting to such groups could make sense.
Renting common spaces to non-residents for functions allows buildings and associations to bring in some money without having to make much of an upfront investment, other than the partial dedication of staff members’ time. But nevertheless, there are a few important considerations involved in renting common areas to non-residents, and board members and property managers should understand them. It’s not all just a question of renting a space and collecting a fee—the process calls for some vetting of both hosts and guests, and clear, well-defined guidelines.
Depending upon the size and type of condo or HOA, community rooms, rooftop decks or even golf courses and pools might be made available for use by outside groups. That availability, or lack of availability, really is dependent upon the collective wants and needs of the residents living in the community. They can decide if they want the community room available to outsiders 10 days per year, or 30—or not at all. They can decide who they want to rent space to, and how they must conduct themselves while on the property.
Sometimes the layout of a building or community dictates that one amenity is used in conjunction with another. In many Chicago high-rises, that’s the case; the community room is adjacent to the pool, so you’re renting the two spaces together as a package, says Rosemarie Wert, a certified property manager with Community Specialists, a management firm in Chicago that deals exclusively with high-rises.
Some of the legal and procedural considerations involved with renting community property to non-residents include delegation of responsibility for the guests who will be attending the function. Generally speaking, whoever signs the agreement to lease the space is legally responsible for the people who attend the event while they are there. It’s actually the same situation as when a resident uses the common space for a function—the resident will be liable for any damage to the property that happens as a result of those attending the event.