RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – About 180 families who rent homes in a Raleigh neighborhood may soon be forced to uproot their lives and move out because of a ruling by the homeowners association.
Mark Scearce is one of them.
“I absolutely love it here. I love the whole design of the place,” Scearce said of renting at Renaissance Park. “It’s very walkable. Very friendly folks around. It’s just an ideal place to live.”
The Renaissance Park Homeowners Association Board of Directors plans to enforce a policy that requires renters to vacate the south Raleigh community by July 1, 2022.
“I’m close to retirement,” Scearce said. “I teach at N.C. State and I would love to remain here for as long as I’m allowed to.”
Renaissance Park has had a limited no-rental policy, or “covenant,” since the community was built in 2006, but the developer didn’t enforce it. When the developer transferred power to the newly created HOA Board of Directors earlier this year, the seven-member board decided to change that.
The Renaissance Park Master Association Board of Directors sent CBS 17 this statement:
“The goal of this Board is to enforce the covenants of the community in a fair and equitable manner for all members, and to create reasonable expectation with a focus on long-term property value. In respect to the recent question of rental property within the neighborhood we would like to address some of the recent questions. The covenants were not created by this current Board but were established and registered with Wake County by Wakefield Development in 2006. All homeowners are provided a copy of these covenants at the time of closing on their property.”
Residents told CBS 17 they were blindsided. Some have rented at Renaissance Park for almost 10 years. Others have multiple homes and rent to family members.
Alex Brown and his wife own a home at Renaissance Park. Brown said the impact of restricting rentals will be widespread.
“The overall assessment of this neighborhood is we do not feel like this is required,” Brown said. “Why was this the first action of business that was taken upon? We have several other items that deserve attention versus going out and trying to essentially kick out 200 families, not to mention the possible fire sale of properties from that.”
The Board is allowing homeowners to request what it calls “narrow exceptions” based on personal hardships. Board President Ron Boyd said members will meet in November to decide what that includes. As of Wednesday, the board has granted one exception to a member of the military.
“It’s all subjective,” Brown said. “There’s no transparency. There’s no rubric for what is allowed, what is denied.
“If I want to rent, I have to essentially be on my knees and beg, ‘Please let me go take care of my parents.’”
Homeowners who aren’t granted an exception and choose to rent their home after July 1, 2022, will be told to either move back in or sell their property. Homeowners who violate the policy will be fined $100 a day.
“It’s a little disconcerting to have to think about uprooting and leaving when I found a place that’s, like, a fantastic place to be,” Scearce said. “So, I’m hoping they can resolve this.”
CBS 17 reached out to the City of Raleigh about its stance on restrictive rental properties considering the lack of affordable housing, but a spokesperson said they don’t comment on private organizations.