Yesterday, we talked about the danger of creating bylaw loopholes that would allow profit-driven interests to gain control over the Pine Hollow HOA, and we showed how that happened in another Southwest HOA with disastrous consequences for the homeowners.
But surely there are no major corporate interests at work in our quiet subdivision? Think again.
American Homes 4 Rent (listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AMH) is a real estate investment trust (or REIT). It is the second-largest renter of single-family rental houses in the US, with more than 21,000 properties in 22 states, according to its website. The company was founded by billionaire B. Wayne Hughes and raised $811.8 million in initial public offering last July. It is now in the process of raising another $100 million with a preferred share offering. Reference
AMH now owns four properties in Pine Hollow, three of which it has purchased since the beginning of the year. Apparently, their corporate analysis has determined that Pine Hollow would make a good rental community. With another $100 million soon in their pockets to spend, who knows how many more Pine Hollow properties are in their sights.
There is nothing wrong with having single-family rentals in Pine Hollow. This article is criticizing neither the homeowners or the renters of rental properties in Pine Hollow.
What causes concern is when the owners of the rental properties stop being private individuals with a personal stake in the quality of life in the subdivision and instead become massive corporations who will aggressively pursue whatever path they believe will generate the most profit for their investors. Today, it is single family homes. But what if the real estate market shifts and tomorrow, they decide that multi-family units would be more valuable? Will a desire to preserve the feel our community stop them? Would they hesitate to try to gain a controlling interest on our Board in order to modify the guidelines to serve their corporate interests?
To be clear, we are not suggesting any evil plot is at work by AMH. While there are numerous complaints on zillow.com from renters, employees, and neighbors about poor maintenance, lack of responsiveness, and a make-money culture that gives little regard to anyone but investors, we are not suggesting any ill-motives of AMH here in Pine Hollow.
But having these corporate profit motives gaining ground in our HOA is a concern. Equally concerning is the Board’s proposed bylaw amendment that would allow non-members of the Association to serve on our Board. This move toward enabling fractional owners of properties – where anyone with the right connections for $10 can buy eligibility to serve on the Board – is dangerous, unnecessary, and damaging to the rights of the real homeowners of Pine Hollow. It opens loopholes that corporate lawyers love to find and exploit.
Before this amendment just slides quietly through without close examination, please – show up at the annual meeting this Wednesday. Your future property values and your quality of life in Pine Hollow are worth one hour of your time a year.