As long-term homeowners and residents of Innsbrooke, a quiet and pleasant Murfreesboro subdivision of 246 middle-class homes established in 1996, we were disturbed to learn that our HOA is attempting to pass a heretofore non-existent anti-renter amendment to the existing Covenants, Conditions, & Restrictions.
Its purpose: to eliminate all rentals, particularly those of large investment groups who currently own 15 rental homes by disallowing homeowner-landlords, individual and corporate, from entering into future rental agreements after the expiration of their existing leases. It also restricts future sales to any of those entities.
Needless to say, we do not welcome such restrictions on our rights as property owners and this sudden curtailment of our ability to rent out our property or sell it to anyone we choose. Indeed, there are currently bills afoot in our Tennessee Legislature which address this and other issues pertaining to discriminatory rental policies on the part of management companies and homeowner associations. No doubt these bills are the impetus fueling the ire and concerns of Ghertner & Co. and the Innsbrooke Homeowners Association who hope to counter and thwart such bills by imposing their own restrictions instead.
Regardless the motivation, restrictions such as these are blatantly hostile to both investors and renters and disregard the fact that there is an ongoing lack of affordable housing available for many Murfreesboro residents to either rent or buy. Indeed, at some point most of us were once renters and give today's economic uncertainties, we may well be so in the future. No doubt this is also a backlash reaction to the hordes of avaricious investors who have poured into Middle Tennessee scooping up our real estate in huge numbers, the bulk of which have become rental properties.
However, in reality these much maligned real estate capitalists have served existing homeowners well with windfall profits for sellers, refinancers, and home-grown landlords, not to mention increasing the County's tax base. These investors pay all cash for properties often at full price; then proceed to invest sizeable sums improving those homes and leasing them out at unheard of rents. All of this would seem to belie the claim that these carpetbaggers are destroying our property values along with our neighborhoods.
Also overlooked is the fact that average home prices in this and comparable neighborhoods now approach $300,000 and up which means that our properties no longer offer such a great return for future investors who will be looking elsewhere for better buys. Most certainly the glut of affordable apartments and condos being built in Rutherford County will siphon off many potential renters.
Indeed, this pandemic and the resulting economic upheaval could well result in a glut of homes for sale with homeowners having to sell to whomever they can. If viable buyers are in short supply and renting their home is not an option, foreclosures will be inevitable. Such will also be the case should Innsbrooke landlords be deprived of the right to rent their properties and be forced to sell at fire-sale prices.
With all that in mind, it seems important to raise the alarm that before imposing these types of after-the-fact restrictions which cast renters as undesirable and investors as villains, it behooves homeowners, HOAs and the management companies who advise them to engage in rational input, thoughtful well-considered analysis and open discussion. Unfortunately, in our neighborhood that doesn't seem to be happening.
Aaron and Chloe Cerutti