A city council meeting offers citizens to voice out their concerns on subject matters that are of public interest. Council members go through a list of items on their agenda, including proposed projects, community activities, policies, and many more. As each item is discussed, community leaders and residents have an opportunity to share their support or disapproval. There is no voting involved, however, getting involved may encourage the council members to revisit certain issues.
Property investors can benefit from attending city council meetings because they are an opportunity to learn about changes going on in the community. As a landlord, city council meetings let you learn about current developments that may impact your rental property’s value — especially those concerning zoning, infrastructure, and lease regulations.
How Does Zoning Affect Your Property’s Value?
Zoning laws in your city can affect the value of your rental property. In general, zoning applies to three areas: residential, commercial, and industrial. Residential zoning includes single-family homes and multi-family units (e.g. apartments, duplexes), commercial zoning refers to businesses, while industrial zoning applies to warehouses, manufacturing shops, and so on.
Cities implement zoning to “organize” the types of dwellings that are allowed in certain areas. It wouldn’t be right to put an elementary school beside a club or bar. Zoning laws vary from city to city, so it’s best to be aware of any restrictions before investing in real estate. Also, zoning laws may change over time. For example, a residential area today may be rezoned into a commercial area in the future. A property management company can give you updated information on local zoning regulations.
Zoning affects the value of your real estate investment in many ways. When the zoning is changed to residential from commercial or industrial, the value of the property can plummet. However, when it’s the other way around (zoning becomes commercial or industrial from residential), your property’s value can rise.
However, as a landlord, you should also be aware of the effects of zoning on your tenants. If your rental property is in a residential zone, and your tenants conduct business from the property, they could inadvertently violate zoning laws. In most cases, home-based businesses aren’t a problem, but if your tenant’s business requires customers to drive to and from the property, this may result in complaints about noise and traffic.
How Does Infrastructure Development Affect Your Property’s Value?
Your rental property’s value is dependent on several factors including infrastructure development. In any economy, infrastructure is essential for it to function. It includes services including drains, sewerage, public transport, roads, as well as healthcare facilities, schools, and much more. Infrastructure development is typically taken care of by the local government.
Infrastructure impacts the value of real estate in several ways:
The ability of a property to satisfy its residents’ needs makes it more desirable. Tenants are more willing to pay a higher price for rental properties located in areas that are rich with amenities. This includes electricity, water, waste disposal, roads, sewage, telecommunications, as well as police stations, fire departments, post offices, and banks. If your property is located in an area that is being developed, you can expect its value to continue increasing for years.
#2 Industrial Development
Industrial development brings many nuances that residents aren’t looking forward to, such as air pollution, obstruction of view, noise, congestion, and more. These negative effects can drastically diminish the value of a residential property — soon, you’ll find fewer tenants who are willing to rent your property at even the lowest price.
#3 Educational Facilities
The quality of public schools in the district can positively impact the value of residential properties. Many tenants look for a home in a good school district since it’s less expensive than sending their kids to a private school. As such, they are more willing to spend more on properties in certain school districts. If your rental property is close to schools that have topped state-wide tests, its value can likely increase by up to 2.5%.
How Do Rental Regulations Affect Your Property’s Value?
Some zoning districts prohibit short-term rentals for vacation homes. Short-term rentals refer to the occupancy of a residential unit for less than ninety days, usually offered by transient services such as Airbnb and VRBO.
Residential zoning is intended to preserve the integrity of neighborhoods. Some areas do not allow short-term rentals as this can result in conflict between neighbors and transient tenants. Short-term rental agreements can also affect the safety, health, and welfare of homeowners in residential zoning districts. What’s more, is that short-term rentals are considered a business. Allowing businesses to operate in a residential neighborhood would go against what its zoning was designed for.
City regulations on the prohibition of short-term rentals can affect the nature of your lease. If the zoning ordinance puts a complete ban on transient use for properties located in a residential zoning district, you won’t be able to rent out your unit for less than ninety days.
In most cases, zoning ordinances do not completely prohibit short-term rentals, but merely set standards for them. These may include:
- Identifying two contact persons who will handle problems that may arise.
- Providing off-street parking to prevent transient tenants from taking up existing homeowners’ parking space.
- Limiting the number of persons who can occupy each living space.
- Notifying existing homeowners or asking for their agreement to allow short-term rentals.
Keep in mind that not all residential zoning districts will allow landlords to lease the property to multiple tenants within a month. Some may even specify a minimum period of stay, for instance, one month.
Why Should You Attend City Council Meetings?
Attending city council meetings lets you communicate your concerns to those in power. As a property investor, you must proactively monitor the factors that could affect your rental property’s value. This means keeping yourself informed and involved, so that issues may be resolved at the city council level.
Also, keep in mind that local ordinances are formalized during city council meetings. Your involvement can protect your interests, ensuring that your property doesn’t end up decreasing in value.
The important thing to remember is that your involvement can influence the changes in your community. The decisions that the council members make, from zoning regulations to rental restrictions, can have a massive impact on your rental property’s value.
Working with Luxury Property Care lets you stay up-to-date with changes in your community. Our property managers closely monitor developments and regulations to ensure that they won’t hinder you from maximizing your investment.