I live in a homeowners association with 180 homes. Twenty-five of these homes are rental properties, which is about 14 percent.

That seems high to me, and I think it could have an impact on the property values.

Here’s my question: At what level do rental numbers start to have an impact on property values in the neighborhood? And when do lenders start getting worried about financing properties in a community with a lot of rental properties?

In general, lenders aren’t concerned with how many people are renting out homes in communities that are made up of single-family houses. Whether the community has 100 homes or 1,000 homes, it doesn’t matter if one or all of them are rented when it comes time to get financing.

If your community of single-family homes is more like a condominium association, where assessments are integral to the community, your community could have an issue with future buyers obtaining financing.

If, for example, the community is considered to be “maintenance-free,” where a single-family homeowners association is responsible for the repair and maintenance of the homes (the exterior siding, windows, doors, roof and landscaping), the issue of the payment of monthly assessments becomes a bigger deal (especially when certain homeowners fail to pay their assessments.)

For this reason, condominium buildings and communities are treated differently by lenders, according to Dick Lepre, a senior loan adviser with RPM Mortgage Inc. based in Alamo, Calif.

Lenders are concerned if more than half of all condo units are rented and buyers would have a tough time finding financing, Lepre said. If you’re buying in a mixed-use property, you’ll have a hard time finding conventional financing if the retail space exceeds 25 percent of the total space of the property, including gross living area of the residential units plus the commercial.

There are a few exceptions that mostly have to do with retail store owners who live above the shop, but that’s confined to a few areas of the country, he said.

Another problem is if you have a three-unit property and one owner wants to own two (living in one and renting out the other).

While buyers would be able to find mortgages for homes they bought in your community, that doesn’t address your question about property values.

If you have too many rental properties in a neighborhood of single-family homes, it can cause property prices to stagnate or even drop. That’s because tenants don’t always maintain homes to the level that owners who actually live in the property do. When homes get rundown, the whole neighborhood suffers.

But unless the rental properties in your development are in horrible shape, with exteriors that are breaking down and gardens that are unkempt, you shouldn’t see much, if any, of a decline in home values if only 14 percent of the community is rented.

“Generally speaking, there’s always going to be a slightly negative impact on value the more an area is non owner-occupied. It’s not significant,” Lepre said. “But it might show up in the appraisal report, if the rental properties sell for much lower prices than other homes in the neighborhood. Or if the appraiser notices that the neighborhood rental properties are in awful shape.”

Should the level of rentals rise, and homes stop looking well-cared for, that would be a bigger issue.

Ilyce Glink is the creator of an 18-part Webinar and e-book series called “The Intentional Investor: How to Be Wildly Successful in Real Estate” as well as the author of many books on real estate. She also hosts the “Real Estate Minute” on her YouTube channel. Samuel J. Tamkin is a Chicago-based real estate attorney. Contact Ilyce and Sam through her Web site, ThinkGlink.com.

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