We receive frequent questions from condo owners and homeowners association members. Personal conflicts with condo boards and/or neighbors are dealt with through our private consultation service. We respond to generic questions when time allows, as per the condo rental fee and condo zoning issues raised below.
QUESTION: Our Florida condo association board is trying to charge access fees ($100 per event up to $1000) to those owners who rent unless their rental company has an agreement with the association to give them compensation. This is not in our bylaws at all and this was never a requirement previously. Can they do this without amending the bylaws?
The board probably has that authority without amending the documents. A board normally has the power to charge owners/residents/renters fees to cover actually incurred or reasonably foreseeable costs. A board can charge a reasonable fee for processing/reviewing leases, perhaps as much as $100 but I doubt that a court would regard $1,000 as reasonable.
While a tenant enjoys most of the privileges thereof, including having guests, a tenant does not enjoy all the rights of owners. In Florida, for example, tenants are specifically not granted many of the fundamental rights conferred by the legislature on owners, including the right to speak at Board meetings. Owners might be allowed to keep pets, while tenants are restricted.
If there is a special event which owners can attend/participate in for no charge and bring guests, then a tenant should be able to do the same. However, if the viewing space, parking, etc. at the event is limited, the board could restrict attendance in various ways, including levying a fee to cover the costs of increasing access or parking, provided it did so equitably – for example, first-come first-served reservations.
The answer depends on what the law and the documents allow. And that may be implicit rather than explicit. De facto, a board can do almost anything it can get away with unless actively opposed by a sufficiently large group of owners.
Dr. Joyce Starr & Dr. David Goldenberg – Authors, Homeowners Defense Kit.
A related condo rental zoning question answered by Dr. Goldenberg.
The City of Miami Beach is going to pass a law to prohibit condo rentals less than six months and one day. Our condo docs allow us to rent for 1 month, but not less. Can the city override our condo documents and make us rent for more than six months? This may make some of us who rent our units for a few months in the summer lose our homestead? Would that be an illegal impairment of contract? Can the city force us to rent in a way that makes us lose our homestead? I don’t understand how the city can take our rights to rent our own units.
Answer: This is a legal question and I’m not an attorney. However, I suspect that such a law could be: 1. successfully challenged by established owners acting renting for short periods if their governing allow such, 2. enforced against new owners in new condominiums, and 3. perhaps enforced against new owners in established condominiums. Essentially the city is changing its zoning rules. Of course, there are vast differences between proposing such a law, enacting it, trying to enforce it, and having it stand up in courts of appeal.