HOA Buyer Approval: Avoid Next! and Receive Your Rose

In Florida, homeowners’ and condominium associations have considerable power to approve new buyers and renters under Florida law. And while most associations must comply with the Fair Housing Act regarding race, religion and age (fifty-five and over communities may be exempt if properly qualified), it is perfectly legal to deny a “rose” to a buyer or renter who has an unlawful past or fails to adhere to an association’s approval process. A homeowner does not have an unequivocal right to live or rent a property, and it is possible that a Florida association can throw shade on a prior offender if the anticipated residential dweller is a dangerous individual. Note: Associations may deny not only a potential homeowner, but also renters and guests.

It is important that any potential buyer reviews the Associations’ declarations, rules and regulations to avoid any potential delay in closing. Often, the application will require personal information. Be prepared to provide buyer’s and/or a buyer’s renters’ Social Security numbers, date of birth and the names of all residents to allow for background checks. Additionally, you must fill out the application correctly and within the time frame instructed by the associations’ declarations, rules and regulations. Failure to follow the application process may result in purchaser or renter denial. Below are basic elements to consider when seeking approval to live within a community:

• Financial irresponsibility (Bankruptcy, evictions and foreclosures)
• Criminal Past (Domestic violence, drug abuse and disruptive behavior)
• Applicant provides reasonable cause to believe that he or she does not intend to follow the declarations, covenants, restrictions, rules and regulations of the community
• Applicant fails to interview with the association or refuses to provide pertinent application information

An association’s simple background check and interview process may bring light that a potential community member is an undesirable neighbor resulting in a denial. And a buyer’s failure to properly adhere to the application process could result in an unfavorable dispute if the closing is delayed or fails to close. Therefore, it is important that a buyer and a seller review the association’s approval process to ensure a timely closing. If a buyer or a renter has a checkered past, consult your local real estate attorney, as Brad Womack has proven that a checkered past can be a checkered flag!

Berlin Patten Ebling, PLLC

Article Authored by Michael Schuchat, Esq. mschuchat@berlinpatten.com

This communication is not intended to establish an attorney client relationship, and to the extent anything contained herein could be construed as legal advice or guidance, you are strongly encouraged to consult with your own attorney before relying upon any information contained herein.

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