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RealEstateAnswer
RealEstateAnswer, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 23923
Experience:  9+ years in handling Leases, Landlord-Tenant, Foreclosures,Mortgages, and Eviction cases
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I recently rented my condo associations clubhouse. A $200 security

Customer Question

I recently rented my condo associations clubhouse. A $200 security deposit was submitted along with the application and a $100 rental fee. Following our event a board member inspected the premises and declared it okay. A couple days later a board member emailed me the following:
" I have your deposit check for the clubhouse rental last week that I need to return to you.
Please confirm a time that you will be available to meet at the clubhouse.
(I am home today doing paperwork).
Stating that we needed to meet so that my security deposit could be returned. Due to a family emergency I was not able to respond back to the request until three days later. I emailed him requesting a time to meet to receive the deposit back The board member then emailed me 6 days after the event and 3 days after the email stating that they would return the security deposit " There is an issue of returning your deposit. The mangement company has made us aware that clubhouse rental rules that you acknowledged were violated. As you know cameras are in the clubhouse and in the pool area. The mangement company will be contacting you".
A couple days later the management company telephone me stating that the board told her not to give me the deposit back that they had reviewed the video tape and found the violations. My question is can a board reverse its decision to give back a rental security and then decide to keep it based on a video tape that they reviewed several days later for the sole purpose of finding violations. Please note the these infractions were minor. Example a small cooler was brought in to the kitchen area. A child used the pool, was made to change his clothes before coming in the clubhouse. Someone walked to the pool deck with a glass bottle in which I told them to come back inside as the bottle was not allowed in the pool area. The clubhouse was immaculately clean upon our departure. There was no indication of any problems our complaints from residents. I do believe that I was singled out as I have a not so good relationship with my next door neighbor who is on the board. The whole video tape is kinda creepy
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  RealEstateAnswer replied 1 year ago.
Hi! I will be the professional that will be helping you today. I look forward to providing you with information to help solve your problem.
Good morning. In the application and/or other documents which address the rental of the clubhouse, does it address the ability to impose fines or deductions for violating rules? I am asking because the security deposit is used for damage. If there were not damages, I am curious if the contract allows them to simply impose and fine you and deduct it from the deposit?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It uses the words "may, Shall, could result, will forfeit" your security deposit if the rules were violated.
Expert:  RealEstateAnswer replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for the additional information. An Association does have a right to fine residents, if there is a violation of the rules. However, a warning and a chance to cure and correct the problem is given, prior to any type of fine being imposed. There is nothing wrong with them going back and looking at the video after and seeing there were violations. What is at issue is their ability to deduct from the security deposit, for the violations. As I shared above, the deposit is applied to actual damages caused and those repairs, which resulted from the party. In this case, there were no damages. Yes, there may have been rule violations but if they are going to go back and review the video, which shows general violations ( I am sure these things are not allowed to happen in general), then it needs to be applied evenly. By that, they should review all video footage, on a daily basis, to catch rule violators and fine them. What they are claiming happened can happen at any time, on any date by any resident or their guest. It appears they are not looking at the video to enforce violations and should do that with anyone. This is certainly something to consider contesting and asking to be heard on, since there were no damages or problems with the rental and the issue is with general rule violations that are in place year round and govern the pool area. If anything, they can go back and fine you with a violation but that is a separate issue, unrelated to the rental of the clubhouse and fees paid.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is there a Florida statute that I may further review for this instance? Thanks. Your response has been great.
Expert:  RealEstateAnswer replied 1 year ago.
It is not going to be statute. Your greatest argument/defense is going to be based upon the language in the contract as well as the Association rules and regulations, as it applies to violations, notices, fines, etc. Often times, the Association may be required to give a warning and notice to cure, prior to imposing a fine. As such, they would have to do that and then could fine if it happened again. Moreover, the issue is with the security deposit and what it is used/applied to and that should be stated as well, in the application. As I said, it is for damages to the clubhouse. They may not have a basis to use it for something other then actual damages/replacement.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
On the first page it says deposit please issue one check for $200 to HOA to cover security deposit. Check returned after clubhouse administrator and specs and finds the clubhouse in good condition.
Page 5 provides further definition of security deposit for damages but does not indicate anything about rule violations. The rental responsibilty page 3 give various rules. Some indicate a violation that the deposit shall be forfeited. Some indicate the violation may result in forfeiture. Some indicates no forfeiture mentioned. The last page states that violation of the rules will ret in forfeiture of deposit. The whole application bounces around. But specially defines the security deposit for damages. Thanks again.
Expert:  RealEstateAnswer replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. If it says that the deposit is used specifically for damages and none were present, then it should be returned. After all, there were no damages.
Expert:  RealEstateAnswer replied 1 year ago.
I just wanted to follow up and see if you had any other questions or needed me to clarify something. I am here to help, so please let me know. Thanks!