How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Barrister Your Own Question
Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 35870
Experience:  16 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
19958803
Type Your Real Estate Law Question Here...
Barrister is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have a property in Florida and I wanted to rent. My

Customer Question

Hi. I have a property in Florida and I wanted to rent. My tenants already applied for background check imposed by the HOA and went to the interview more than a week ago. At this moment we are still waiting for HOA approval and to let them in to move. Is this legal? The HOA said in their application that interview is the last step. I emailed the board members and I have no reply. Apparently, other owners didn't have this problem. So, who can help me and tell me what are my choices, please.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 10 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

.

Do the Bylaws of the Association give the HOA the authority to screen potential tenants who want to rent in the neighborhood?

.

If so, do they state what criteria that the applicant has to meet in order to be approved?

.

You have emailed, but have you approached the board members personally or by calling them?

.

.

thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
from my understanding the HOA has the right to screen the tenants. I attached for you the application they require. They are no criteria for approval from my understanding.
I emailed them and texted one because I am currently in Virginia.
Their application suggests that it may take up to 30 days. My realtor checked with the other realtors and they never had such a problem before. I want to know my options because something is not right and if after 30 days they deny this tenants and I look for other and this thing happens again?Thank you
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
According to their application: " I also understand that TheYacht Club office will call when the application has been accepted by the Board of Directors toschedule the interview which will complete the approval process."The tenants had the interview already last Thursday. I don't ask to accept them, I just need to them to answer to this matter.
Expert:  Barrister replied 10 months ago.

Ok, I don't see anything inherently wrong with the application. The question I have is how they decide whether to approve someone or not... They have to have some set of standards or it ends up being an entirely arbitrary decision. So if there is not a checklist of things, then they could simply discriminate against an applicant based on some illegal criteria like race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, etc. which would be entirely illegal.

.

But the fact that they give themselves up to 30 days to respond means that you really can't force them to do so before then.

.

However, I would suggest that you ask the Board for a list of what criteria that they use to evaluate a potential tenant because if it is simply whatever they feel like at the moment, then I would argue that that is so "vague as to be void" and you could challenge them if they denied someone but couldn't articulate why. They have to have some checklist criteria to go by so that it has the appearance of being a fair evaluation.

.

.

thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
My realtor already asked about these criteria, but nobody seems to communicate back with us in anyway.
Expert:  Barrister replied 10 months ago.

If the Board is ignoring any requests for specific information, then it is pretty likely that they are just "winging it" and they just approve someone if they like them and reject them if they don't. So some owner is going to have to put them on the spot at a meeting and ask them to specifically set out how they decide whether or not to approve an applicant. It can't be a big secret behind closed doors as the members have a right to know the process and whether the Board if following it.

.

This might result in some owner having to file suit against the Board under a breach of contract claim because if they are just arbitrarily making decisions without any criteria backing them up, then they are breaching their duty to the owners to be fair to all parties.

.

.

thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
your suggestion is to wait for the 30 days? My concern is what I can do after 30 days if they don't reply?
Expert:  Barrister replied 10 months ago.

I think you are forced to wait the 30 days by their own statements on the application.. If they don't respond within that time, then you will have to look at the Bylaws to see what it says about whether the applicant is deemed rejected or accepted. Some Bylaws say that if there is no explicit rejection, it is considered an approval. But this is typically with architectural review applications...

.

If there is nothing in the Bylaws about what happens if there is no decision in 30 days, then you are left with either contacting all the Board members repeatedly until you get a response or filing suit against them under a breach of contract claim since they aren't fulfilling their legal duties as a Board.

.

.

thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thank you so much for your answers. I hope that maybe they have a change of heart and they will be considerate for the time the tenants are waiting. I never imagined that will be a problem especially I went at the office and asked about the renting process in my community. They assured me that is fast and from other people info no one gets rejected and the interview is the last step which usually means approval.
Expert:  Barrister replied 10 months ago.

You are very welcome. Happy to help any time..

.

Well hopefully they are still wrapping things up and you will get an answer one way or the other... But I think if I were you I would still pursue trying to nail them down on what criteria they use if for no other reason than you will know what they are looking for so you can pre-screen any future applicants so you don't send them someone who you know will get rejected. But getting them to disclose what they use as criteria might be like trying to nail jello to the wall if they are just going on instinct...

.

.

thanks much

Barrister

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Well, at this point any answer on their part will be good, but I don't think they care to much about me or my tenants witch is frustrating that me as a owner I have depend on the approval of the HOA.Have a great weekend,
Elena
Expert:  Barrister replied 10 months ago.

I agree that this may be something that you want to bring up at any Board meeting of all the members because I am sure you aren't the first one to run into this problem..

.

.

All the best to you and yours.

Barrister