SCREENING POTENTIAL RENTERS AND OWNERS?
Published April 2, 2021
We hear so much about screening and/or approving potential
buyers and/or owners. And we hear as well about the many
lawsuits that are being fought on this issue – and some of these
lawsuits are getting very expensive.
First of all: The governing documents of the association have to
allow screening and approval of renters and/or buyers. Many
associations don’t carry the necessary language in their
documents – and do it anyway, until they get sued by some
unhappy person whose application got rejected and the deal
collapsed, making landlord/renter or seller/buyer very unhappy.
Then, if the governing documents specifically allow
screening/approval, there are lots of rules to follow -- not
only federal and state laws, but in some Florida counties rules
imposed by these counties, rules that often differ from county
Then there have to be written rules created by the association
detailing the method of screening/approval – and the hoops an
applicant has to jump through in order to get approved.
Disapproval of an application cannot be based on
religion, national origin, or physical or mental handicap. Then
we get back to the word ”REASONABLE” meaning rules
have to be reasonable – whatever that means. It gets expensive
when a judge decides in the end what’s reasonable – and what’s
Many boards consider these guide-lines to be not restrictive
enough. But be careful what you wish for: Going overboard with
your disapproval may cause the buyer/renter to get the unit/home
for free. In a way I’m just kidding, but we have seen rejected
buyers/renters getting large sums of money as punitive damages,
amounts that were higher than the cost of just buying the
||Jan Bergemann is president of Cyber Citizens For Justice,
's largest state-wide property owners' advocacy group.
CCFJ works on legislation to help owners living in
associations. He moved to
in 1995 - hoping to retire. He moved into a HOA, where the
developer cheated the homeowners and used the association dues
for his own purposes. End of retirement!
CCFJ was born in the year 2000, when some owners met in
- finding out that power is only in numbers. Bergemann was a
member of Governor Jeb Bush's HOA Task force in 2003/2004.
The organization has two websites to inform interested
homeowners and condo owners:
News Website: http://www.ccfj.net/.
Educational Website: http://www.ccfjfoundation.net/.
We think that only owners can really represent owners, since all
service providers surely have a different interest! We are
trying to create owner-friendly laws, but the best laws are
useless without enforcement. And enforcement is totally lacking