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Renters in HOAs have to perform a balancing act between landlord and association

Renters in an HOA can sometimes feel like they are spinning through the air with no idea how, or if, they will land on their feet!
Renters in an HOA can sometimes feel like they are spinning through the air with no idea how, or if, they will land on their feet!
Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

During and after the Great Recession, homeowners associations saw a change in the makeup of their neighborhoods. Gone were the days when most of the units were owner occupied, as the housing crisis brought short sale, foreclosure, and abandonment into nearly every community in the country. Certain areas, such as here in South Florida, were hit harder than most, and in these areas, the communities sometimes changed in the blink of an eye.

Many of the new homeowners had no interest in living in the houses they had purchased. Instead, they used the property as investment property, and some associations turned into de facto rental communities.

Unfortunately, some of these new landlords weren't the best thing to happen for the neighborhood, and they tried to pull a fast one over on the HOA by failing to abide by some of the rules and regulations. Why did they care, they thought. It wasn't as if they themselves were living there!

The Florida Legislature has done it's best to try and clarify the rules for renters in HOAs, but there are still quite a few problems that tend to crop up from time to time. That brings us to today's topic.

Q: Recently, the HOA representative called to advise us that our current one year lease executed in January of this year with the owner of the unit will not be honored after June of this year because in June of 2012 the HOA passed a rule change that an owner cannot rent to the same lessee more than twice. Our 2013 lease would account for one of these two times, but it seems inappropriate that the second time can be cut short. Additionally, this action appears to violate the relationship between landlord and tenant.

-Dan the Man

A: It depends... If the lease contained a renewal provision and the board approved it, there is a good argument that the tenant can stay the for the renewal term. If not, then barring facts I may not yet know, the renter cannot stay for the second term.

However, that said, the board would be wise to not apply the new requirement to any of existing tenancies. Doing so, would nullify the present dilemma and future ones, likely too.

- Jeff Rembaum, partner at the law firm of Kaye Bender Rembaum, PLLC

The West Palm Beach HOA examiner wishes to thank Jeff Rembaum for his assistance in this and other matters. If you are on the board for your HOA or Condo Association, check out his publication, Rembaum's Association Roundup, for the latest in legal changes affecting your association. He also offers courses to certify you in HOA and Condo law, in compliance with recent legislative changes.

Be sure to subscribe to this column, and stay abreast of issues involving you, the homeowners of Palm Beach County. If you've had any issues with your HOA that you'd like me to try and delve into, and possibly write about later, please let me know. Also, if you'd like to join the discussion on Twitter, you can find me athttp://twitter.com/#!/faborplumbs. While you’re at it, please read my articles about local getaways,motorsports, elections, and restaurants.