Question: Before I purchased my condominium unit, my association amended its governing documents to state “an owner may lease or rent his apartment only once during the period of his ownership”. I now work several hours away, which has created a burden, and I need to rent my unit. How can I get the association to reevaluate the amendment or provide me with an exception? Also, I didn’t vote for the amendment and no one told me about the provision when I purchased my unit; does it still apply to me? B.I. (via e-mail)
Answer: The Florida Condominium Act specifically addresses amendments which limit or prohibit unit owners from renting their units. Section 718.110(13) of the current version of the statute states that amendments prohibiting unit owners from renting their units, altering the duration of the rental term, or specifying or limiting the number of times unit owners are entitled to rent their units during a specified period, apply only to unit owners who consent to the amendment, and unit owners who acquire title to their units after the effective date of that amendment. You fall into the latter category.
Therefore, if your condominium association adopted an amendment which restricts your ability to lease your unit, and that amendment took effect prior to your acquiring title to your unit, the amendment would apply to you. If the amendment was duly recorded in the land records, you were on “constructive notice” of the amendment, and there is no requirement that the association “tell you about it.” However, the “Question and Answer Sheet” prepared by the association, which you are legally entitled to receive during your pre-purchase cooling off period, should have disclosed this restriction.
If you want to see the restriction changed, the documents would need to be amended again. There is probably a petition process in your documents where owners can propose changes, although that is usually an uphill climb in situations like the one you describe.
Originally posted on Florida Condo HOA Law Blog