When new owners purchase condominiums and other residences governed by homeowners’ associations (HOAs), they agree to the terms of your HOA’s bylaws. However, a tenant who rents a home in these communities—with the owner acting as landlord—may not be subject to HOA rules. So what happens when a tenant breaks the code of conduct established by the community and its members?
In many states, HOAs are limited to taking action against a member in a homeowners’ association whose tenants are causing trouble, and have no oversight of the tenants themselves. Fortunately, Florida does allow HOAs to take action against tenants, up to and including eviction, but only in specific circumstances. There are procedures that must be followed in order for the process to be legal.
Florida HOAs Can Deal With Tenants for Non-Payment Only
In the past, Florida parcel owners could leave the community, rent out their homes, and keep all of the rent money—and HOA couldn’t take any action other than to foreclose.
In 2010, the Florida Legislature amended HOA laws concerning the right to collect payment for past-due association fees and assessments, giving tenants some accountability for a homeowner-landlord’s unpaid fees.
Today, Florida HOAs have the legal right to do the following:
- Collect past due assessments from tenants. If a homeowner-landlord falls behind in his assessments, the HOA may serve a notice to a tenant demanding that rent be paid directly to the association. If the tenant complies, the amount paid to the association is credited against the landlord’s debt, and the tenant cannot be evicted from the residence by the landlord as long as rent payments continue. The tenant is released from his obligation to the HOA if he leaves the unit or once the debt owed by the tenant’s landlord is paid in full.
- Prevent a tenant from exercising member rights. Florida law states that a tenant who is paying a homeowner’s debt doesn't have any of the rights of an owner within the community, including the right to vote in elections or to examine the association’s records.
- Evict a tenant. If the tenant receives a written demand for payment from the HOA but continues to pay rent to the homeowner-landlord, the HOA can evict the tenant on the grounds of failing to meet a monetary obligation.
We Can Help You Navigate and Avoid Tenant Disputes
Once again, Florida HOAs only have the right to remove tenants for non-payment. A tenant is obligated to follow the terms of a lease issued by the parcel owner, and may not have ever seen (or agreed to) the HOAs community guidelines and bylaws.
However, the HOA can strengthen its position by including lease and rental terms in its governing documents, with particular attention to the enforceability and legality of landlord-tenant agreements.
If you're having trouble with an owner or tenant on your property, our attorneys can:
- Serve and enforce collections. HOAs are required to serve notice to tenants before assigning them the responsibility of paying a landlord’s assessments. The notice must be made by United States mail or hand delivery; cite the Florida Statute giving the HOA authority in the matter; and contain clear language outlining how to remand rent payments to the homeowners’ association. If payment still isn't made, we can intercede on your behalf to collect payment in full.
- Represent your interests. If your governing documents contain enforceable policies regarding delinquent tenants, we can begin taking eviction actions. If the matter still isn't resolved, we can move forward with the filing of liens or foreclosure action, representing the association all the way to litigation.
- Strengthen your governing documents. We would be happy to review the language and stipulations regarding rental in your governing documents, ensuring that all future tenants will be bound by the terms and principles agreed upon by members.
Whether you need help creating your homeowners’ association or are in the middle of a dispute with a member, we can help. Our real estate attorney has years of experience representing homeowners and their associations through all aspects of their business operations. Simply fill out the quick contact form on this page to set up a consultation.