My brother used to own a condo unit. He lost it and someone else bought it. I was screened by the association a few years back when i was moving in with my brother. He moved out and i stayed there. The bank sold the unit to someone else. the new owner rented me the place . Now the association said i have to pay $500 for background check. or my car will be towed. Even threaten of change my lock? Do i have to pay that money? ? can they do that legally? especially tow my car? can they really do that under the law? how about changing my door lock? is that possible? or they are a bunch of high school bullies?
Each condo association has a set of rules and regulations. These rules and regulations are called bylaws. These rules have to be followed by the owners and the renters living within the condo association. The bylaws would tell what the procedure is in terms of back ground checks and fees. I would ask your landlord for a copy of the bylaws. The bylaws may state that you have to provide a new background check with a change of ownership. Condo associations can be very strict. They may be entitled to a new background check, additional fee, or even tow your car if you do not comply. The only way to know the answer is to review the association’s bylaws.
They are high school bullies or people who failed in their careers and feel the need to boost their ego by bullying their neighbors. That doesn't mean they can't though and until the politicians in this state pass laws to protect people instead of providing more protection to the associations, we have to litigate to stand up for ourselves. I digress....
You are not a new tenant. The owner is a new owner, but you are not a new tenant. I agree with the first answer the language in Declaration of Condominium and Bylaws will determine if you are subject to a background check. If it doesn't having wording to indicate you are a new tenant by virtue of a new owner, then I would think they would have a hard time forcing this. Any rules the association has must meet the test of reasonableness. These cases are arbitrated by the Department of Business & Professional Regulation and the test is one of reasonableness. Is it reasonable to make someone who has been a resident for several years submit to a new background check? Is it reasonable for the association to charge $500? I think the fee is unreasonable. The association cannot change the locks. They do not own the property and have no authority to do so. They could have your car towed if there is not a deeded parking space that is attached to the unit because they do have authority to stop you from using common areas.
I suggest you send them a certified letter stating your dispute, stating the background check fails to be reasonable based on your long-term residency, approval already obtained and the outrageous fee and your intention to submit the dispute to arbitration under Fla. Stat. 718.1255 should this not be resolved. It may get them to back off or they may end up filing for arbitration themselves. It could go either way.
This communication is not intended to create an attorney/client relationship. It is always recommended you consult an attorney in person to discuss your case. The Law Offices of Stage & Associates practices state-wide and represents homeowners and community associations. Please visit our website at www.stagelaw.com.