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Can HOA make me pay for a new application & background check for my new wife even though I lived there single for last 3 years?

Fort Lauderdale, FL |

Three years ago I did the application and background check for me when I first rented the apartment. On the application, the original application says that if there is a spouse or someone regularly living in my apartment to fill in the information below. It's blank of course, so now that I have a new wife why were they require a background check and application fee if I should only need to update the information. If they require a new application they can reject us after that in legal grounds without any reason other than discrimination. I don't understand how could they make a big issue when it's my wife and i lived there for 3 years already. It's not a roommate. If they reject her, that means they are rejecting us and I don't want to give them that option.

My brother is the unit owner and I am the tenant. My brother already filed bankruptcy and he's going through a foreclosure of the unit I am in. I have paid for all the association fees for the past year or so on time without any problems. I sent them an email asking whether every new tenant due to marriage has to go through a new lease application. Waiting for response for the association representative. No, they haven't given me an info that she wouldn't pass the background check, she should without at problem. I don't mind the background check, but the additional lease application with references and providing just three days to aquire everything. They left the papers to my wife on 3/29/13 and said everything needs to be complied as well as payment by 4/1/13 or else legal action could be taken on there part. I believe that's unreasonable since we've already planned to be out of town.

Attorney Answers 3


Condominium associations have the right to set reasonable limitations on owners who rent their units. Among these reasonable restrictions is the right to do background checks on prospective tenants. If you were a unit owner who lived in the unit and got married, requiring that your wife submit to a background check would probably be unreasonable. However, since you are a tenant, such a check may be reasonable. The answer depends on the wording of the declaration of condominium and the rules and regulations that are promulgated by the association. If you think that you are being treated unfairly, you should consult an experienced real estate lawyer in your area.

Disclaimer: This answer is provided for informational purposes only, does not constitute legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Actual legal advice can only be provided after completing a comprehensive consultation in which all of the relevant facts are discussed and reviewed.

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First of all, congratulations on your new marriage! Secondly, as mentioned by Attorney Deason, landlord's and condo associations have a lot of leeway when it comes to rentals, background checks, et al. Since they did not newly change the form just to discriminate against your new wife, I would assume that every tenant that has a family member or spouse move in after the tenancy was entered into will have to do the same. If you believe otherwise, seek the advice of a good landlord/tenant attorney to assess your options. Have they led you to believe that your new wife will not pass the background check?

Carol Johnson Law Firm, P.A. : (727) 647-6645 : : Wills, Trusts, Real Property, Probate, Special Needs: Information provided here is anecdotal and should not be relied upon or considered legal advice. Every matter is different and answers given here are general in nature and may not reflect current Florida law at the time you are reading this posting. Please contact me if you feel you need additional assistance with your matter.

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2 lawyers agree


Both attorneys have given you excellent advice. The answer depends on the language in your condominium documents and the authority the association has to request this information as authorized by the documents. There is no easy answer and the costs of paying an attorney to review the language plus the cost of potential litigation may just make this not worth the trouble.

If you really want to determine your rights, I suggest contacting a HOA lawyer to review your documents.

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

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