Buying a Condominium to Lease? Buyer Beware!

Buying a Condominium to Lease? Buyer Beware!

By William F. Cobb May 28, 2019 Posted in Community Association Law

Are you planning on buying a condominium to lease? Buyer beware… In Florida, the condominium community arrangement is a creature of statute governed by Chapter 718, Florida Statutes.  Central to the governance of the condominium community are the declaration of condominium and bylaws adopted and recorded in the public records of the county in which the condominium property is located.  The governing documents are frequently referred to as the “constitution” of the condominium and are closer to covenants that run with the land that to simple contracts.  Condominiums also frequently adopt certain “rules and regulations” which govern the community.

Declaration of Condominium Bylaws

Before the purchase and during the due diligence period it is important to review and understand the Declaration of Condominium and Bylaws regarding whether or not the condominium may be leased and under what circumstances.  Some condominiums do not permit leasing. Some condominiums permit leasing but with an application and subject to other provisions and restrictions.  Additionally, some condominiums may actually have no leasing restrictions at all.  It is important to understand the leasing restrictions for the condominium unit in question to determine if the leasing restrictions fit within the needs of the buyer.  Ignorance is not a defense to an after acquired unit that finds itself the subject of a lease prohibition dispute.  The condominium governing documents are recorded in the public records and we are all therefor put on notice of the restrictions.  The buyer may need to specifically ask for a copy of the Rules and Regulations.

Limitations

The limitations and restrictions can involve the number of children or pets, or none at all.  The limitations can require the presentation of the proposed lease, often with a specific requirement for a paragraph to be included within the lease that the tenant will abide by the rules and regulations and any violation will be the responsibility of the unit owner, among others.  Typically, leases will be restricted to be not less than six (6) months nor longer than one (1) year.  An understanding of all the limitations and restrictions can be determined by a review of the governing documents and compared with the needs of the prospective owner regarding leasing.

Perspective Purchasers

Finally, condominium associations have no duty to perspective purchasers.  It is incumbent on the perspective purchaser to perform due diligence by reviewing the governing documents to gain an understanding of how the community is governed and also to have an inspection of the physical unit to insure the unit is sound.  Perspective purchasers who conduct their due diligence before the acquisition of a condominium unit and do not attempt to wordsmith the express language of the governing documents following the purchase, generally make respected members of the condominium community of which they have become a member.  Following the procedures provided for in the governing documents regarding leasing, will generally reach a favorable result for all parties.

For more information on condominium leasing issues, contact a Cobb & Gonzalez attorney at info@cobbgonzalez.com.

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By:  William F. Cobb, Esq.

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