S.B. from Massachusetts writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
My husband purchased a condo in Florida. I do not wish to occupy the condo at any time. I may visit for a weekend. However, I don’t see it happening more than once or twice a year. The condo association is now mandating I complete a background check saying I am an occupant. The docs do not define occupancy so we went to Florida law. It does have a visitor’s policy which I will abide if it happens however they are now threatening legal action if I don’t give them my name, social and birthdate. My husband refused to give them that information. Our only option is to sell or me never visit. This is crazy, isn’t it?
Mister Condo replies:
S.B., you were wise to consult the Florida condo laws because, as you know, condo laws vary from state to state. What flies in Massachusetts doesn’t necessarily apply in Florida and vice versa. Association by-laws are also binding in different ways between states but the bottom line is that you do need to be in compliance with the state law for the state where the condo dwells. Florida has decided on some fairly stringent condo regulations for the simple reason they don’t want to fall victim to short-term rentals or condo units being sublet to “family” members. These laws were enacted to protect the associations, not the unit owners. I can’t honestly see why you would have a problem supplying the association with such basic information as your name, social security number, and birthdate as these are public records anyway. Perhaps you are concerned with identity theft but I think you are more likely to have a problem using a credit card to make a purchase online or at a store than you are in providing this basic info to the association. As winter sets in here in the Northeast, I am betting a visit to the Sunshine State is sounding pretty good. If all they want is your information to allow you to freely use the condo, I think you should offer it. If you find your personal data was mishandled by the association you can always deal with that after the fact. I doubt you will have any problems. All the best!