S.S. from Sarasota County, Florida writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Only 10 of 61 units owners can rent their units because in 2002 they voted in a no rental policy for all future owners while maintaining (grandfathering) the right to rent for themselves. Fast forward to 2021. Our association will soon vote to amend our rental policy. Given the new 2004 statute about grandfathered rental rights, can the 10 vote “no” and disallow rentals for all owners, and still maintain their 2002 right to rent for themselves? It would seem to me that a “no” vote for rentals in 2021 by the 10 would remove their right to rent as well. If they want to keep their right to rent, wouldn’t they have to vote “yes” to allowing rentals? Can they double dip on the grandfathered provision? 60% of post-2002 owners want a reasonable rental provision for our community. But these 10 are 16% of our membership and will have a strong influence on the vote. How do we deal intelligently with this matter in our upcoming membership meeting?
Mister Condo replies:
S.S., that is quite a quagmire your association has gotten itself into. My very first question would be if anyone has asked the association attorney to weigh in with a legal opinion on the matter. I am not an attorney and offer no legal advice in this column and you may very well need to know not only the law but also what your documents say about the matter. The common rule is that units that did not consent to the change when the vote was taken are not subject to the rules but new owners (those that did not own prior to the implementation of the rule) are bound by the new rules. They really aren’t “double dipping” as you put it but they are still covered by their ownership of their units back when the rule was implemented. I don’t agree with your assessment of their “no” vote removing their rights to continue to rent as they were grandfathered during the initial vote. They would continue to be grandfathered under the new rules as well. Again, this is an area of law and ownership that you do not want to get wrong as the matter would easily bring lawsuits from owners who you try to prevent from renting when they may be full within their rights to do. I strongly suggest you consult with your association attorney before you make a costly mistake or create some unenforceable rules. All the best!