S.F. from Broward County, Florida writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Can a general common element, (the pool cabana), of the condo association of 444 units be used for private party by an owner of said association at the exclusion of all the other owners? In other words, the cabana would be reserved & rented for exclusive use by that one owner during a set day/time but no other owners of the association would then be able to use this general common element during this event. I’ve tried looking up Florida statutes. But can’t find an answer.
Mister Condo replies:
S.F., I feel your pain. I, too, live in a large HOA where various amenities can, in fact, be rented out by unit owners for events and other HOA residents and guests are excluded from the use of that amenity during the rental period. Guess what? Perfectly legal and not regulated by the state so you won’t find any statutes on the subject although you will find tax rules about the income generated from rental of amenities. Even non-profits pay taxes when they rent out their clubhouses, tennis courts, pools or other amenities. The state isn’t going to involve itself in the business of the association. However, the association, itself, can add rules on how the amenities can and can’t be used. In your case (and mine, too), the Board would have to introduce a regulation that amenities are for the sole use of owners cannot be rented out for the exclusive use by anyone. This would stop the practice in its tracks. But there’s a rub. Many associations budget income from the rental of the amenity towards the maintenance of the amenity. In other words, if renting out the cabana generates $10K per year and the maintenance is roughly the same amount, it becomes a free amenity when it’s not being rented. If the same $10K in maintenance fees were required to come from the general budget and that caused an increase in common fees of $10 per month, would you and all of your other members be willing to accept the fee increase for unencumbered use of the amenity. You might say yes but what about folks who don’t regularly use the cabana? Will they pay the increased fee or would they rather see it rented out and pay for itself? As long as you have the majority if your favor, I see no reason you couldn’t ask the Board to restrict the rental of the amenity. Just be ready for the pushback over the lost revenue and possible increase to common fees. Neither will prove popular. All the best!