K.M. from Duval County, Florida writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Our 5-person board lowered our minimum rental term from 12 months to 30 days in 2016 without it being put before all the 28 units owners or even on the agenda. It is an amendment to the official condo documents now. Now that we realize it, most of the owners are surprised because they didn’t know and very unhappy about it. What are our options? We’ve asked to know “how it happened” and received vague responses about wanting to be able to rent to Mayo Clinic patients.
Mister Condo replies:
K.M., have you spoken with a community association attorney that specializes in Florida Community Association law? There are plenty in your area who could advise you if the vote taken in 2016 was legal. If it wasn’t, the rule is simply thrown out and the rental terms that are outlined in your documents go back into effect. Of course, state and federal law supersede your documents so consulting with an attorney is really your best bet. Provided the rules were modified properly and the rule amendment stands, the next option would be to pass a new rule reversing the previous rule. You would have a grandfathering issue with any owners who are already renting out their units under the existing rules but you could effectively prevent new purchasers from buying units in your complex for the sole purpose of renting them out on a short-term basis. Many associations prohibit short-term rentals which stops owners from using services like AirBnB from being used. Unless the complex was built with short-term rentals in mind, it really is in the best interest of the unit owners who reside in the complex to prohibit short-term rentals. Renters who use the property and amenities as a hotel have no vested interest in the community’s long-term well-being. These types of renters can also be disruptive and ignorant of rules and regulations designed to keep amenities in good working order and long-lasting. As I said at the outset, this is a legal issue that should be discussed with a qualified local attorney who understand community association law. All the best!