Owners who rent units may use association property as rules allow


Question: Florida law states that, when owners rent their units, they are not allowed to leave their cars on the property. We live in a condo complex with 148 units. The parking chairman is allowing a unit owner to pay $185 for a second parking space so that he can leave his car while he rents his unit, instead of removing his car from the property. What can we do about it? — D.B.

Answer: I am not aware of any law that literally prohibits owners from keeping their cars in a community while they rent. Instead, I think that you are referring to Section 718.106 of the Condo Act, which states that, when a unit is leased, a tenant has all use rights to the association property and those common elements otherwise readily available for use by unit owners, and that the unit owner has no rights except as a guest, unless such rights to use certain areas of the property are waived in writing by the tenant.

As a practical matter, this would mean that, if a particular unit has the use of two appurtenant limited common element parking spaces, a renter would be entitled to use both of those spaces, unless the lease provides otherwise. A condominium association is further entitled to adopt rules to prohibit dual usage of the association property by a unit owner and a tenant.

As you can see, this law is not a flat ban on an owner parking in the community. If your association’s covenants and rules would allow a guest to rent a parking spot, or if they specifically allow nonresident owners to rent parking spaces, the use of the parking space by the owner would probably not violate the statute. It would depend largely on the language in your declaration and what types of rules and regulations regarding parking have been promulgated by the board; as well as whether the lease specifies that the owner has the right to use certain elements of the property.

Q: I am hoping that you can clear up a provision in our documents that does not seem to have any definition. My community has five associations under the umbrella of a master association, whose board members are selected from the five separate subassociation boards to sit on the master board. Our documents state that material alterations to any element of the master association property must be approved by the “residents limited voting rights.”

Can you please explain what that means? I have looked up that expression in law and other dictionaries, as well as the Florida statutes, without finding any definition. Please unravel this confusing term. — L.B.

A: You are having difficulty finding a definition of the term “residents limited voting rights” because it is not a standard term with any standard definition. The only place this term would be defined would be within the governing documents, themselves.

My recommendation would be to find someone with software that will allow you to scan all of the master association documents into searchable PDF files, and then search for the term to see how it is used. As I have discussed in previous columns, in many master associations, voting is exercised through voting members who represent all of the votes held by a subcommunity. It would not surprise me if your residents votes are cast by a voting member, who may in fact be the director appointed to the master board. If this is the case, the five voting members will vote on the material alteration at a membership meeting, although the members at large (the owners) will not actually cast a vote — their vote will be represented through the vote of their voting member. The only way to influence the vote, then, would be to convince your master representative not to vote for the alteration on your behalf.

It is also conceivable that “residents limited voting rights” refers to limited situations where residents do vote directly on important issues, such as the amendment of documents or material alterations. But, as before, the only way to know would be to scour the governing documents. If you are having trouble with their interpretation, it may be worthwhile to hire an attorney to assist.

Ryan Poliakoff is a co-author of “New Neighborhoods — The Consumer’s Guide to Condominium, Co-Op and HOA Living” and a partner at Backer Aboud Poliakoff & Foelster, LLP. Email questions to condocolumn@gmail.com. Please include your hometown.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in

Traffic, charter school and hotel plans stir Royal Palm Beach debate
Traffic, charter school and hotel plans stir Royal Palm Beach debate

A proposed development near one of Palm Beach County’s busiest intersections at Southern Boulevard and State Road 7 is winning an early round of green lights from the village council, but not without stirring up questions about traffic, a proposed charter school and the height of a proposed hotel. Developer Brian Tuttle said the goal is to provide...
Check out our new podcast: Inside Florida Politics
Check out our new podcast: Inside Florida Politics

Take a listen to our new podcast “Inside Florida Politics” Host George Bennett from the Palm Beach Post, Zac Anderson from the Sarasota Herald-Tribute and legendary state capitol embedded newsman John Kennedy discuss the upcoming Florida primary and the prospects of a "blue wave." But wait, there’s more! Check out some...
Pebb comes back from tragedy with Tesla dealer, Gander Mountain site
Pebb comes back from tragedy with Tesla dealer, Gander Mountain site

Tesla will open a new dealership and service center in West Palm Beach, thanks to a Palm Beach County real estate firm that’s bouncing back after a tragedy nearly three years ago. Earlier this week, Pebb Enterprises became the owner of the empty Gander Mountain store at Interstate 95 and Northlake Boulevard in Palm Beach Gardens...
Cool the room with a smart air conditioner
Cool the room with a smart air conditioner

Just in time for the real heat of the summer, GE Appliances has a new smart air conditioner that keeps you from breaking a sweat to control the flow of cooler air with voice assistants. You won’t even have to get out of bed to adjust the air during bedtime hours. With a simple command to your iPad, iPhone or Apple Watch to access Apple Home app...
Could blockchain technology transform homebuying?
Could blockchain technology transform homebuying?

From the opening bid to the close of the sale, the process of buying a house is likely the most convoluted, complex and redundant that most consumers face. Blockchain technology could change that — eventually. In Illinois, officials at the Cook County recorder’s office want to clear the way. Meanwhile, technology firms are attacking all...
More Stories