Rental policy helps with tenant screening
Q: While interviewing possible tenants renting a condominium unit from an owner, can we legally deny the applicant? What if they have a felony on their background check? Or records showing a felony involving violence, a battery misdemeanor or domestic violence?
A: First, your documents must provide the right to screen new residents. In addition, you cannot discriminate for several reasons, including race, religion, sex, age and medical disabilities, as well as others. You must be consistent in your reviews and clearly state the reasons why an applicant would be denied.
I suggest that the board establish a standard review for all new residents and have that review approved by the association attorney. The board could include a one-page interview form that would include a few key questions and remarks. If your policy says that no person with a police record will be approved, then you should have the right to disapprove the renter or new buyer.
Ask the board about delinquent accounts
Q: We have several homes that have not paid in more than two years. Our delinquency amount exceeds $400,000 and the board and management does nothing to collect.
At the last board election I placed my name as a candidate. Unfortunately, the members voted for the current directors. So, what is my next step? I am not sure that I want to become involved but that decision will cost me higher fees.
A: One of the most difficult situations is the apathy that many owners assume. That attitude is, let the other person do the work. You stepped up to the plate but unfortunately you struck out because you did not have the support. The key reason is usually you did not connect with the owners. To connect with the owners, you must meet them face to face and give them the facts.
Send a letter to the board and ask specific questions about the operations and finances. Find out why the board has not taken action on the delinquent accounts. Once you have the data and information, start knocking on doors and meet your neighbors.
'Unofficial' recount can void election
Q: After the annual election, the ballots were locked in a cabinet. A board member went into the locked cabinet to recount the votes without notice or anyone else attending or acting as a witness. Shouldn't a recount be observed by others present?
A: Subject to the end report of the inspection, it could have voided the election. No director should put himself or herself in a position of invalidating any association records.
Richard White is a licensed community associations manager. Write to him at 6039 Cypress Gardens Blvd., No. 201, Winter Haven, FL 33884-4115. Please include your name and city.