Can a condominium association deny an owner the right to rent his unit if his assessments are unpaid

The short answer is:  “it depends” – because the board can deny a lease only if the authority to approve or deny a lease is stated in the declaration or bylaws.

718.104(5) of the Florida Condominium Act states that the Declaration as originally recorded or as amended may include covenants and restrictions concerning the use, occupancy and transfer of units.    Thus, if  leasing a unit is not subject to prior approval or otherwise restricted  in the Declaration (or in the Bylaws, an exhibit to the Declaration) (such as a right of first refusal, or by a minimum term requirement), then the association cannot require an owner to obtain the Board’s approval of the lease or deny an owner the right to lease his property to a tenant of his choice.

718.116(4) of the Condominium Act states: “ If the association is authorized by the declaration or bylaws to approve or disapprove a proposed lease of a unit, the grounds for disapproval may include, but are not limited to, a unit owner being delinquent in the payment of an assessment at the time approval is sought.”

Thus, if the declaration or bylaws do not empower the association to approve or disapprove a lease, the association cannot require the owner to pay unpaid assessments as a condition of leasing.  And since the authority to approve a lease must be contained in the declaration or bylaws, such a lease approval clause cannot be adopted by the Board as part of the Rules and Regulations.  An amendment to the Declaration or Bylaws would have to be passed.  Such an amendment usually requires a vote of the unit owners but sometimes is authorized in the Declaration by a unanimous vote of the Board.

October 15, 2017.