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Condo association changes rental restriction rules on landlord owner

stephen polinsky on Thu, Dec 30, 2010 @ 07:34 AM


I own 5 units in a (155 unit) condo building in Miami Beach, Florida. The last one I bought was a foreclosure. The previous owner owed a lot of money to the condo association. This building has rental restrictions for the 1st year of ownership. Because this was a complicated foreclosure I was under contract for over 2 years. Before signing the contract I asked the buildings office and the board if they would make an exception to this rule that I would buy the unit. I explained that it would be good for the building to get thousands of dollars owed by the previous owner (now the bank). The building manager said yes, that I could rent it and that she would even help me find a tenant. The President of the board said to just put the request in writing and she would present it to the rest of the board and that there should be no problem. So I signed the contract to buy.

Two years later the manager and the President of the board are no longer there. The new board says that was 2 years ago and a different board so it does not count. Because this foreclosure had issues when it was ready to close I legally could be out of my contract. I told the new board that it would be good for the board to get thousands of dollars from this sale and to get a responsible person making regular payments. I explained that if they did not make the rental rule exception that I would not buy. I explained that the property was in such distress that the likelihood a lender would finance it was little. And few investors would pay cash for a place which can not be rented the first year. One board member (out of 5) said that exceptions were done when it was a financial issue. Another board member said that he would support me and that it was very likely that the President of the board would support me because the building is in dire need of money. I went to the office and told them that I had 3 of the 5 board members who supported me. The office said that they still needed to have a meeting that it was not automatic. One week later, after their meeting, I bumped into the President of the board. He told me that they were going to allow me to rent the unit right away. They knew that I was not going to buy without this exception. I bought this place because of that verbal contract. The building got thousands of dollars from the sale. And now they are saying that I am not allowed to rent the 1st year. Since it was a foreclosure, I didn't get keys at closing. The office has the keys and they are refusing to give them to me so that I can copy them. They have previously given them to me before and I have made sure that they had correct keys in case of emergencies. I even explained that it would be good for the building in case they need them. The office said, if there is an emergency and we do not have correct keys, we can just break the door.

They are completely irrational in more ways that fit in this blog. I talked to a lawyer and I was told that if I go to court that I would win and they would even have to pay my attorney's fees. Since they are only selectively enforcing the rules (and I have legal written proof) that even if I never had a verbal contract with the President of the board that I would still win. But the building is practically broke and even if I only won $50,000, the building would have to pass a special assessment and I don't want to hurt my neighbors solely because of an irrational board. I have multiple items for which I could sue. I would just prefer not to sue. Three of the five board members are more rational. The only way to contact them is for me to call or email the office and ask to have my message forwarded to them. But non of them answer emails or phone call requests. The sad thing is that I really like the building and many of my neighbors. But the association and some of the employees, just simply make life impossible for many residents. One of the board members even violated the rental restriction rule. He would like to change that rule, but the 2 of the other board members are so loud and rude that they shut him up and he is not strong enough to stand up to them. In fact multiple board members have quit in the past and the same controlling irrational members remain. They run all the others out. I bought this condos because the price was irresistible. But I am to the point were I could just sell them all just to get away. Why do so many boards act like dictators. I could understand if they were acting on behalf of the majority of owners. But they are not and they don't care. They are supposed to be there to represent us not to be dictators. SO TRULY VERY FRUSTRATED.


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