Can an HOA Prohibit Rentals in Florida?

If you own a home you wish to rent to tenants or through a site such as Airbnb, be careful to check with your homeowners association (HOA) first. In Florida, a homeowners association can prohibit a homeowner from renting out a property or place restrictions on rental rights. Putting your home up for rent without approval from your homeowners association could lead to serious legal trouble.

How Can an HOA Restrict Rental Rights?

Under Florida law, a homeowners association has the legal right to decide whether or not the owner of a home or condo can rent out the unit to others. The HOA’s Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions has the power to restrict or prohibit rentals. This document can create rules for renting out a unit, such as:

  • Giving the HOA the right to screen prospective tenants who will live in the unit, as well as turn down renters who may be harmful to the community (within the parameters of the Fair Housing Act).
  • Only allowing you to rent your home out a certain number of times per year (usually once or twice).
  • Imposing a mandatory waiting period after you purchase the unit before you can begin to rent out your home or condo.
  • Setting a minimum rental lease period, such as at least 30, 60 or 90 days. These restrictions are typically meant to ban short-term rentals, such as Airbnb.
  • Using a rental cap to limit the number of units available for rent in a single building or community.
  • Prohibiting you from renting your house or unit out entirely.

Under Florida Condominium Law Section 718.110, an HOA cannot amend its governing documents unless at least two-thirds of the members approve the change. Therefore, if you wish to rent your unit, you will have the right to do so as long as you act in accordance with the HOA’s governance. The HOA cannot deny your request based on terms that are not currently in its governing documents.

What Are the Penalties for Renting Out Your Unit?

Your HOA may bear the right to enter your unit to determine if you are breaking the rules by renting it out. You could face a civil penalty if you do not follow the rules of your HOA in renting your unit. If your HOA prohibits rentals or you did not obey one of its restrictions, the HOA will have the right to penalize you. You may have to pay a fine to the HOA and cease the activity in question immediately. You may also lose the right to use facility amenities, such as a community pool or gym, until you pay your fine. You could even face a lawsuit brought against you by the HOA and/or a lien against your property.

When to Speak to an Attorney

Although a homeowners association has the right to prohibit or restrict rentals in Florida, it can only do so if it has a legitimate reason. Anything an HOA does must meet the definition of reasonable under Florida law. If the HOA does not have a reasonable or valid reason to prohibit rentals or deny a renter, it may not have the right to do so. If you receive a notice from your HOA that you cannot rent your unit out, therefore, speak to a Tampa insurance attorney to discuss your ownership rights.

An insurance claims attorney in Florida can determine whether your HOA’s rental restrictions or prohibition meet the state’s definition of reasonable. If not, your lawyer can help you go up against your homeowners association in an attempt to change the rule. A lawyer can also help you take action against an HOA that engages in illegal activity, such as conducting a background check and denying a prospective tenant based on race or gender. Work with an attorney for assistance dealing with an HOA’s rental restrictions in Tampa.