Question: Our homeowners’ association would like to change our current minimum rental period, which is only three days, to a thirty day minimum. If we receive a majority vote for making this amendment, do we have to “grandfather” current owners, some of which own for investing and not for personal use? (B.R. via e-mail)
Answer: I believe such an amendment would be valid, and that no “grandfathering” would be necessary, but it is an open question under Florida law.
First, you would need to amend you declaration of covenants or similar deed restriction. The required vote to do that will be set forth in that document, most require some level of super majority approval.
In a 2000 landmark case called Woodside Village Condominium Ass’n, Inc. v. Jahren, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that properly enacted amendments to a declaration of condominium could change rental rights retroactively, and that owners had no “vested rights” in the rental provisions of the condominium documents in effect when they purchased their unit. In response to that decision, the Florida condominium statute was amended in 2004 to institute a “grandfathering” rule, stating that condominium owners who do not consent to amendments changing the frequency or duration of rentals are not bound by those amendments, although their successors in title are.
This grandfathering provision does not exist in the statute applicable to homeowners’ associations. I believe most attorneys are of the opinion that a court would apply the reasoning from the Woodside Village case in addressing the validity of rental amendments in the homeowners’ association context. However, there are some legal differences between the two forms of property ownership, so until the courts address the issue, or the Florida Homeowners’ Association Act is changed, it remains an open question.