Condo owners in Florida rent their condos to tenants all of the time. The lease period may be weeks, or months, or even years. As home owners, the condo unit owner has every right to lease his or her property to another should he or she choose to do so (as long as the owner follows the rules and regulations of the condo association).
As for the Florida condo tenant, how far does their rights of use extend? Are they limited to using just the interior of the condo unit?
Renting a Florida Condo: What Are The Tenant’s Rights?
A Florida condo tenant has the right to use all the common areas and other condominium property that the unit owner would have the right to use and enjoy if they were living in the condo unit and had never leased the place. The tenant can, for example:
- Park in the condo unit parking space
- Swim in the pool
- Access the waterfront via private condo property
- Play on the tennis court
- Host a gathering in the common reception area
- Work out in the gym.
This is pursuant to the Florida Statute 718.106(4) of the Florida Condominium Act, which provides:
When a unit is leased, a tenant shall have all use rights in the association property and those common elements otherwise readily available for use generally by unit owners and the unit owner shall not have such rights except as a guest, unless such rights are waived in writing by the tenant. Nothing in this subsection shall interfere with the access rights of the unit owner as a landlord pursuant to chapter 83.
The Condo Association and the Condo Tenant
1. No discrimination just because you are a tenant.
In sum, Florida law does not allow condominium associations to discriminate against someone who is renting a unit in the condominium. Still, the Condo Association has control over the condominium and can exercise power over the tenant just as it can with residents (or prospective residents).
For instance, the Condo Association can pass regulations that limit the use and enjoyment of common areas to either the tenant or the unit owner. In other words, the Condo Rules may state that if the tenant living in a unit has rights to use and enjoy the common areas, then the unit owner who is not living on-site cannot. This is called a “dual usage” rule, which is also part of the Florida Condominium Act, Florida Statute 718.106:
The association shall have the right to adopt rules to prohibit dual usage by a unit owner and a tenant of association property and common elements otherwise readily available for use generally by unit owners.
2. Tenant can be blocked from certain things by the Condo Board.
Not only can the Condo Association limit the right of a condo unit owner to use a condominium unit that he or she has leased to a tenant, but the Condo Association also has the power to block the tenant and their guests to use of many of the common areas if there is a failure on the part of the unit owner or the tenant to comply with any of the Condo’s bylaws, rules, or regulations. This includes a unit owner who gets 90 days behind or more in paying money due to the Condo Association.
(Here’s something important for tenants to know: the Condo Association cannot stop the tenant from using common areas that are tied specific to their rental unit as well as the common areas needed for access and egress from the rental unit. Utilities, elevators, and parking spaces are also protected for the tenant’s benefit under the Florida Condo Act. See Florida Statutes 718.106(4); 718.303(3)-(4).)
Protecting the Condo Tenant’s Rights
When a condo tenant is blocked from full use of the common areas or the full enjoyment of his or her rented condo, there are Florida laws that provide help and remedies; he or she may also have protections under the Condominium documents as well. It is a good idea to seek the guidance of a Florida condominium lawyer in these situations, particularly when these situations involve the emotions and personalities of people who are living as neighbors (and potential adversaries) in a shared community.
Do you have questions or comments? Then please feel free to Chat with Larry in the comments below, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (954) 458-8655. If you have a specific or personal situation, please call or email Larry because he can’t answer specific fact questions in general comments.