iStock_000019598645_MediumCommunity associations which have rental restrictions and policies that require association approval of prospective tenants should be cognizant of a new law that will go into effect this summer. Many association policies in this regard afford the association a fairly lengthy period of time, sometimes up to thirty days, to complete review and processing of a rental application. However, effective July 1, 2016, the time period an association has to complete the review process will be statutorily limited as it relates to applications of prospective tenants that are members of the U.S. Armed Forces on active duty or state active duty, the Florida National Guard, or the United States Reserve Forces.

Chapter 2016-242, Laws of Florida, passed on April 15, 2016, provides for the creation of Section 83.683, Florida Statutes (part of the Florida Residential Landlord and Tenant Act), relating to rental applications by a servicemember. Under the new law, associations that have policies requiring prospective tenants to submit an application for approval by the association prior to residing in a rental unit or parcel within the association’s control  must complete processing of a rental application submitted by a prospective tenant who is a servicemember within 7 days after submission. Further, the association must, within that 7-day period, notify the servicemember in writing of an application approval or denial and, if denied, the reason for denial. Absent a timely denial of the rental application, the association must allow the unit or parcel owner to lease the rental unit or parcel to the servicemember and the landlord must lease the rental unit or parcel to the servicemember (presuming all other terms of the application and lease are complied with).

This law will be applicable to any condominium association under Chapter 718, cooperative association as defined in Chapter 719, or homeowners’ association as defined in Chapter 720.