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FL Associations Beware: Governor Signs Law Today which Shortens Screening Time for Members of the Military!

FL Associations Beware: Governor Signs Law Today which Shortens Screening Time for Members of the Military!

SB 184 was signed by Governor Rick Scott of FL today. The new law which amends Section 83.683, F.S. will take effect on July 1st and will apply to condominiums, cooperatives, HOAs and landlords.

The new requires an association to complete the processing of a rental application submitted by a prospective tenant who is a service-member within a mere seven (7) days after submission and must, within that 7-day period, notify the service-member in writing of an application approval or denial and, if denied, the reason for denial. If the association fails to timely deny the application within seven days, the leases goes into effect.

A service-member is defined in Section 250.01, F.S. as “any person serving as a member of the United States Armed Forces on active duty or state active duty and all members of the Florida National Guard and United States Reserve Forces.”

§ 250.01(13) defines the national guard as “the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard.”

§ 250.01(2) and (6) define the Air National Guard and Army National Guard as including “active or inactive.”

As such, the shortened application review period would seem to apply not just to active duty service-members but also to any member of the reserves even those who are not on active duty. The rationale for assisting active military members in securing housing quickly makes sense. However, this new law seems to have a much broader application and puts a real burden on volunteer boards to screen an application within just one week after receiving same.

The starting point for associations is to ensure that their applications ask whether or not the rental applicant is an active member of the military or a reservist. Given the scope of this new law, associations must ensure that screening companies return results more quickly on applications highlighted as belonging to a member of the military or a reservist. Boards are well advised to speak with experienced association counsel about how to quickly handle an application that contains any issues that might trigger a disapproval.

This new law is yet another example of how associations must be nimble enough in their operations to implement statutory changes quickly. Most boards take a full 30 days to respond to an application. For rental applications from active members of the military and reservists that will no longer be an option.

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