Associations can be a great asset to Florida residents. They usually bear the brunt of common area maintenance or amenities, they do come with a cost. In some cases, the cost could surpass a monthly fee.

If an association is involved with your sale or purchase, it’s important to be aware of the possibilities during this transaction. No buyer or seller wants a surprise just before closing.

What are the HOA’s rules?

Before buying your house or condo, you likely reviewed the HOA’s expectations and requirements. Upon selling the property, it’s a good idea to revisit its rules as well as each party’s legal obligations.

Sellers should always be up front to potential buyers about the HOA. Part of this process is providing the buyer with a disclosure summary form, which outlines how much a new owner should expect to owe the association.

Of course, not every buyer will be pleased with the association. These issues could inadvertently limit the pool of prospective buyers. HOAs with strict rules or high fees might discourage buyers, but sellers can’t usually adjust these factors simply to have a more competitive listing.

HOAs can reject buyers

In Florida, associations can require sellers to seek approval for the transaction before the sale may close. Buyers might have to pass a standard screening process. The HOA may ask questions such as the buyer’s credit score and criminal history.

The purpose of a screening process cannot be under the federal Fair Housing Act, however. Associations can’t abuse this power to keep out people of certain ethnic groups, religions, abilities or ages aside from senior-only communities.

Sellers and buyers who suspect that the association is sabotaging the sale or acting discriminatorily may need to seek legal counsel. If left to their own devices, a rogue association could unreasonably extend the time a home sits in the market.