I agree with Ken. Something is not quite right. How do they justify the extra expense exactly other than you being a foreign buyer?
I am a foreigner as well, and have had similar situations. They usually give in when exposed, but do you really want to deal with such an HOA?
Call me any time if you have further questions at 407-929-9674
I'd be suspect of the community and the HOA. there are some really bad ones around. Hopefully your agent has given you some good insights towards placess to avoid and those to invest in. there are some greeat places. Good luck.
The only reason they can refuse you as a buyer is because the community has as many rentals as they are allowed and they their rules do not allow any more. I am not sure that the HOA has the authority to deny a foreign buyer just because of being a foreign buyer ....
I would ask to see the HOA's charter!!!!
Call a Real Estate lawyer who deals with HOA. All HOA are different, condo, townhome, and single family.
Fees are usually determined by the board of directors of the association. Good luck. Donna
The advantage of this right, is that the association or developer can stand at the head of the line to purchase a unit, ahead of any right the current seller may have to sell the unit.
The disadvantage may be to the seller, who may be able to achieve a higher selling price in the open market.
The disadvantage to the association or developer may occur when the holder of the RFR does not have the funds to purchase the unit.
Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Right_of_first_refusal_condo_assoc
Some of them subcontract a company, and it is easy and fast within US, and the same Condo Associtaion has to use another company to do international checks, and they charge more.
Are you looking for solutions or a reason to attack agents?
Also it depends on what is written in the Seller's request.
It is a bit more involved than just a simple "yes" or "no" answer
International Searches. Throw out everything you think you know about checking people out. Start with zero and you wonâ€™t be disappointed. Maybe you can get a criminal history report with some degree of accuracy and you can verify employment and education but thatâ€™s about it.
Costs: a Criminal History Report anywhere in the US (in up to three jurisdictions) except New York is only $49. New York is $75. International Criminal History checks are $99 in most countries and $140 in Great Britain and $200 in Russia.
Turnaround time: is anywhere from a couple hours to 2-3 days. (More for international criminal checks). Remember that we are doing real criminal searches often by hand. Yes, in at least half of the USAâ€™s 3100 counties records must be searched in person at the court clerkâ€™s office. Thatâ€™s why those instant nationwide searches that you see advertized are junk. They only collect data where it is online and free, which is less than half of the country
We worked with Canadian Buyer, and Condo Owners Association had a contract with a service doing the background check, and they charged differently for Florida, more for out of state, and even more for foreigners.
As for discrimination, who said that you can't discriminate. There is a list of situations when you can't discriminate, but outside of this list you can discriminate as much as you want.
Also, it sounds more like you are not that much looking for advice. It sounds more like bashing Realtors
By law, an association may reject a prospective buyer or renter for reasons allowed by governing documents. State law does not require the association to provide a seller a reason for rejection. And there no provision for challenge of the decision.
I hate red tape and governments regulating everything - but if so called professionals give this kind of advice what is the alternative answer to protect those who will just rely on their opinion?
The Attitude of Ms Kee for example who can not actually see that she was giving advice which was not in line with the law. Yet she is apparently a Director of an HOA?
In answer to her question - In the UK I would very doubt a HOA Association would be entitled to a criminal background check. They are mainly preserved for jobs, volunteering with children etc. The argument is simply thus - If an HOA does not have in its Articles/Documents that a higher fee can be charged for a Foreign resident - it can't charge one. If it tries to it is discrimination under the Fair Housing Act.
I have to compliment you in your very astute responses. Your situation does sound like discrimination and those recommending you review the HOA docs and consult with an attorney are giving you good advice.
I completely agree with your criticism of some of the answers here. It is shocking how many in my profession do not understand basic Fair Housing laws.
Perhaps the volunteer Director with the HOA (is it actually an HOA or is it a condo association) has been given incorrect information from his hired Licensed Community Association Manager. It happens all the time that HOAs have hired management firms that do not adequately advise their volunteer Directors to comply with Federal and State Statutes.
So if an HOA were to ask for a criminal background check for a person's activities in the UK, a mere US background check can pull a person's criminal history in Europe? That's surpising.
Let us know if they decide to accept you!
IN response to Ms Alma Rose Kee, if you had bothered to even spend 20 seconds googling the Statute Law I quoted you will find that there is a direct exemption for over 55 age communities under "The Housing for Older Persons Act of 1995". I am shocked that a Realtor with 10 years experience and even more worryingly a Director of an HOA did not know this simple information!!! Please tell me what higher costs are there to vet a foreign national? Which credit check can a US HOA do on a Foreign National that costs more than a US Citizen? The only check they can run is via a social security number of which a foreign investors equivalent is a ITIN. Which costs the same. Something any Realtor who wants to deal with foreign investors should know about as an Investor will not be able to file any property tax papers etc etc etc without an ITIN.
I'll put the link here to the Fair Housing Law for anyone that might need to refer to it....
That's great that you have found an experienced attorney with Condo/HOA laws to advise you. Make sure you check to be sure that attorney has experience with condo/HOA State Statutes, not just "rental" rights laws.
I'm not an attorney and from my direct 10 year experience (and being a volunteer Director of a Florida HOA) I'm surprised that an HOA and/or Condo does not have the right to charge various fees to foreign nationals (because of the significantly higher costs to vet a foreign national) and also have the right to prevent any owner from buying in their complex--as long as it complies with the more restrictive state statutes. Have you heard of 55 and older complexes that restrict ownership to those under 55?
Keep us posted as to how it all works out for you!
All the best,
I was told by the Real Estate Lawyer to quote the "Fair Housing Act Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Fair Housing Act)" at the HOA. My Realtor mentioned this and the HOA have backed down.
I think for any prospective foreigners like myself out there looking to buy in Florida, the MOST important thing is to get a good Realtor who will give good advice and will be upfront if they don't know something rather than tell you something that is utterly wrong. I wish there was the ability on here for BUYERS and SELLERS to do blogs and not just agents. I think that different perspective would be very helpful.
It seems reasonable for me for an HOA/Condo Association to charge a higher fee for approving a foreign national because the fees for the background check must surely be higher.
The Declaration, Articles of Incorporation, ByLaws and any Rules and Regulation documents for the HOA/Condo along with the Florida State Statutes governing HOA (or it actually sounds like a condo) will dictate whether or not the association can put restrictions on ownership, i.e. no pets, no criminal background, no pink hair, no british accents, etc. Condos/HOAs discriminate every day and I believe it is perfectly legal for them to do so as long as it is clearly written in the Documents.
So your first step is to ensure you have ALL of the condo documents if you think the "10 year" volunteer Board of Director is making decisions that do not follow the condo/HOA docs. There should be at least 3 Board of Directors so one person cannot control the approval process. If you mean the "older gentleman" that is running the place is merely a paid manager hired by the Board of Directors then he has zero control, it's up to the board of directors elected by the homeowners.
So here's an interesting website that may sway you to decide NOT to buy in an HOA or Condo Association, take a look:
All the best,
You should ask based on what governing laws your approval is denied.
I suggest that you seek legal advice. Good luck!
Best of luck,
J. Rockcliff Realtors