About long term guests in a condo rental.

Asked by Marjorielyn, 33139 Wed Jul 15, 2009

I have an unexpected long-term guest. (An HOA problem made the condo she was trying to buy unfinanceable so her search is continuing). The HOA office where I'm a condo renter is making quite a fuss over an 'investigation fee'. I paid for 1 when I applied but I'm sure they didn't actually do it. They are obviously cash-strapped; several of their fees run late according to posted notices around the premises but I don't think that, as a renter, I'm responsible for making up the shortfall. What should I do about the fee for me and for my friend? What can they do to me or my landlord if we refuse to pay it?

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Audra McColl…, Agent, Miami, FL
Wed Jul 15, 2009
Hi Marjorie,

My advice first piece of advice is for you to check your lease. Most standard leases have a clause where a guest is allowed, but places a limit on what is termed an 'occasional overnight guest'. For example, I always fill in the lease as 'an occasional overnight guest is one who does not stay more than 14 nights'. SO, first check your lease to see that you are not in violation.

Second, if this guest has been at the building more than a couple weeks, of course, the condo association is going to see her as another tenant (just one who possibly circumvented signing the lease) even if that's not exactly the case. The board has a right to approve or disapprove of anyone residing in the building (which is why they made you pay for a background/credit check when you applied there. It makes sense that, if your guest has become a long-term guest, they view her as another resident and want to have her checked out.

You should consider if you really want a roommate and how much longer she plans to stay. If you don't know, then you might go ahead and ask her to pay a fee. If she is a considerate friend, she should not want to be the cause of problems between you and your landlord or the community where you live. If she is looking to buy a home it could be months before she finds another place.

Good luck!

Audra McCollum
Director - Luxury Division
Interinvestments Realty, Inc.
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