Background Checks in a Florida HOA

Background Check Florida HOA

When ordering background checks in a Florida HOA, the homeowners association should follow a prescribed policy. When a Florida Community Association is presented with a prospective resident or tenant, it is important to order a background check in accordance with policies already in place for the protection and general welfare of those living in the community. 

Requiring a Background Check

Requiring all new owners and tenants to submit to a background check allows the association to check for people with backgrounds that may impact the safety of their community.  In most situations, an association whose governing documents and rules and regulations contain a provision that sexual offenders are banned from living in their community, can prevent the offender from living there, thereby helping to increase the safety of the residents living within the community.

Community Associations Governing Docs

Community Associations should put serious thought into having in place a policy to allow all residents and tenants to go through a screening process, specifically for sexual and violent crimes.  Board members have a duty and obligation to ensure the safety of their community but need provisions in their governing documents in order to approve or disapprove a prospective resident or tenant.  These provisions should be clearly stated in the governing documents.  Once the association has decided to screen, they should make sure decisions are made in an objective, systematic manner. Whoever is charged with the decision making should have very specific, written guidelines for the background check information which would disqualify a candidate.

Credit Reports with a FICO Score

The association may review all of the documents to be sure the buyer is able to pay the assessments of the association. Associations seldom deny a qualified buyer unless they have a criminal background as it relates to the safety of the community. However, including a credit report in the background check will enable the decision maker to verify if the application falls within their standards. Ordering a credit report with a FICO Score will enable the decision maker to easily and objectively evaluate the credit report.  Even if a buyer is paying all cash, the buyer may still have financial liabilities or limitations that may be of concern. When one owner in an association doesn’t pay the maintenance fee, his or her neighbors pay that debt. Put simply, until they pay, the other owners are required to cover the delinquency.

Florida HOA and Tenant Screening Agencies

Under Florida law, all information gathered during a background check is strictly confidential. For background checks in a Florida HOA, hiring a tenant screening agency to perform the background check and assist in its evaluation, is a prudent way to ensure the integrity of the review process.  The tenant screening agency will ensure all the required disclosures, acknowledgements and notices are included in the report.  Our Florida Rental Laws Guide includes helpful links and information for leases, rent, security deposits, tenant screening, real estate and government.  A guide for each state may be found at State Rental Laws.