Is the Party Over? AirBNB Makes its “Party House” Ban Official

By: Erin Glover-Frey, Esq.

One of the biggest issues plaguing Florida condominiums and HOA’s are short-term rentals and the havoc of “party houses.” When bars shut down in 2020 during the COVID pandemic, creative party hosts turned to renting entire houses on AirBNB for just one night, in which to host both friends and strangers for a rager. Quickly seeing the problems these “party houses” created for neighbors and citing to public health concerns, in August, 2020, AirBNB created the first of several restrictions on party houses, including barring more than 16 occupants per unit and suspending guests who publicly advertise parties on social media.

In June, 2022, AirBNB took one step further to make its party house ban official. The official policy of the company is now to limit each rental to 16 guests, except for large properties big enough to accommodate more. Guests who wish to book for one night only on a holiday weekend may be required to have a positive prior review for approval of the booking. For two-night bookings on holiday weekend, such as the 4th of July, AirBNB will monitor for local residents or last-minute attempts to book a property.

Additionally, AirBNB has instituted a Neighborhood Support Line, available at, where neighbors can report disruptive parties. AirBNB may suspend guests and hosts who are reported offenders. Community associations can also turn to the Neighborhood Support Line for help in shutting down chronic nuisance party houses.

As always, associations can use their authority to fine, suspend use of common areas and elements, and charge back expenses against owners who allow nuisance party houses or whose guests and tenants cause damages to the common property.

What does evictions moratorium mean for landlords?

Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the CDC’s extension of the nationwide Eviction Moratorium which was set to expire on October 3, 2021. The Supreme Court’s conservative majority stated that “The moratorium has put . . . millions of landlords across the country at risk of irreparable harm by depriving them of rent payments with no guarantee of eventual recovery. Many landlords have modest means. And preventing them from evicting tenants who breach their leases intrudes on one of the most fundamental elements of property ownership – the right to exclude.”

What does this mean for Landlords? The lift on the moratorium ban has provided immediate relief to Landlords as they can start evicting non-paying Tenants. While some Courts still recognize the right to obtain rental assistance, evictions can now proceed. Due to the moratorium lift, the number of evictions filed have increased. This can cause delays and confusion for your case. And if you are a landlord who is not familiar with the eviction process to begin with, then your confusion can lead to devastating outcomes. Therefore, it is advantageous to hire a lawyer who understands how to navigate the eviction process. While evictions are not complicated, they are nuanced, and it is better to avoid unnecessary delay and potential costs by hiring an attorney to assist you in reaching the desired outcome of your case.

If you are a landlord, the moratorium lift means having a chance at recouping your lost costs. Don’t miss the opportunity because of potential confusion. If you have any questions on how to proceed next, please call our office at (386) 310-7997.

Kistemaker Business Law Group Welcomes new Paralegal/Office Manager

Kistemaker Business Law Group is pleased to welcome Rima Suleiman as the company’s new paralegal/office manager.

Rima Suleiman is a recent law school graduate of Florida State University where she received her J.D. Rima also received a University of Central Florida, B.S. degree in 2017 and graduated cum laude, Order of Pegasus. She is fluent in Arabic and can speak intermediate French. She also has a beginner’s understanding of Mandarin.

In law school, Rima was a judicial clerk to the Honorable Judge Feigenbaum of the Seventh Judicial Circuit Court. She conducted research and produced a thesis paper analyzing COVID-19 and States of Emergency: The Rule of Law and Risks to Civil Liberty.Prior to joining Kistemaker, Rima completed internships with former Florida Senator, Bill Nelson, and former diplomat to the U.S. Department of State, Ambassador Harriet Elam-Thomas. ​Under her direction, Rima researched and produced a case study on The KRG and the Ascent of Women as Political Leaders.

Rima was awarded the Lester N. Mandell Diplomacy Fellowship on behalf of the Global Perspectives Office at UCF and the Global Connections Foundation. Rima was also awarded both the Non-Traditional Literacy Engagement Award and Recognition of Excellence in the College of Arts and Humanities for the 13th Annual Service Learning Showcase at UCF for her volunteer work with children in the public school system.

Can Homeowners Recover their Homes After an HOA Foreclosure?

After an HOA foreclosure action has been filed and served on an Owner, BUT PRIOR to the Court entering a final judgment in the action or ordering the foreclosure sale, a homeowner can file a “qualifying offer” indicating his or her intent to pay all amounts owed to the association within a period of not more than 60 days.

Fla. Stat. §720.3085(6). The filing of a qualifying offer stays proceedings and the accrual of attorney fees and costs to permit the homeowner time to satisfy the association’s claim. A homeowner may not make an effective qualifying offer if the property’s mortgage is in foreclosure, if the homeowner has filed bankruptcy, or if the trial date of the foreclosure action is set for less than thirty days in the future.

With regard to foreclosures in general, Florida law permits homeowners to “redeem” a property in foreclosure at any time prior to certification of the sale by the clerk or a later date specified by the judge in the foreclosure order. Fla. Stat. §45.0315. A home is redeemed by paying all past-due amounts, including any foreclosure costs.

With regard to foreclosures in general, Florida law permits homeowners to “redeem” a property in foreclosure at any time prior to certification of the sale by the clerk or a later date specified by the judge in the foreclosure order. Fla. Stat. §45.0315. A home is redeemed by paying all past-due amounts, including any foreclosure costs.

Board Member Resignation – HOA in Florida

How many times have you thought about resigning from your home owners association’s board of directors because you are frustrated and unappreciated. I can imagine many times. However, it is important not to resign without considering the implications and later regret. It is important to note, in Florida, Section 617.0807 of the General Not For Profit Corporate Act provides that a director may resign at any time by delivering a written notice to the board of directors. Such resignation is effective when the notice is delivered unless the notice specifies a later effective date.

The statute further provides that resignations must be in writing and most reasonable people agree that email constitutes written communication. Therefore, resigning in haste via email (which I see often) can pose a big problem for association directors who later regret that decision. The statute does not require anyone to actually “accept” the tendered resignation so if a frustrated director writes an email to his or her fellow directors tendering a resignation in the hopes that someone will talk them out of it, it is already too late as they are off the Board. Of course, he or she can appeal to the board to be reappointed to the seat he or she just vacated by virtue of resigning but there is no guarantee that will happen.

If you are an association director who is considering resigning from your board, take your time to think about this very important decision before sending a hasty email. 

Florida Friendly Landscaping in Covenant Restricted Communities

By Erin Glover-Frey, Esq.

            Everyone wants a beautiful lawn and landscaping plan for their home and to look out and see another beautiful landscape across the street. That is one of the primary benefits of living in a deed-restricted community such as an HOA. The HOA and its Architectural Review Committee or “ARC” make sure that every keeps up their homes’ exterior and landscaping. One great way to make sure that everyone’s landscaping looks great is to follow a Florida Friendly Landscape or “FFL” plan. But what is that?

            The central doctrine of FFL is “Right Plant, Right Place.” If the natural terrain and conditions are correct for the particular plant, then that plant will require less water, less fertilizer, less pesticides, and generally be healthier and look better. In other words, don’t plant a shade plant in full sun and don’t plant something that likes wet soil on a sandy dune. Florida native plants are encouraged, but not required. Even turf grass, the standard for water-consuming suburban lawns, can be incorporated into a FFL. The other goals of FFL are:

  • Watering efficiently – mind the seasonal watering restrictions and use rain shut offs for sprinklers
  • Fertilizing appropriately – lawns should only need fertilizer twice per year
  • Attracting non-nuisance wildlife like birds or butterflies
  • Managing pests with insect-resistant plants
  • Mulching to retain moisture in the soil
  • Recycling natural resources – capture rain water for irrigation or compost yard waste
  • Preventing storm-water run off – efficient watering and rain water catchment prevents pollutants from being washed into the river or ocean
  • Protecting the waterfront – natural plantings on retention ponds prevent erosion

            Florida Law states that Homeowner’s Associations may not prohibit an owner from installing a Florida Friendly Landscape on his or her land. 720.3075(4), Florida Statutes and 373.185, Florida Statutes. But that does not mean that the ARC has no say in the matter. ARCs can still require approval prior to installation of a Florida Friendly Landscape and can prohibit certain plants for legitimate reasons. Just because a plant is native to Florida – like sandspurs — does not mean it should be in your neighborhood. FFL also does not mean that the owner can allow the land to “go back to nature.” ARCs can still require that a FFL be neat and manicured.

HOAs can also install FFLs in the common areas, which will reduce the Association’s costs for irrigation, fertilizer, pesticide and landscapers. Owners and ARCs should work together to ensure that the proposed landscapes both honor the goals of the Florida Friendly Landscaping laws and maintain a consistent, neat and attractive scheme of development in the community.

Boot Camp Series #2: Reserve Study

A Reserve Study is a long-term budgeting tool utilized by common interest communities which provides a long term (usually 30 years) timeline of costs and dates for replacement of common area components.

Common areas such as roofing, paint, and pavement all have limited useful life expediencies and a Reserve Study provides a community necessary information to adequately save for the expected replacement of these items over time.

Learn more:

Condo and HOA law: Restrictions on the sale and lease of property/transfer of properly restraint on alienation.

A hot topic and contested matter I face often with homeowners’ and condominium associations is the association’s ability to place restrictions on property transfers. In simple terms the ability to approve or disapprove of the sale and lease of units or homes in a residential community. Those who challenge restrictions on property transfers allege their right to transfer their property is being unreasonably restrained.

Restrictions that unreasonably restrain the right of a property owner to transfer his or her property are known as unreasonable restraints on alienation.

HUD Issues New Guidance on Emotional Support Animals in Condominiums and HOAS

By: Erin Glover-Frey, Esq.

            On January 28, 2020, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) issued new guidance on when a housing provider must provide a reasonable accommodation of “assistance animals” for disabled residents under the Fair Housing Act. “Assistance animals” includes both service dogs – i.e. dogs individually trained to perform work for the disabled resident – and the more contentious “emotional support animals” that provide assistance to the disabled person just by virtue of being an animal. Condominiums and Homeowners Associations are housing providers subject to the Fair Housing Act and must provide disabled residents with reasonable accommodations of their disabilities upon legitimate request, even if the accommodation would be in violation of the association’s governing documents.

The new HUD guidance clarifies the types of animals for which housing providers are required to provide an accommodation, and specifically excludes reptiles (other than turtles), barnyard animals, monkeys, kangaroos, and other non-domesticated animals, unless unique circumstances exist.

            HUD also clarified that assistance animal documentation from the internet “is not, by itself, sufficient to reliably establish that a person has a non-observable disability or disability-related need for an assistance animal.” In other words, a housing provider does not have to provide an accommodation based on an internet registration alone, however a medical or mental health provider may still assess the disabled resident via the internet.

To simplify the process for reviewing a request for a reasonable accommodation, HUD provided a step-by-step inquiry for housing providers as follows:

  1. Does the person have an observable disability or does the housing provider already have information giving them reason to believe that the person has a disability?

Yes à Skip to Question 3

No à Go to Question 2

  • Has the person requesting the accommodation provided information that reasonably supports that the person seeking the accommodation has a disability?

Yes à Go to Question 3

No à Give the requester reasonable opportunity to provide this information. If the requester cannot provide the information, then the housing provider may deny the accommodation request.

  • Has the person requesting the accommodation provided information which reasonably supports that the animal does work, performs tasks, provides assistance, and/or provides therapeutic emotional support with respect to the individual’s disability?

Yes à Go to Question 4

No à Give the requester reasonable opportunity to provide this information. If the requester cannot provide the information, then the housing provider may deny the accommodation request.

  • Is the animal commonly kept in households (dog, cat, small bird, rabbit, hamster, gerbil, other rodent, fish, turtle, or other, small domesticated animal)?

Yes à The housing provider should provide an accommodation, unless doing so would constitute a direct threat to the health or safety of other individuals that cannot be eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level through actions of the owner.

No à The housing provider does not need to provide an accommodation, except under very rare and unique circumstances.

            These questions, though helpful, still leave wiggle room for loopholes and fraudulent requests for accommodation. If you are a housing provider and are presented with a request for an accommodation, to avoid costly litigation in the future, the best practice is to consult with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney before making any decision.

Things to consider before purchasing a condo

Condominiums are a significant segment of the housing market in Florida. However, many prospective condominium purchasers are unaware of condominium concepts or the provisions of Chapter 718, Florida Statutes, the Condominium Act. Below is some important information that should be considered prior to making a purchase.PART ONE: THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE PURCHASING A UNIT

  1. What will be your ownership and voting rights in the association?
  2. What will be your percentage share of the common expenses?
  3. Are any special assessment coming up in the near future.
  4. When was the last insurance appraisal or valuation and does the condo have sufficient insurance coverage for the building.
  5. Review the budge.
  6. Determine if the reserves are properly funded.
  7. What are the restrictions on the use of the common elements and the unit?
  8. Are there any leases or contracts associated with the condominium association? If so, what are their terms?
  9. Do you understand all of the provisions of the documents?
  10. Exactly what items will you be personally responsible for maintaining?
  11. Is the condominium development completed? If not, how many units will eventually be added to the condominium development and what impact will they have on the use of the recreational amenities?
  12. What is the proposed schedule for adding units or amenities to the condominium?
  13. Does the developer have the option of not completing certain facilities or amenities?
  14. Does the association have a history of complaints by residents of the condominium?
  15. Is the association currently involved in litigation?
  16. Does the association carry adequate insurance?
  17. Is the condominium property well maintained?
  18. Has the association established reserve funds for future capital expenditures and deferred maintenance projects?
  19. Is the condominium being created a conversion, converting a previously occupied residential structure, what is the condition of the property and will major repairs be required in the near future?
  20. What is the history and reputation of the developer?
  21. Who is sitting on the board of directors
  22. What is the association’s pet policy?
  23. Are there any restrictions on the selling or renting units?
  24. Are there any restrictions on the number of family members or guests who may occupy a

In closing, Gather documentation and review any HOA rules.

Disclaimer: This article is for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion on specific facts or circumstances nor a solicitation of legal business. You are urged to consult an experienced lawyer concerning your particular actual situation and any specific legal questions you may have. No attorney-client relationship attaches as a result of any exchange of information.