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Real estate Q&A: Tenant may need approval for boyfriend to stay over [Sun Sentinel :: BC-REAL-REALESTATE-QA:FL]

Q: I have been renting a condominium for the past several years. The man I have been dating stays over frequently. A board member approached me and told me I need to fill out a tenant application and pay a fee for my boyfriend. The condo rules state that guests may not stay more than 14 days in any six-month period. My landlord is unaware of any of this. It all seems so juvenile to ask if I can have a sleepover. Do we need to pay this fee?

- Janet

A: Probably - but before you do, check the wording of your governing documents. You can't be forced to have your boyfriend approved unless the governing documents specifically say so. Even then, the fee may not be more than $100 per applicant (and spouses and children all are considered just one applicant). While the legal reasoning is different, the same goes for homeowner associations.

The condo association has rules that you agreed to follow when you moved in. It is not that you need to ask permission to have your boyfriend stay over frequently. You need to get approval to change what you previously agreed to - that the apartment was just for you. If you knowingly violate this rule, your landlord would be held accountable.

Also, review your lease and see what it says about having additional tenants. Your lease may not allow an additional person in the property.

I had a case similar to this a few years ago. The tenants were getting married anyway and decided to speed up the wedding so that this issue would go away. If you're not planning to get married anytime soon, then you'll have to go through the process to get your boyfriend approved if the governing documents require it.

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ABOUT THE WRITER

Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He practices real estate, business litigation and contract law from his office in Sunrise, Fla. He is the chairman of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is a co-host of the weekly radio show Legal News and Review. He frequently consults on general real estate matters and trends in Florida with various companies across the nation. Send him questions online at www.sunsentinel.com/askpro or follow him on Twitter @GarySingerLaw.

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