Discrimination From HOA – No Rejection Notice or Letter Refuse to give reason.

About a month ago we signed a lease to rent a townhouse in Hialeah, and we’ve been on hold for the past 3 weeks awaiting a response from the home owner’s association, aware that the process takes about 15 days for approval. Today, my wife texts the property manager to check up on the process due to not hearing back from the association on the status. Come to find out, she was under the assumption that our application was denied. According to the manager, they did not give a reason and when we called, the paper pusher from the association said we were denied and they cannot give any information regarding the denial. That’s where it all gets odd. We have no received any letter, phone call or text message stating we were denied and/or why. I do however, have a criminal history vaguely from a felony about 10 years ago. The only concern with that would be, there was no conviction and it was withhold of adjudication, never convicted. Our theory is, they are discriminating based on my criminal record and they’re trying to cover up the reason for the denial. All our records, payments and papers sent to the association are accurate, so there should be no other reason to get denied. The fact they have not sent us a letter, email or give us a phone call regarding the denial is a little fishy, hence leading us to believe this could be a form of discrimination.

Asked on December 15, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If they are denying the lease due to a criminal history, that is not illegal discrimination. Sellers, landlords, HOAs, etc. may refuse to rent or sell for many reasons--e.g., not liking an applicant's politics. The *only* reasons they can't refuse to sell or rent or those specific reasons made illegal by some law or statute, of which the main reasons are race/color, religion, and disability: there is no discrimination on those bases. However, there is no law prohibiting people from making housing decisions based on a criminal past or criminal history, and, in fact, it is common for rentals, etc. to be denied on this basis. They are allowed to not approve the lease for this reason.


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