Housing options in Florida are often limited to openings in condominiums and cooperatives, and these typically have application processes and other regulations that prevent a person or family from moving in right away. Naples News points out that waiting for up to a month for homeowners’ associations, condominiums and cooperatives to process applications is normal. However, for U.S. service members, the lengthy process may pose an unreasonable hardship.
A person in the military may be issued orders to relocate to Florida without significant advanced notice. As a result, the service member and his or her family may need to find an interim place to stay while looking for a more permanent residence, and the 20- to 30-day delay may pose financial difficulties. This fact has come to the attention of the Florida Legislature, and as a result, they have passed a bill to include a new section to Florida Statute 83, which regulates landlords and tenants.
Service members are protected from discrimination based on their active status in the U.S. Armed Forces, U.S. Reserve Forces, or Florida National Guard. However, the new law does not require a landlord or association to overlook factors that would otherwise lead to a denial.
According to Florida Statute 83.683, a service member is not exempt from filling out a requisite application to rent a property. However, once this has been submitted to a condominium, cooperative or homeowners’ association, or to a landlord, it must be processed within seven days and a written answer provided. If the response is a denial, a valid reason must also be provided in writing to show there has been no unfair bias.