Q: If a tenant has taken occupancy in our condominium building without approval from the association, can this be considered a trespass on the condo property? If so, what can the association do to remove the tenant and penalize the owner for not complying with the leasing rules?
A: If your condominium documents are well written with respect to leasing, there should be sufficient authority for the association to take strong action. While the association could argue that an unapproved tenant is trespassing on condominium property, this is not likely going to be considered a criminal matter. The better alternative is for the association to employ all civil remedies available under the condo documents and Florida law, which can include daily fines of $100.00 and eviction of the illegal tenant. In any lawsuit to remove such a tenant, the association would also be able to recover its attorney’s fees and costs. Further, if a unit owner continues to violate the association’s rules with respect to leasing, the association can suspend or revoke the owner’s right to lease in the future if the condo documents so allow. Your association legal counsel can confirm whether your documents have sufficient authority for the association to pursue eviction and other strong action.