Other than setting a maximum fee of $100, Florida statutes offer little guidance on the issue of buyer and tenant approvals by boards of directors. As a result, the Declaration of Condominium and By-Laws provide primary instructions and authority for such actions. Much disparity exists among the thousands of condominium communities. Some declarations prohibit screenings and approvals. Others, especially older condos, offer a right of first refusal by which the board can actually purchase a unit if the approval process exposes a less than desirable buyer. Still other associations conduct extensive background investigations and occasionally, turn down potential buyers and tenants.
With so many variations in play, every board seems to have its own idea of what is appropriate. Some will tell you that a board can only reject a buyer by exercising the first refusal right. Others believe the board can reject any potential buyer without cause. (Of course, if the disgruntled buyer files a discrimination suit against such a board, some very good reasons need to be in the file.)