WSVN — If you have ever looked for a new home to buy, it can be fun, and if you find the right place… fabulous.
Paul Hurtado: "Looked at it, liked it, put a bid on it, and they accepted."
After searching with his realtor, Paul, a single father of two, found a place he liked at Village of Woodland Lakes in Tamarac.
Paul Hurtado: "Inside is redone. It has a lot of upgrades, floors, bathrooms, courtyard out front."
Paul made an offer. It was accepted, and then what can be the toughest step in getting a home…
Paul Hurtado: "Getting approved by the bank was not difficult. Filled out everything I needed to fill out and didn't have any problems."
Everything was sailing along, and then why some people will tell you, never live in a place run by an management company and an association board.
Paul Hurtado: "And then went through my HOA to get approval, and I got denied."
The association board can block you from buying a house in their neighborhood if you have bad credit or a criminal history.
Paul Hurtado: "I have no idea why they denied me. I have absolutely no criminal background. My credit is good."
Paul says his credit score is 760, good enough for a bank. We checked his background and found no criminal history, but the letter from the association's attorney said they reviewed those records and denied the proposed application, adding they were not required to provide the prospective purchaser with the specific reasons for its denial.
Paul Hurtado: "I don't even have the slightest clue, to tell you the truth. At all."
Paul says he never got to talk to the board, just submitted an application to the property managers.
Paul Hurtado: "I skate as much as I can."
He wonders if he was rejected because the property manager didn't like the tattoos on his arm when he turned in the application, tattoos that read, "Skateboarding for life." But the board has certainly thrown a wrench into his life.
Paul Hurtado: "We were supposed to close tomorrow, which is my birthday, so I thought this would be a good gift for my birthday to move in."
Well, Howard, a board is blocking a person from buying a townhouse and refusing to tell him why. Is that legal?
Howard Finkelstein: "It's legal, but the board needs to be careful. They can refuse to let a person buy a property and not tell them why they are refusing, but it has to be for a valid legal reason, such as a criminal history or bad credit. Any other reason could get the board in legal trouble."
I first spoke to the property manager for Village of Woodland Lakes. She told me she could not talk to me, that I needed to talk to the board. When I asked their names, she told me to go look it up.
I did try to get in touch with three board members, but no one responded. Finally, I spoke to the board's attorney, who said he did not know why the board rejected Paul's application to move in, telling me, "I just send out the letter."
Howard Finkelstein: "Both Paul and the seller can sue the board. In fact, the seller may have a better lawsuit, because if the board refuses to allow the sale for a non-valid legal reason, they have to either provide another buyer or buy it themselves. If not, the lawsuits against them will begin."
Paul won't get this townhouse, but there will be another one.
Paul Hurtado: "Move on, so I can actually start my life again."
We did find a Paul Hurtado who was sued by an association in the year 2000, but that wasn't Paul. He was 15 at the time. Hopefully the board didn't use that for their decision, but the only way to find out why he was rejected is if Paul or the seller finds an attorney to sue the association. Then the answer will come out.
Blocked from fixing a problem you have acquired? Wanna buy some peace of mind? Contact us. We can't promise associating with us will bring a solution, but we can promise we won't keep the decision a secret.
With this Help Me Howard, I'm Patrick Fraser, 7News.
Contact Help Me Howard: