Saturday, March 12, 2011

Investigations by Ed Black Treasurer

We send Investigations to a vendor for Credit and Criminal Background Checks. Your By-laws provide the opportunity to check on each applicant and you, the Association, must pay a $ 100.00 investigation fee and sign the application engaging UCO’s vender to complete each application to be investigated. Florida Statue provides that that you may request a fee of $ 100.00 to cover this process from your Applicant, thereby reimbursing your costs up to the $ 100.00.

Each applicant (or married couple) must complete one of three types of application, covering all type transactions normally occurring here in the Village.
1. Rental/Occupancy – requiring only a criminal background check
2. Deed Transfer/Sales Contract requiring a Full Credit & Criminal both be checked.
3. Other Than an Individual (such as a Trust) – accompanied by a “personal Guarantee” form signed by the Signers of the “Trust”. Those signing will be financially responsible and also the “ones” to be subject to the Full investigation.

Each application is available with an instruction sheet covering just what is required to accompany the completed application to the Officer of your Association so you may initially decide whether this application is acceptable and should therefore be authorized by you to be investigated. Please do not take this agenda lightly, for the decision you make may well affect the capability to reject the applicant. Example, if the applicant has a pet, and you are a “No pet” Association, then you may well have grounds to reject without investigating. However once you investigate, how can you go back to the pre-investigation position of rejecting for what was an obvious deal breaker?

Each application you review should have:
1. all Pages signed by the single applicant or ‘both’ of the married couple.
2. Have questions of Occupancy - Bankruptcy – Pets – Crime – Civil Litigation answered.
3. Have proof of age – included.
4. Have proof of all incomes – included.
5. Have funds available showing the source of cash purchases.
6. Completed applications must be legible including the Social Security Numbers, etc.
Most of our Associations by-laws have been amended to provide for a 30-day period to complete and decide on each applicant. Failure to make a decision to reject will make approval “automatic” and this is so very much more important because some Associations have not amended their Documents to the 30 day period. This is a major concern because each Association has the opportunity to “request Attorney review” and be guided by that opinion when making their own decision. All Associations using UCO for investigations are acting under a precedent permitting each Association to seek a Legal Review by UCO’s Attorney without cost to your Association. More importantly – If your Association follows the opinion of council and you are later sued, UCO has a Reserve funding to cover your legal costs to defend your Association up to your deductible of $ 5,000.00.

Please remember, each decision is yours to make, neither UCO nor the attorney review is intended to substitute for your decision making process.

When our vendor has completed the investigation, our investigation team will call officers in your Association to make the completed report available for your pick-up and subsequent Board review. We will review the findings and help you to understand the details, however all decisions rest with your Board of Directors, and no one else.

One last concern, please. This process was established and reviewed 4 times over the past 15 years. Each and every step was developed to provide greater insight into the applicants qualifications for you the Association, helping your decision making process. If you wish to waive any of the steps/requirements for minimum incomes, etc, please remember you may have just established a precedent that could restrict your future procedures or place your Association at risk for being sued based on the act of selective enforcement. We of the investigation team are not attorneys, and we encourage you to seek advice from your attorney to answer any questions that you may have.

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