United States District Court, S.D. Florida
ORDER ON SUMMARY JUDGMENT
BLOOM, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
CAUSE is before the Court upon Defendants Pompano
Place Condominium Association, Inc., Normand Poirier, and
Linda Pigeon's (“Defendants”) Motion for
Summary Judgment, ECF No.  (the “Motion”).
The Court has carefully considered the Motion, all supporting
and opposing filings, the relevant authorities, and is
otherwise duly advised. For the reasons that follow,
Defendants' Motion is denied.
Plaintiffs' Claims in the Amended Complaint
Guy Pepin, Annie Pepin, Lars Andersson, Leilia Andersson, and
Jarl Hansson (“Plaintiffs”) have sued Defendants
for violations of the Fair Housing Act (“FHA”),
specifically for a denial of housing under 42 U.S.C. §
3604. See ECF No. . Guy Pepin (“Mr.
Pepin”), as the owner of Unit 201 in Pompano Place
Condominium (“Pompano Place”), and Annie Pepin
(“Ms. Pepin”), as the owner of Unit 101, allege
that their buyers, Lars Andersson (“Mr.
Andersson”) and Leilia Andersson (“Ms.
Andersson”) and Hyndi Khomutetsky, were denied housing
and were discriminated against in violation of the FHA
because they are not French Canadian. Id. Count I
alleges a claim by Mr. Pepin against Defendants for their
denial of a dwelling to a non-French Canadian buyer, which
deprived him of the ability to sell Unit 201. Id. at
¶¶ 30-34. On behalf of Ms. Pepin, Count II alleges
the same claim as to her inability to sell Unit 101 to a
non-French Canadian buyer. Id. at ¶¶
35-39. Counts III and IV assert claims on behalf of Mr.
Andersson and Ms. Andersson respectively for Defendants'
alleged denial of a dwelling to them on the basis that they
are not French Canadian. Id. at ¶¶ 40-49.
Within Count V, Jarl Hansson (“Mr. Hansson”), in
his capacity as the Andersson's real estate agent,
alleges that his clients were denied housing because of their
language or nationality. Id. at ¶¶ 50-54.
Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on all claims
asserted in the Amended Complaint. See ECF Nos. 
and . Plaintiffs' timely Response and Defendants'
timely Reply followed. See ECF Nos. , , 
and . The Motion is now ripe for review.
The Condominium Association
Place is a twenty-four unit condominium property located at
221 S.E. 9th Avenue in Pompano Beach, Florida. See
ECF No.  at ¶ 1. Defendant Pompano Place Condominium
Association, Inc. (the “Association”) administers
and governs the property known as Pompano Place. Id.
at ¶ 2. Defendant Normand Poirier (“Mr.
Poirier”) served as the president of the Association
and as a board member since October of 2015 while Defendant
Linda Pigeon (“Ms. Pigeon”) served as the
secretary-treasurer and also as a board member since May of
2015. Id. at ¶¶ 3-4. Non-party Steve
Lambert was the vice president of the Association and served
as a board member since May of 2015. Id. at ¶
5. Mr. Pepin served as the Association's vice president
from 1994 to 1995 and as the Association's president and
board member from May 23, 2015 to October 2, 2015.
Id. at ¶¶ 6-7. Each member of the
Association's board of directors has equal voting power.
Id. at ¶ 8.
1.1 of the Declaration of Condominium
(“Declaration”) provides: “No Condominium
Unit Owner may dispose of a Unit or any interest therein by
sale without approval of the Association.” Id.
at ¶ 9. The purpose of this prior approval requirement
is “[t]o maintain a community of congenial residents
who are financially responsible and thus protect the value of
the Condominium Units, and to insure the financial ability of
each Unit Owner to pay assessments made against
[them].” Id. at ¶ 10. The Declaration
further requires that any “unit owner intending to make
a bona fide sale of his condominium unit or any interest in
it shall give the Association notice of his intention,
together with an executed copy of the proposed contract with
the name and address of the intended purchaser, the price,
terms and conditions, if any.” Id. at ¶
11. Within fifteen days of receiving such a notice and the
required information, the Association must either approve or
disapprove the proposed transaction. Id. at ¶
12. If the Association fails to comply with this timeline,
the application “shall be deemed to have been
granted.” Id. at ¶ 13.
21, 2016, the Association held an annual meeting with its
members during which a new sale approval process was adopted.
Id. at ¶ 14. This new process required a credit
and criminal background check of prospective buyers.
Id. at ¶ 15. Prior to the adoption of this new
approval process, the Association relied upon a word-of-mouth
system based upon the board members' personal knowledge
of the potential buyer. Id. at ¶ 16. The
long-standing word-of-mouth policy resulted in a community of
all French-speaking unit owners, except for one owner who
took over the unit after his parents, Donat and Francoise
Dumont, passed away. ECF No.  at ¶ 17. This system,
however, was not working well because the Canadian dollar
began declining in value in 2015 with an almost 40 percent
difference in the exchange rate and because the Association
was concerned it would be “under water” if one or
two members did not pay their dues. See ECF No. 
at ¶ 16; ECF No.  at ¶ 17.
The Alleged Discrimination
Pepin is the owner of Pompano Place Unit 101 (“Unit
101”) while Mr. Pepin is the owner of Pompano Place
Unit 201 (“201”). See ECF No.  at
¶¶ 23-24. On August 14, 2016, Mr. Pepin entered
into a contract for the sale and purchase of Unit 201 with
buyer Hyndi Khomutetsky. See ECF No.  at ¶
25. Ms. Khomutetsky lives in the United States, is not French
Canadian and does not speak French Canadian fluently.
See ECF No.  at ¶ 25. On the following day,
Ms. Pepin entered into a contract for the sale and purchase
of Unit 101 with Mr. and Ms. Andersson, who are Swedish, and
were represented by Mr. Hansson, a real estate agent.
See ECF No.  at ¶ 26; ECF No.  at
¶ 26. The proposed sale of Units 101 and 201 were
submitted to the Association for its approval, including
authorization for a credit and criminal background check of
the interested buyers. See ECF No.  at ¶
27. Prior to the proposed sale of these two units, the
Association had not required that other buyers submit to
these background checks as these procedures were recently
adopted in May of 2016. Id. at ¶ 28. The
Association employed Scott-Roberts and Associates LLC
(“Scott-Roberts”) to perform the background
checks on the potential buyers, but on September 12, 2016,
Scott Roberts declined to provide the requested information
because the Association did not maintain a “standalone
office.” Id. at ¶¶ 29-30. On
September 13, 2016, the Association informed Ms. Pepin that
her request to approve the sale of Unit 101 was denied and
informed Mr. Pepin that his request to approve the sale of
Unit 201 was also denied. Id. at ¶¶ 35-36.
By a vote of 2-1, the Association's board of directors
declined the requested approval. Id. at ¶
Mr. Poirier was the only board member who voted to approve
the sales. Id. at ¶ 34. After the Association
was unable to obtain credit and background information on
potential buyers from an independent source, it abandoned
this procedure because it would result in the refusal of
other future sales. Id. at ¶ 37. The
Association sent Mr. Pepin a letter advising him that all
future sales would be approved. See ECF No.  at
¶ 37. In an October 17, 2016 letter, the
Association informed Mr. Pepin of its willingness to approve
a buyer for Units 101 and 201 following a favorable interview
and explained that the prior refusal was the result of its
inability to obtain a timely credit and background check.
See ECF No.  at ¶ 38. This letter was sent
one week after Plaintiffs' counsel notified Pompano
Place's counsel that Plaintiffs were pursuing a claim for
FHA discrimination. See ECF No.  at ¶ 38.
on October 27, 2016, Mr. Pepin entered into a sale and
purchase agreement with Mr. and Ms. Andersson for Unit 201.
See ECF No.  at ¶ 39. On November 4, 2016,
Mr. Poirier sent an email to Mr. Andersson as follows:
If Pompano Place accept your buy and approved you in our
Association I ask you to remove all legal case against
Pompano Place. It's a minimum. If you don't remove
the legal case, all other owners of Pompano Place will
don't like you, and after ...