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Background Check

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To make ends meet she rents a room to men who have been cleared by the FBI and Homeland Security to work at a nuclear power plant, but that's not good enough for her mobile home park who wants her to pay for them to do the check. Can they make you do what she calls silly? Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser has the answer.

WSVN -- There is no doubt which part of the country Mary Sellers is from.

Mary Sellers: "I love country music. I got started karaoke when I first got down here and when I go out, I have on a shirt like this, a pair of shorts, a pair of boots and a hat."

The Southern girl has a great attitude and likes to have fun but like many people, struggles do get by.

Mary Sellers: "I live on social security. If I didn't have these guys once in a while, it was my Turkey Point people I knew that paid my bill for last year."

The guys she refers to are brought in by Florida Power Light to do repairs and maintenance at the Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant. Since Mary cooks and cleans their clothes when they are in town. They like to stay in her spare bedroom.

Mary Sellers: "All they're looking for is somewhere to sleep and take a bath and know their stuff is going to be OK when they get home."

The men work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week when they are in town but then Marys mobile home park manager told her she had to pay $75 for them to do a background check on the workers.

Mary Sellers: "It does not cost $75 to do a background check on anybody."

And Mary says a background check by the park is a waste of her money, since the men working at the nuclear power plant have passed a much more thorough background check than the trailer park can do.

Mary Sellers: "They have been cleared by FBI and Homeland Security. What is the beef? What is the problem?"

Not only that but the men also pass a psychological evaluation and a drug test before being allowed to work at Turkey Point, but the trailer park didn't budge and also wanted Mary to fill out an application every time one of the men came into town.

Mary Sellers: "And sent me an application for a married couple. I'm not in a relationship with any of these guys, they just stay with me when they come down here to work at Turkey Point the Nuclear Plant."

Well Howard, can an association force you to fill out an application and pay a fee to do a background check on a temporary tenant that has already been cleared by the FBI and Homeland Security?

Howard Finkelstein: "Yes. It makes no sense of course, but the legislature lets condo, mobile home parks and homeowner association do a background check on a renter or buyer. However, the law does not require the background check and the association can waive it. Especially when someone has been cleared by the federal government to work at a nuclear power plant."

We spoke to the manager of Silver Palms Place in Homestead. She told us that Mary is making up her own rules and needs to follow the rule that says every person needs a background check.

When we mentioned that the men had been cleared by the FBI and Homeland Security, she said they don't care about the FBI check. They need to be approved by us.

Howard Finkelstein: "Mary didn't know she would fall on hard times and have to rent a room to get by and that's why it's important to read your associations documents so you aren't surprised by their decisions."

Mary Sellers: "I do all the Southern cooking."

Marys home is empty again, the workers have moved on their next job. She will find a way to deal with her association, because she knows, another worker will come along soon.

Mary Sellers: "My guys say it's like going to grannies house and that just makes me feel good because when they come, I give them a key, we sit down, talk about it, their menu, what they like, what they don't like and I usually keep snacks."

Property managers and associations have a lot of power, so when it's a good group, it's a good thing and a bad thing when it's a bad group. If you live under a bad group, get on the board to try to straighten them out. If you can't, don't hesitate. Move. Life is too short for those headaches.

Troubles got you going nuclear? Ready to power things down? Contact us. We will do our own background search and hopefully uncover your solution.

With this Help Me Howard, I'm Patrick Fraser, 7News

CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:

E-mail: helpmehoward@wsvn.com (please include your contact phone number when e-mailing)

Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com

Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN

Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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