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Are You Ready for MaryJane

As community associations grapple with approving and enforcing rules and regulations, there is a new issue to consider. The use of cannabis in states where it is legal for medical or recreational use must be addressed. I am not qualified

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Community Association Boards Should Spread the Load by Relying on Committees

Community association board members are asked to do a great deal for the communities they serve. They give up a great deal of their time and lend their varying expertise to help their communities run as smoothly and effectively as

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Why Homeowner Associations Need to Know About MRTA (FL)

Florida Statute, Section 712.01, et. seq., more commonly known by the acronym MRTA (Marketable Record Title Act), is an important act for homeowner associations.  All board members of a homeowners association should be aware of MRTA and how it may

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The Legality of Post-Bankruptcy Condo or Homeowner Association Assessments

A recent bankruptcy case illustrates how bankruptcy affects condominium or homeowner’s association assessments. The Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida ruled that a condominium association was not in contempt when it attempted to collect post-bankruptcy assessments from debtors

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Understanding Special Assessments

There’s no way to sugar-coat it: everyone hates special assessments. Getting a notice that you owe more money to the association can not only put a damper on your day but also a dent in your wallet, both of which

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Reaching Others When Disasters Strike

The first thing many of us do during or immediately following a natural disaster is to call family and friends. Unfortunately, in the minutes and hours after a disaster, overloaded cell phone networks can make it difficult—if not impossible—to reach

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Does your Community Association have sufficient protections in place for Short-Term Vacation Rentals?

With the rise in short-term rentals through popular sites like Airbnb, Inc. and Vacation Rentals by Owner (VRBO), homeowners and condominium associations face new challenges in policing owners who violate restrictions against short-term leasing. This is especially true in Florida

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Community Association Reserve Funding: Pooled Method vs. Component Method

Reserve funding for certain common element items is required for community associations under Florida law. Specifically, condominium associations must fund reserves for roof replacement, building painting, pavement resurfacing and any other item that has a maintenance expense or replacement cost

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The Role of the Community Association in Neighbor vs Neighbor Disputes

Neighbor vs neighbor disputes are frequently a part of life in community associations. Common examples may include an owner allowing his dog to use his neighbor’s yard or an owner dumping trash on his neighbor’s yard. Although they may initially

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Through A Condo Owner’s Looking Glass – A Shade Of Green – Or Is That Gray?

In an action applying Florida law, a federal district judge ruled in favor of a Directors and Officers liability insurer, finding that the “insured versus insured” exclusion applied to bar both a defense and coverage of an underlying action. In

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Selective Enforcement and Violations When Installing Hardwood Floors (FL)

Earlier this year the Third District Court of Appeals narrowed two significant unit owner defenses to enforcement actions, selective enforcement and waiver/ estoppel when it decided Laguna Tropical, a Condominium Association, Inc. v. Barnave, Case No. 3D16–1531 (Fla. 3d DCA

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Residents of Florida HOA Speak Out Against Association’s Use of Drones

The residents of the Concord Station community north of Tampa in Land O’Lakes, Fla. recently shared their complaints and confusion with a reporter from one of their local television stations over their HOA’s use of a drone equipped with a

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What Community Associations Should Know About the Fair Housing Act

Community association board members and managers are often so preoccupied ensuring compliance with state and local laws that they can sometimes overlook controlling federal law. Multiple federal statutory acts can apply to community associations in any given situation and overlooking

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2017 Proposed Legislation Regarding Florida Statutes, Chapter 718 (FL)

In recent legislation, Senate Bills 1258 and 1682 and House Bills 1001 and 1237 seek to amend Florida Statutes, Chapter 718.  Senate Bill 1258 and House Bill 1001 seek to fine directors who knowingly violate any Association bylaw or statutes.

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Community Association Remedies When Tenants Ignore Rent Demands (FL)

After the crash of the real estate market and the subsequent foreclosure crisis, many homeowners who found themselves with properties under water capitalized on the ability to rent those properties while not paying their mortgage or community assessments. Florida’s legislature

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Construction Defects and Insurance Coverage: When Is the Duty to Defend Triggered?

In Florida, an insurance company may have a duty to defend and/or indemnify its insured. The insurance company’s duty to defend its insured (as in defending the insured in a lawsuit) is broader than its duty to indemnify (as in

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Fining Procedures Confound Condominium & Cooperative Boards in Florida

Question: Our association tried to fine an owner who violated our rules, but decided the process was too complicated. Can you provide a step-by-step outline of how fines are issued and collected?   Read the Q&A…………..

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You Can’t Touch This!

I was recently in a drugstore attempting to check-out, and I was verbally accosted by an owner because of her dissatisfaction with the association’s holiday lighting! She began shouting that I was to “go over there, and buy those icicle

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Why Stopping (FL) SB 398 Should Be a Bigger Priority for Community Associations

Each year, our elected state representatives and senators meet in Tallahassee for a legislative session where they review and debate an extensive amount of proposed bills, only to send a few of those bills to the governor to be signed

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Part III of the Breaking Up Series: Leaving the Past Behind You

n this final installment of my Breaking Up series, I want to talk about what a new board needs to do to get out from under the legacy left behind from an old board, particularly when that legacy is not

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Airbnb Gone Wild? Decision Clarifies Rules on Short-Term Condo Rentals

The ruling came from the Florida Second District Court of Appeal in the case of Le Scampi Condominium Association v. Hall. Le Scampi had petitioned the lower court for injunctive relief against the unit owners to prevent them from leasing

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When Does the Americans With Disabilities Act Apply to Community Associations?

Community association board members and managers are often so preoccupied ensuring compliance with state and local laws that they can sometimes overlook controlling federal law. Multiple federal statutory acts can apply to community associations in any given situation and overlooking

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Selective Enforcement: Common Sense Prevails

As often happens when a community association enforces its covenants and rules and regulations against an owner, the owner responds to the association saying, “The house down the street is in violation with the rules and regulations, too! Why aren’t

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20 Mar Community Association Law: Can You Turn Down an Applicant for Sale or Lease? (FL)

Your community association’s Governing Documents provide the association with the right to review and approve sales and rentals; and to charge a transfer fee to cover the costs of processing the transaction. You have an application form and you pay

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CALL Alert for March 20, 2017 (FL)

Senator Rene Garcia and Representative Jose Felix “Pepi” Diaz filed SB 1682, Relating to Condominiums, and HB 1237, Relating to Condominiums, respectively, which include board member term limits and criminal penalties against volunteer board members for certain violations, including failure

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Association Deficits Don’t Excuse Developer From Funding HOA Reserves (FL)

For the developer of the Sullivan Ranch community in Mount Dora north of Orlando, it appears that its decision to stop funding reserves after it established the account and began funding it in 2007 has significantly backfired. The Fifth District

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Associations Need to Seek Ejectment Rather Than Eviction for Some “Tenants” (FL)

When the Condominium Act was amended several years ago to allow associations to demand and collect rent directly from the tenants of unit owners who were delinquent in the payment of their monthly fees, community associations thought it was an

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Florida Medical Marijuana Amendment’s Impact on Community Associations

With the approval of Amendment 2 last November to legalize the use of medical marijuana in Florida, the state legislature and Department of Health are now developing the rules and regulations that will govern the use of cannabis by those

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Disputed Condo Election Offers Important Lessons for Association Boards

Allegations of questionable or even downright fraudulent tactics by candidates in annual association elections are not entirely uncommon. When suspicious activities begin to call into question the integrity of the election, some boards of directors hit the panic button and

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Florida Community Associations Responding to Soaring Popularity of Drones

The growing use of drones by consumers across the U.S. is leading to the adoption of new rules and restrictions by the federal government, state governments and community associations. Questions regarding safety, property damage and privacy abound with drones, and

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Rulings Clarify Application of Safe Harbor Caps on Association Dues” (FL)

In Brittany’s Place Condominium Association v. U.S. Bank, the Second District Court of Appeal settled some lingering questions as to whether a lender or servicer that takes title to a residence via a mortgage foreclosure must also be the current

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Senate Bill Seeks to Criminalize Certain Violations of the Condominium Act (FL)

Florida’s 2017 legislative session is well under way and we are already seeing a slew of bills directed at community associations. One bill in particular should alarm anyone working with or serving on a condominium association board of directors. Senate

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Two’s Company, but Three’s a Crowd: A Third Parties Right to Intervene in a Foreclosure Lawsuit

Are subsequent title holders who obtain an interest in real property during the pendency of a foreclosure lawsuit where a lis pendens has been properly recorded (referred to as a “Purchaser Pendente Lite”), entitled to join in the lawsuit to

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Condominium Association Parking Restrictions and Enforcement

One of the most common problem areas for condominium associations and their property management is parking. Spaces are at a premium in most communities, and issues arise when unit owners and tenants fail to park in their designated spots. Associations

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FL Associations Beware: Governor Signs Law Today which Shortens Screening Time for Members of the Military!

SB 184 was signed by Governor Rick Scott of FL today. The new law which amends Section 83.683, F.S. will take effect on July 1st and will apply to condominiums, cooperatives, HOAs and landlords.  The new requires an association to

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Restrictive Endorsement (FL)

Restrictive endorsements when coupled with payment are still applicable to associations.  As many may remember, The Florida Legislature amended Florida Statutes §718.116 and §720.3085 to include language relating to the applicability of restrictive endorsements, designations or instruction accompanying payments made

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How to Avoid Becoming a Money Laundry

Boards have tools to keep unsavory buyers out of their buildings.  In response to an influx of Limited Liability Companies – also known as LLC’s, or shell companies – paying cash for pricey apartments in New York City, the U.S.

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Condominiums May Still Need to Install Engineered Life Safety System After Opting Out of Fire Sprinkler Retrofit

As our regular readers are aware from our previous posts on the subject, there are many questions Florida condominium associations face in determining whether their buildings must be retrofitted with a fire sprinkler system or Engineered Life Safety System (“ELSS”).

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A Lawn is an Arrogant Thing

witnessed my neighbor the other day, replacing some of his lawn with AstroTurf.  Got me thinking.  A lawn is an arrogant thing, isn’t it? I know; I’m a weirdo for thinking this way. I should strive for a lush, beautiful

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Limitations on Community Association Approval or Denial of Service Member Rental Applications (FL)

Effective July 1, 2016, § 83.683, Florida Statutes, requires landlords, condominium associations, cooperative associations and homeowners associations to process rental applications submitted by service members within seven days of submission. Within that seven day period, the landlord or association must

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The Unenforceable: When a Rule is Not a Rule

One Monday morning, I arrived at the office of one of our managed properties, and I was greeted by a visibly upset board president. Steeling myself for what was the source of her dissatisfaction, I asked “what is the matter?”

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Breaking up is hard to do: PART I- How to Navigate Management Company Transitions

Hopefully, most of us enter into relationships with the expectation that they will last. However, for those of us past adolescence, we realize that even long-term relationships can end and, even when they were good for a long time, the

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Court Narrows Defenses in Covenant Enforcement Action (FL)

When faced with an enforcement action by a community association, owners often argue the association is selectively enforcing the covenants. Some also argue the association waived its right to enforce because the association knew about the violation for a substantial

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The Impact of Legalization of Medical Marijuana on Your Florida Community Association

This past November, Amendment 2 legalizing the use of medical marijuana was approved by Florida voters. The rules governing medical marijuana have not yet been passed by the State Legislature and the Department of Health; however, it is likely to

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Grand Jury Calls for Criminal Charges to Rein in ‘Wild West’ of Condo Boards

The question isn’t whether there’s fraud and abuse among some of the boards, according to the grand jury report, which cites thousands of annual reports of alleged wrongdoing to Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation. The question is how

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Association Deficits Don’t Excuse Developer From Funding HOA Reserves

Developers must establish and fund reserve accounts for their projects during the initial years while they retain control of the homeowner associations. However, there are various legal and bookkeeping maneuvers that they often employ to attempt to avoid or diminish

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Why the Florida Legislature Needs to Fix Condo Sprinkler-System Problem

For more than a decade older high-rise condominiums throughout Florida have been discussing, debating, and exercising their legal rights with regard to sprinkler system retrofitting requirements. In 2003, the Florida Legislature responded by allowing each community to vote to opt

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Turnover: Transitional Considerations for the HOA

Part one of this blog discussed turnover in its initial stages: the events that trigger turnover and the files and papers the developer is required to produce to the homeowners’ association at the time of turnover. Once an association has

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How to Get the Vote

Your association’s board has worked for six months to amend and restate the association’s governing documents, including the declaration, articles of incorporation, bylaws, and even the rules and regulations. The board has met with the association’s lawyer on several occasions,

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Appeals court decides Centex must pay into HOA reserve (FL)

The 5th District Court of Appeal recently decided in favor of a pair of homeowners representing themselves in a case against their homeowner association at Sullivan Ranch.  According to a report by the Orlando Sentinel, Sara MacKenzie, who had only

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