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Court reverses restriction on man’s blogging about his condo association, management company and neighbors

From today’s opinion of the Florida Court of Appeal in Fox v. Hamptons at Metrowest Condominium Association Inc., which strikes me as generally quite right:   Read the article……………

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The Resurrection of Civility – Take Back Your Community Association Board

In June, I addressed the Death of Civility – Why Community Association Board Members Serve – in part one of this series. I left you with a dysfunctional collection of community association board members, and the promise of a next

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A Guide to Avoid Criminal Charges as a Condominium Director in Florida

Yeah. This a bit tongue and cheek, but the fact of the matter is that Florida law governing condominiums has changed. Earlier this year, the Miami-Dade Grand Jury filed a report about the status of condominium association governance and the

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Is Your Master Community Association Actually a Condominium Association Under Florida Law?

The evolution of planned development communities within the State of Florida has been quite fascinating. Nowadays, the development of massive communities with abundant and extravagant amenities, numerous planned phases and multiple overlapping associations is common. Some communities have multi-condominium associations;

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Review of New Legislation Continues – Part 3 (FL)

Today’s column is the third installment of our annual review of community association legislation. In the first two installments, we covered the requirements for “estoppel certificates.” Today, we will look at House Bill 1237, which contains some significant changes. HB

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Review of new legislation continues(FL)

Last week, we began our annual review of legislation affecting Florida’s community associations. This week we continue our review of SB 398, the new law regarding “estoppel certificates,” the form associations have to complete for unit or parcel closings.  An

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Use of Drones by Homeowner Gets Tempers Soaring at Florida HOA Community

The use of drones by owners and residents of units in HOA and condominium communities has created concerns across the country over potential privacy and safety issues for community association managers and their boards of directors. Sales of drones to

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Estoppel Bill Approved by Governor and Remaining Community Association Bills Presented to the Governor (FL)

Yesterday, the Governor approved SB 398, Relating to Estoppel Certificates. The effective date of the new law is July 1, 2017. If you would like to hear more about the estoppel bill, please watch the video or read the summary

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HOA Blog Part V: Distinguishing Between Condo and HOA Fees, Fines, and Penalties (FL)

Back in Part 1 of this series, we noted that subtle distinctions exist between the rules regulating condominiums versus rules regulating homeowner’s associations. And, in keeping with that subtly, much of what has been discussed in Parts 2, 3, and

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The Recipe for Better Association Board Meetings

Let’s face it: community association board meetings can be difficult to get through. Bring a room full of volunteers together and you’re likely to get as many opinions as occupants in the room. It’s usually not a recipe for a

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When Express Maintenance Obligations In A Declaration Of Condominium Are Not So Clear (FL)

For example, let’s examine the replacement of the unit’s windows. Pursuant to the maintenance obligations in the declaration of condominium, the unit owner is responsible to maintain, repair, and replace all parts of the unit and the fixtures and equipment

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Review of New Legislature Continues (FL)

Last week, we began our annual review of legislation affecting Florida’s community associations. This week we continue our review of SB 398, the new law regarding “estoppel certificates,” the form associations have to complete for unit or parcel closings.  An

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What is the role of a CPA in a Homeowners Association (HOA) ?

Both board members and homeowners have an interest in the money end of an HOA’s business. After all, it’s the owners who have to pay higher fees when the homeowners association goes over budget. And it’s the Board who is

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Negligent Security Claims: Reducing Liability for Associations (FL)

In recent years, Condominium and Homeowner’s Associations have become a target for negligent security lawsuits and claims. Typically, a resident or guest of an Association is a victim of a violent crime and the crime victim later sues the Association.

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Appeals court rules construction defendants not liable in Miami injury case (FL)

The 3rd District Court of Appeal has affirmed lower court rulings of five summary judgments in cases in which a woman alleges she was injured at a condo community due to negligence in repairing the sidewalk.  The case centers on

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Poor Communication Causes Most Problems For HOAs in Florida

Most interpersonal issues stem from miscommunication. This is especially true in the business world – communication is the bedrock of every successful relationship.  The same basic principles apply to the management of a property you own. Maintaining clear lines of

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Community Association 2017 Legislative Guide: Part II (FL)

Since we published Community Association 2017 Legislative Guide: Part I, several bills affecting community associations were signed into law, including Senate Bill 398 (estoppel bill) and House Bill 1237 (condominium crime bill). Citing London’s Grenfell Tower fire, Governor Scott vetoed

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ELSS Bill Vetoed, Condominium Bill Approved, & Final Report on Community Association Bills for 2017 Session (FL)

Governor Rick Scott has now taken action on all of the community association bills that passed during the 2017 legislative session.   Read the article……………

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Daily Business Review on Veto of Condominium Fire Sprinklers Bill

Pointing to a high-rise fire in London that killed dozens of residents, Gov. Rick Scott vetoed a bill that would have eased fire-protection requirements for older condominium buildings in Florida.  House Bill 653, which passed the Legislature with only one

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HOA’s: Your Restrictions Have an Expiration Date (FL)

With the turnover of volunteer homeowner’s association (“HOA”) board members over time, it is not surprising that certain important long-term issues may be overlooked. There is one very important law, however, which board members may not be aware of that

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Changes to Financial Reporting Requirements for Associations (FL)

On June 23, 2017, Governor Scott approved House Bill 6027, which provides substantively identical changes to the annual financial reporting requirements for condominium, cooperative, and homeowners’ associations.    Read the article………….

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Suspensions of Residents’ Use of Community Amenities Help Associations to Maintain Compliance (FL)

Florida community associations are always seeking to implement the most cost-effective options at their disposal to collect unpaid dues and compel unit owners/residents to comply with their rules and restrictions. Condominium associations used to have very few practical remedies at

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Florida’s Seldom Used 3-Day Right of Recission

If you are a roofer, you are likely no stranger to the concept of providing materials and services over the course of several days; however, you are much less likely familiar with the custom of providing clients notice of a

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Legislative Update: Association Fraud, Financial Reporting Bills Signed Into Law (FL)

House Bill 6027 was signed by Governor Rick Scott. The Bill makes changes to the financial reporting requirements of Florida condominiums, homeowners’ associations, and cooperatives, and will be effective as of July 1, 2017. The Bill may be summarized as

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Ten Things Property Managers Wish Owners Knew

We are human too. Property managers really do want to help you resolve issues. Profanity and shouting are counterproductive. We cannot enforce rules that are not in your documents.       Read the entire list……………

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Going Too Far Down the Rabbit Hole: How Our National Political Discourse Parallels Our Community Association Discourse

It’s hard right now to turn away from the 24/7 news cycle and its discord, rancor and heated rhetoric. When we spend the majority of our time discussing just 20% of the topics which concern us, we cannot commit time

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Community Associations: New Estoppel Rules (FL)

Beginning July 1, 2017, Florida community associations will have to comply with more burdensome estoppel requirements.  The 2017 Florida legislature just recently passed a new law that will require associations to comply with a request for an estoppel certificate within

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Legislative Update: Condominium Terminations Bill Signed Into Law (FL)

Senate Bill 1520 was signed by Governor Rick Scott on June 16, 2017. The following is a summary of the bill, which will take effect on July 1, 2017:  SB 1520 amends 718.117, Florida Statutes, regarding the optional termination of

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HOA Use of Drones Has Some Residents Alarmed

Recently, the residents of the Concord Station community north of Tampa in Land O’Lakes, Fla. 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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Board Meetings: How They Should Be Conducted

Today’s blog is about notice, quorum, the right to record meetings, handling disruptive attendees and meeting minutes.  Notice Requirements:  The notice requirements for a meeting are contained in the Florida Statute. The Florida Statutes provide default notice procedures, more stringent

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How to Avoid the Difficult Aspects of Living in an HOA

Roughly 66 million Americans live in common interest communities such as Homeowners’ Associations, Condominium Associations, retirement communities, vacation timeshares, and gated subdivisions. When a common interest community, such as a gated subdivision, is built, the develop is in control of

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Insurance Reminders for Condo Associations at Start of Hurricane Season (FL)

With hurricane season now underway, Florida condominium associations should take the time to ensure that they and their owners are prepared for a storm. In addition to ensuring that hurricane shutters are operational and all of the necessary supplies are

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Legislative Update: New Laws Affecting Florida Community Associations

When a bill passes the Florida Legislature and is sent to the Governor for consideration, the Governor has 15 days from which to sign the bill into law, veto it, or do neither (in which case the bill will automatically

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Don’t estoppel believing: Now it’s a law

After years of unsuccessfully fighting its way through the Legislature, the estoppel bill is now law.  Gov. Rick Scott Tuesday signed the measure (SB 398), which overhauls the legal process of estoppel letters. It goes into effect July 1.  “We

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Water Shortage Restrictions Override Deed Restrictions (FL)

Homeowners associations may not require lot owners to pressure wash their homes, or to water or replace their lawns while there are water shortage restrictions in effect.   Read the article…………..

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Maintenance, Repair and Replacement Responsibility Within Your Condominium Association

Damage to condominium property and the inevitable ensuing argument over the party responsible for the cost of repair is a familiar scenario for many association members. Unit owners, board members and association managers are often unsure of which entity is

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The Law: Basics surrounding HOA election challenges

Few things generate more animosity and drama within a homeowners association than contested board-of-director elections.  This tension might result in residents seeking legal action against the HOA in the form of an election contest. Sadly, most HOA residents have zero

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Cape Coral Condominiums: Old Building Permit Requirement with a New Twist (FL)

The Cape Coral Building Department has had a rule on the books requiring owners of residential condominiums in Cape Coral to have a letter from their association before pulling a permit to do work in condominium common areas.   You

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The Death of Civility – Why Do Community Association Board Members Serve?

I have been to a number of community association meetings in the past year, and too many of them were contentious, confrontational, loud, rude and generally ugly. I have written a number of Codes of Conduct for adoption by boards

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Be Prepared for Florida’s 2017 Hurricane Season

Florida hurricane season is underway and residents of the Sunshine State may be in for more storms than usual. State officials are warning Floridians to be prepared, noting that Tropical Storm Arlene’s April appearance may be a harbinger.  According to

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Community Association 2017 Legislative Guide: Part I (FL)

The Florida legislature passed several community association related bills this legislative session that are set to become law on July 1, 2017, unless vetoed by Florida’s Governor Scott. This is the first of a three-part series summarizing those bills.  

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What’s in Your Wallet? Why HOA Boards Can’t Take Liability Insurance Lightly.

A Homeowner’s Association (HOA) is made up of a group of volunteer homeowners. It’s often a thankless task, where the only guaranteed reward is knowing they’ve helped maintain and improve the value of their neighborhood. The last thing your volunteer

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Injunction Against Condo Owner Illustrates Just How Ugly Things Can Get

The old adage “don’t let one bad apple spoil the bunch” definitely applies in community association living. Unfortunately, conflicts between boards of directors and recalcitrant unit owners are par for the course in associations, so it is incumbent on the

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Summary of HB 653, Impacting Condominiums, Cooperatives, and Homeowners’ Associations (FL)

HB 653 (SB 744), sponsored by Representative Moraitis, passed the Florida Legislature but as of today, it has not yet been sent to the Governor for consideration. When a bill is sent to the Governor, he has fifteen (15) days

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Prepare Your Landscape For The Upcoming Summer and Hurricane Season

With summer ahead, it’s time to prepare for the heat, storms and humidity that occur in south Florida. It is time to prepare for the hurricane season. It is important that along with your personal and home safety, you also

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“What’s in a Name?” Quite a bit, particularly for Association Board Members who have been Defamed

When Shakespeare coined the phrase “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” in Hamlet, he probably wasn’t envisioning that sentiment could apply centuries later to volunteer board members. However, the Bard was opining that bad things can happen to a

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The 2017 Fla. Legislature Returns To CondoLand

Once again, after a one-year hiatus, the Florida Legislature has produced several condominium bills. Typically, the Legislature passes a single condominium bill into which other approved bills have been merged. This year, perhaps to make up for the failure to

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Condo board members not personally liable for bad decision

Q: Our condo is having some work done, and the job will cost substantially more than what the board told us. Now it looks like there will be another special assessment to cover the additional costs. I think the board

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Community Association Board Members Can be Considered Limited Purpose Public Figures in Defamation Cases

There is a growing body of case law around the country which would make it more difficult for an allegedly defamed community association board member to successfully pursue his or her day in court. Is a community association board member

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Cable TV, Internet, Phone Services Coax, Fiber Optics and More – There are New Opportunities for Community Associations!

In the past, local telephone companies provided telephone services and local cable companies provided cable television services. That was it. For an association, selecting a service provider was relatively easy since quality choices were few. But in recent years, this

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