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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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Community Associations and the Second Amendment

The Second Amendment to the United States’ Constitution guarantees individuals the right to keep and bear arms. The Florida constitution contains a similar guarantee. With few exceptions, Florida law allows licensed individuals to carry concealed firearms in most public locations.

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Planning for Special Needs Children

Many families in our community have children or loved ones with developmental disabilities or special needs. Families often assume that they can continue to care for their loved ones in perpetuity. The reality is that once a child turns 18

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What Condominium Owners Should Know About Developer Turnover of the Association: Part II

During the construction and initial sales of units within a condominium association, the developer will manage the association’s operations and governance. This means the developer controls the association’s board of directors. Once the development is constructed and a certain percentage

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Attention Boards: your two favorite menaces have combined: Airbnb and Pets!

Whether I am giving a presentation to hundreds of people, teaching a class to dozens of managers or meeting privately with a board of directors, the two issues that have come up without fail over the last few months are:

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What Impact Will Medical Marijuana Amendment to Florida’s Constitution Have on Community Associations?

Many states have placed the legalization of medical marijuana on their ballots in recent years and Florida is no different. A measure legalizing medical marijuana failed in Florida in 2014, gaining only fifty-eight (58%) percent of the vote. However, this

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What Happens When You Don’t Follow HOA Rules?

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, we learned what it means to live in a common interest community, generally, and what documents are used to establish the community – looking specifically at homeowners association controlled communities (“HOAs”).

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What Restrictions Exist in a HOA?

In part one of the series, we answered what it means to live in a neighborhood association. Basically, it means that you live in a distinct area and that area, along with each of the property owners within it, are

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What Does it Means to Live in a HOA?

It happens more than you might think. Home buyers get excited about purchasing a home in a surprisingly well manicured community. They later discover, upon receipt of the bill for their assessments, that their well-kept neighborhood costs money – their

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Why Are HOA Fees Important?

In Part 3 of this series, we discussed the HOA rules – where they come from and what happens when homeowners don’t obey the rules. If polled, more likely than not, few homeowners could recite a majority of their HOA’s

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What Condominium Owners Should Know About Developer Turnover of the Association: Part I

During the construction and initial sales of units within a condominium association, the developer will manage the association’s operations and governance. This means the developer controls the association’s board of directors. Once the development is constructed and a certain percentage

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Turnover: An Important But Often Misunderstood Event for Homeowners’ Associations

One of the most critical events a homeowners’ association will face is the “transition” or “turnover” of the association from the developer of the community to the homeowners of the community. However, many homeowners and purchasers may be unaware of

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Florida Fourth DCA Adopts Strict Compliance Standard when Joining Homeowner Associations to Foreclosure Actions

On November 23, 2016, the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeals issued an opinion in a case concerning a foreclosing lender’s obligation to pay homeowner association assessments in Federal National Mortgage Association v. Mirabella at Mirasol Homeowner’s Association, Inc., Case

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Can Condo or HOA Officers be elected by secret ballot?

In general, the members (or owners) of the community vote for the board members, but the board members decide who will fill the officer positions: President, VP, Treasurer and Secretary, plus whatever other Officer Positions are defined by your community

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Disputed Condo Election Offers Important Lessons for Association Boards

The 2016 presidential election was extremely divisive and contentious, but for some South Floridians the political machinations taking place in the election of their community association’s boards of directors can be every bit as controversial.  Allegations of questionable or even

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Where Do Condo, Homeowner Associations Stand on Emotional Support Animals?

Picture, if you will, a young man named John. He lives in your association-controlled community. John bravely served in the U.S. Army and received the Distinguished Service Cross for his extraordinary heroism in active duty. Upon John’s return home, he

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South Florida Contents Restoration

Every single day, a natural disaster or other catastrophic event occurs somewhere in America, crippling businesses and homeowners alike. Floods and broken water pipes can wreak havoc to floors, walls, ceilings, carpeting, and to all items within affected rooms. Fires

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Court Decision Clarifies HOA Developer Reserve Funding Obligations (FL)

Last month, Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeals issued yet another opinion in Mackenzie v. Centex Homes, by Centex Real Estate Corp., Case No. 5D16-1254 (Fla. 5th DCA, December 22, 2016) reinforcing that a developer is obligated to contribute money

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Good News for HOAs: Courts Clarify Deadline for Governing Document Lawsuits (FL)

Homeowner association board members and their attorneys can breathe easier now that two Florida appeals courts have clarified the deadline for challenging an association’s governing documents. Through an affirmative defense based on time limitations, associations should see quick, concise and

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