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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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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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Court finds law for selling entire condominium projects is not retroactive (FL)

The 3rd District Court of Appeal recently sided with minority owners by ruling that Florida’s statute law governing the sale of condominium projects does not apply to properties that predate Florida’s 2007 amendment to its condominium statute.  The Daily Business

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How Condominium Associations Can Deal with Airbnb Rentals (FL)

Online third-party rentals have become quite popular in recent years. Many unit owners see these companies as an opportunity to bring in additional income by renting out their unit on a short-term basis, sometimes even just for a weekend.  Most

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Bankruptcy and Condo Associations

Bankruptcy is a last resort for people who find themselves overwhelmed with bills and creditors. When a condo owner in an association files for bankruptcy, the HOA may fear they’ll never see that money. The truth, however, is a bit

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Will Your Community Association be Sponsored by Advertisers Someday?

I read recently that some of our national parks in the U.S. are going to permit advertising in certain locations within the parks. The reason for this move is ostensibly due to the appeal of millions of annual park visitors

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What Information Is My Community Association Required to Provide in Relation to Sales of Units?

During transfers of properties in condominiums or other planned communities, community associations are frequently contacted by prospective buyers, lenders or realtors with requests for information pertinent to the transfer. Often, these requests seek detailed information about a broad range of

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Industry Alert – Florida Supreme Court Rules on Bartram v. US Bank, NA.

The Florida Supreme Court issued the much anticipated opinion in Bartram v. U.S. Bank, N.A on November 3, 2016, providing long awaited guidance as to the statute of limitations on successive mortgage foreclosure actions, post dismissal. The Court answered a

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Hooray for Committees!

How wonderful is it when owners want to volunteer? I am frequently amazed by the dedication of people who just want to give back. Many have led rich lives with interesting professions such as doctors, lawyers, entertainers, artists, world travelers,

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Retroactive Application Statue of Amendments: Does Your Declaration Have “Kaufman” Language? (FL)

Community association lawyers are often presented inquiries from their clients as to whether laws newly adopted by the Florida legislature apply to their governing documents, especially when the new law is contrary to their declaration’s existing provisions. A similar question

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Do You Need a License for That? (FL)

We all know that you need a license to be a CAM (Community Association Manager). A license is also required for most electrical, roofing and plumbing work as well.  Myfloridalicense.com is a great source to learn more about what work

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How to Avoid Burnout for Community Association Managers

It’s 2016, a week away from a new year and it seems that burnout has become a fact of life for community association managers. It is also a real possibility for dedicated Board members. Boards and managers are challenged by

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Recent Changes to the Florida Statutes Governing Homeowners Associations

Does your homeowners association require nominations from the floor for an election to the board of directors? Recent changes to the Florida Statutes governing homeowners associations have given some associations the right to forego accepting nominations from the floor during

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Court Ruling Puts Condo Buyouts At Risk (FL)

As Florida developers adapt to the lack of suitable development sites, some are turning their focus to condominium communities that were built decades ago for middle-income working families and retirees that are now located on what would otherwise be prime

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Favorable Ruling for Condo Associations in Second DCA (FL)

Recently, in Ventana Condominium Ass’n, Inc. v. Chancey Design Partnership, Inc., et al., 2016 WL 4259999 (Fla. 2d DCA), the Second District Court of Appeal held that the Plaintiff, Ventana Condominium Association, Inc. (the “Ass’n”), was not the successor in

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Rare Safe Harbor Victory for Homeowner Associations (FL)

In Federal National Mtg. Ass’n. v. Mirabella at Mirasol HOA, Inc., Case No. 4D 15-4792 (Fla. 4th DCA, November 23, 2016), Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeals relied on specific language in the Homeowner Association Acts’ safe harbor provision to

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Key Considerations in Hiring an Employee Subject to a Non-Compete: Part II

As discussed in Part I of this blog series, some of the most qualified candidates for employment are often current or former employees of competitors in your industry. Non-compete agreements are helpful to employers who wish to control and limit

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Service animals: Can you ask someone to prove need? (FL)

Realtors representing housing providers, such as a condo association, homeowners association or owner, occasionally find themselves in a delicate situation when a customer or client appears to overstep regarding requests for additional information about a service or assistance animal. Occasionally,

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Santa Claus is Back in Town and Make Sure He Pays This Time

But let’s think of Santa, not just as a bringer of gifts, but as a user of property rights. After all, he lands on your roof. Get any permission for that, Mr. Claus? What about the wear and tear to

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The Communication Conundrum

As many of you already know the two most frequent complaints from owners in common interest communities are: lack of transparency and lack of communication. Am I right? How do we help the association’s we manage overcome these issues?   Read

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Associations Rejoice: Florida Appellate Courts Breathe New Life into Controlling Documents for Community Associations

It has been commonplace in Florida for condominium owners or homeowners to move into a community and then challenge the propriety or validity of the governing documents which, by virtue of purchasing in the community, they agreed to be bound

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New HUD Neighbor to Neighbor Discrimination Regulations Impact Community Associations

On September 13, 2016, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) released final regulations that change how the Federal Fair Housing Act (“Act”) is applied to quid pro quo and hostile environment housing claims within community associations. The

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The rise, the fall and the future of Longboat Key’s Colony Beach & Tennis Resort (FL)

As we digest our Thanksgiving feast and continue the sentiment of appreciation for the bounty bestowed upon us, an oftentimes tense and tenuous issue facing Longboat Key continues — the redevelopment of the Colony Beach and Tennis Resort.  This week,

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Grant Funding Available Now for Wind Mitigation Retrofits for Vulnerable Condominium Community in Florida

FAIR (Florida Association for Insurance Reform) is seeking a low to moderate income condominium community to benefit from a Residential Construction Mitigation Program (RCMP) grant from the Florida Division of Emergency Management. The $194,000 grant will be used to supplement

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Mortgage Foreclosure (FL)

As you may be aware, the first mortgage holder’s lien (mortgage) is superior to that of the Association. Therefore, in the event that a bank files for mortgage foreclosure, even if the Association had a lien in place, if a

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Hold On A Minute! About Those New Overtime Rules…

On Tuesday, November 22, a federal court judge in Texas issued an injunction blocking implementation of the Obama administration’s new overtime rules. The rules were set to go into effect on December 1, 2016, but are now on hold indefinitely.

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Firm’s Attorneys Discuss Ramifications of Thwarted Condominium Termination with Reporters (FL)

They were asked by the journalists for their insights into the ramifications of a decision last week by the Third District Court of Appeal that has significant implications for the future of condominium terminations in Florida.  The case pitted the

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Shortening the Board Member Learning Curve

For those who live in community associations, board membership should be viewed in the same vein as a civic duty. An effective board of directors is essential for the financial and administrative wherewithal and stability of every community association, so

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