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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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Homeowners’ Associations in Florida and the Marketable Record Title Act: Are Your Governing Documents Still Valid?

Florida homeowner and condominium associations’ governing documents (declaration, bylaws and articles of association) are critical for maintaining order and enforcing rules and regulations. These governing documents are recorded in the public records of the county where the association community resides.

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Short-Term Rentals Not a Violation of Rules Against Business, Non-Residential Uses

In the case of Santa Monica Beach Property Owners Association v. David Acord, the association appealed a lower court’s order dismissing its action against the homeowners who rented their homes on a short-term basis. The association’s argument in both the

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The Fall Of The Economic Loss Rule And Rise Of The Independent Tort Doctrine

In Florida, the economic loss rule previously prevented parties who allocated their risks and remedies in a contract from bringing a tort action. For many years, the economic loss rule only applied in two circumstances:      Read the article…………

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Would you know if financial fraud is taking place in your community?

I was recently contacted by a condominium client to discuss a growing distrust which had taken hold amongst the board members  and management related to financial functions, particularly with regard to the reconciliation of bank statements I asked my friend

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Florida’s Newest Non-Native Invasion – Overnight Rentals

With little doubt, purchasing a home is one of the most significant investments you can make. In order to help protect that investment, many purchasers choose to buy homes within community associations that include homeowners’, cooperative and condominium associations. Behavior

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Ruling Illustrates Unpredictability of Fair Housing Litigation for Associations

The appellate panel of the First District Court of Appeal was divided in its recent ruling involving a Fair Housing Act discrimination complaint by a wheelchair-bound unit owner against his condominium association. The majority and dissenting opinions in the case

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Why Associations and Their Managers Need to Be Wary of Debt Collections Practices and Laws

The fairly recent case of Agrelov v. Affinity Management Services, LLC, Case No. 15-14136, (11th Cir., November 9, 2016), is instructive for associations and their managers with respect to debt collections, and the trouble that associations and managers can get

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A Busy 2017 Legislative Session – Change Is In The Air (FL)

Recently, the Florida legislature has passed three bills set to become law on July 1, 2017, unless vetoed by Florida’s Governor Scott: Senate Bill 398, pertaining to estoppels that is applicable to condominium, homeowners’, and cooperative associations; House Bill 1237,

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Fair Debt Collections Guidance

When the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C 1601, was first enacted, it specifically exempted creditors attempting to collect their own consumer debts. With the enactment of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), large financial consumer lenders have

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Court Ruling Delivers Setback to Community Associations Restricting Short Term Vacation Rentals (FL)

The regulation of vacation rentals continues to be a hot button issue as companies like Airbnb.com and Vrbo.com are taking their fight to Florida’s legislatures and courts in order to open up Florida markets to their share economy businesses.  The

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Association Pool Tips for Safe, Fun Summer Season

At the start of summer, associations should evaluate their pool rules and procedures in addition to conducting all of the necessary inspections of their pools, spas and related equipment.  With the help of qualified professionals, the inspections should include all

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The Benefits of Open Community Board Meetings

Any member of your association can attend board meetings except when the board adjourns for an executive meeting. So when your board members seem less than enthused about those non-members’ attendance, remind them of the benefits.    Read the article……………..

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Cyber Security for your Community Association

It is always a good idea to maintain security both as individuals and as HOA and condo associations. In this technological age, people are more vulnerable and susceptible to being hacked. Just as you would lock your doors and protect

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2017 Florida Condominium and Homeowners Association Legislation

During the legislative session which ended on May 5, 2017, the Florida legislature passed 5 bills that will become law on July 1, 2017, unless vetoed by Florida’s Governor Scott: Senate Bill 398, House Bill 653, House Bill 1237; Senate

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Unit Owners Beware: The Developer May Have Stacked The Board Against You (FL)

Are you concerned that the developer of your condominium did not deliver on the promises made to you when you purchased your condominium unit? Are you concerned with the construction of the condominium in which you live? For most individuals

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Appeals court reverses summary judgment against homeowner (FL)

Florida’s 2nd District Court of Appeal has reversed a lower court’s decision to grant summary judgment in favor of a homeowners’ association.  The appeals court ruling follows a July 2016 decision by the 12th Judicial Circuit Court. The circuit court

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Association Board Meeting Do’s and Don’ts (FL)

The other South Florida community association attorneys at our firm and I are often called upon by our clients with questions regarding how to more efficiently run their board meetings and control the conduct of members during those meetings. Very

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Florida Supreme Court May Decide Fate of Liens Recorded After Foreclosure Judgments

Real estate investors, municipalities, and community associations may gain some clarity about post-judgment liens if the Florida Supreme Court decides to hear Ober v. Town of Lauderdale By-the-Sea, Case No.: 4D14-4597 (Fla. 4th DCA, January 25, 2017). The case has

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New Laws 2017 (FL)

What a year it has been for condominium legislation! Listed below please find a summary of the condominium laws as now amended:     Read the article………………

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Construction Defect Statute of Repose: Post-Closing Punch-list Work May Delay Its Start

Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeals is shaking up the construction defect statute of repose once again.[1] A recent 5th DCA opinion implies that the 10-year construction defect statute of repose does not start to run at the closing of

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Think Like a CEO: What Successful Home Association Presidents Do

Successful CEOs and association presidents have a lot more in common than you may think To be an association president who inspires and leads a board, you must approach your responsibilities with professionalism. The role shouldn’t be something to be

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Your Association Community Association Manager’s Role in Getting Work Done

“A community association manager has the opportunity to create a sense of community that people really love and that enriches the community living experience,” writes PeytonBolin’s founder, Jane Bolin, in her book, Mastering the Business of Your Association: No More

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Are Smart Homes Becoming A Reality in Florida?

Technology has developed rapidly over the last couple of years. New and improved products with the aim to make daily activities easier for us are constantly hitting the marketplace. New “smart” technology is being incorporated into our everyday lives, so

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Homebuilders and Contractors Beware: Construction Defect Claims May Be Filed More Than 10 Years After Construction is Complete (FL)

A statute of repose sets a firm deadline by which a lawsuit may be filed after the occurrence of a particular event. Once the statute expires, a prospective defendant is no longer exposed to legal action. Florida has a ten-year

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On an HOA Board: Here’s How to Avoid Problems

If you live in an established 55+ community or an active adult community there is a Homeowners Association (often called Community Associations) in charge. While often maligned, these boards are necessary – somebody has to run the place. Boards need

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