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Florida Condo & HOA Articles Archive

/ Owner - June 28, 2012
  • Addressing Burdensome Records Requests via the Rule-Making Power of Condominium Associations (FL)
    Records requests can become quite daunting when a board of directors is faced with a high volume of demands from unit owners asserting their right of inspection of the association’s official records.  Read the article…………………………….
  • Hotel-Condominium Governance Litigation: Could IconBrickell Go National?
    In 2020, the Florida Third District Court of Appeal issued the IconBrickell decision that has had a profound effect on the way practitioners and developers think about the legal landscape of mixed-use properties throughout the state of Florida, particularly branded residential condominiums. In IconBrickell Condominium No. Three Association v. New Media Consulting, 310 So.3d 477 (Fla. 3d DCA 2020), the Florida appellate court held that the condominium declaration that governed the property rights of owners at the W Hotel in downtown Miami violated that Florida Condominium Act and needed to be reformed.    Read the article…………………………….
  • A Parking Primer (FL)
    So many of our condominiums were built in the days that it was basically unheard of for a family to own more than one automobile. Many homes didn’t even own one automobile. As a result, the laws were a lot different than they are today and allowed a building to be built with far less parking spots than today’s laws require. In the 1960s, a 100 unit condominium building consisting of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom units could be built with as little as perhaps 105 parking spaces. That same building today may require 165 parking spaces. That’s an increase of 60 more parking spaces for the same exact building!   Read the article…………………………….
  • How to Handle Absent Condominium and Homeowners Association Board Members (FL)
    Each election season, condominium association members elect one or more directors to serve on the association’s Board of Di­rectors. Many members consider their options carefully, understanding the importance of the board and the impact its decisions have on each condominium owner. Each candidate should also consider the responsibilities before running for a board position.  Read the article…………………………….
  • What’s on Your Agenda? (FL)
    Over the last several months, several questions concerning agendas have resurfaced. For ease of reading, I have listed some of these questions below with a shortened version of my responses.    Read the Q&A………………………………..
  • The Surfside Effect: Adjusting to new regulations in the aftermath of the Surfside collapse
    Carriers were quick to yank up insurance premiums when the first major hurricane in over a decade slammed Florida in 2017. Still, state and federal actions to mitigate the impact of climate change on housing infrastructure have been unrushed in the six years since.  Then, on June 24, 2021, when a 12-story beachfront condominium in the Miami suburb of Surfside disintegrated, killing 98 people, the sense of urgency kicked into high gear. This is despite the fact that the collapse was attributed to the building’s poor structural design and deferred maintenance and not a direct result of any particular weather event    Read the article…………………………….
  • How Should Florida Community Associations Answer Residents’ Requests for Emotional Support Animals?
    A right to an emotional support animal has been a heavily discussed topic for years, especially for certain extreme requests involving the use of an exotic animal for emotional support purposes, or when there is a claim that the emotional support animal needs its own emotional support animal, in a relatively clear attempt to circumvent community pet restrictions.    Read the article…………………………….
  • Navigating Defamation Lawsuits and Non-Compete Clauses (FL)
    The topic of defamation has become more prevalent as civil discourse has eroded. Unfortunately, sometimes it is the rare board member and/or manager who has not been subject to some form of potential slander or libel throughout their course of community association service.    Listen to the podcast…………………………..
  • “A ‘CliffsNotes’ Guide for New Condominium Board Members” (FL)
    The election is over, and you have earned a coveted seat on your condominium association’s board of directors. Now what? This helpful guide will provide you with a “CliffsNotes” version of important things to remember as you embark on your journey as a director.   Read the article…………………………….
  • The Maintenance Matrix: An Incredibly Helpful Tool
    Alternatively, if an association has planned ahead, the association’s board and management can turn to their handy dandy maintenance matrix! A maintenance matrix is a compilation of the maintenance, repair, and replacement responsibilities in a clear and concise chart which depicts the specific assignments for each component. A maintenance matrix is prepared by reviewing all of the governing documents and the statutory defaults in advance so that it can be referred to when questions arise about responsibilities.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Understanding Director Conflicts of Interest in Florida Condominium Associations
    In the realm of condominium associations in Florida, directors play a crucial role in decision-making processes. However, their actions must adhere to certain legal standards to ensure transparency and fairness. This article explores key legal cases and statutes that shape the landscape of director conflicts of interest in Florida condominium associations.    Read the article…………………………….
  • Roles and Responsibilities of Effective Board Members
    Understanding the roles and responsibilities of effective condominium and HOA board members is critical. Community association directors should always be scrupulous and dedicated volunteers who wish to do their part for the effective administration and oversight of their enclave.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Civility in Community Associations: Does it Even Exist Anymore?
    It seems the growing trend is that tempers flare so much faster than in days gone by. One of the more difficult situations to deal with is when a cantankerous member of the association goes out of their way to make life miserable for their neighbors and/or their board.  Read the article…………………………….
  • Disaster Assistance: Information on the 2021 Condominium Collapse in Surfside, Florida
    This Q&A report looks at the federal response. FEMA coordinated response and recovery efforts, including assistance for survivors and victims’ families. The National Institute of Standards and Technology is investigating the technical cause of the collapse and plans to issue a report in 2025 that may recommend changes to improve the structural safety of buildings.  Read the article…………………………….
  • MIRS and SIRS and Condominium Document Review for Contracts Entered into Prior to Dec. 31, 2024 (FL)
    In the transactional world of resale of residential condominium units the statutory three business-day condominium-review period will be taking on new elements for consideration. These additional considerations will be very important in analyzing the potential costs of ownership of a condominium unit. Read the article…………………………….
  • Term Limits to First Impact Longstanding Condo Directors in 2026 (FL)
    The Florida legislature’s confusing rollout of board member term limits for condominium association directors created many initial questions about how and when the term limits applied. Some directors still have lingering questions and uncertainties, so hopefully, this article will help to resolve those. Read the article…………………………….
  • A Comprehensive Guide to Key Changes and Impacts Under the Homeowners’ Association Bill of Rights (FL)
    On October 1, 2023, House Bill 919, also known as the “Homeowners’ Association Bill of Rights” took effect. This comprehensive bill provides several crucial changes related to the removal of homeowners’ association (“HOA”) officers and directors, fines and suspensions for violations of the declarations, bylaws, or rules of the HOA, as well as new requirements for the comingling of funds, official records requirements, and board meeting notices.  Read the article…………………………….
  • New HOA laws protect Florida homeowners
    There are many luxury condominiums and subdivisions in Florida. These dwellings are popular among those who are commonly referred to as “snowbirds,” which are people who live in states north of here for most of the year, then come to Florida when winter hits their hometowns. The snowbird community lives right alongside full-time residents in communities governed by a Homeowners Association. This past October, new HOA laws were enacted that enhance protection of homeowners’ rights. Read the article…………………………….
  • Corporate Transparency Act – Action Required in 2024-2025 (FL)
    We are writing to inform you that the Corporate Transparency Act (“CTA”) will become effective on January 1, 2024, for all new entities (as defined below) filed on or after the beginning of next year and will become effective on January 1, 2025, for all currently existing entities, (with entities being defined as any entity created or registered by the filing of a document with the secretary of state or similar office of a state) unless otherwise exempt by the CTA or its regulations.   Read the article…………………………………
  • Avoiding and Mitigating Owner Disputes in Community Associations (FL)
    With neighbors living in close proximity to each other, all mutually bound by set rules and edicts, communities with associations are oftentimes fertile ground for spats and disputes. The best boards of directors and property managers understand that disputes between owners may arise from time to time and should strive to settle them as reasonably and quickly as possible in order to promote community harmony and quality of life.   Read the article…………………………….
  • 2023 in Review (Florida)
    The 2023 Florida legislative session addressed a wide variety of issues impacting community associations. The longest bill impacting community associations became 2023-203, Laws of Florida. The amended statutes changed, clarified, or corrected provisions created by the laws approved in 2022, Senate Bill 4-D, which became Chapter 2022-269, Laws of Florida, commonly referred to as “SB-4D.”   Read the article………………………….
  • What falls under the authority of an HOA? (FL)
    When you move into a community with a homeowners’ association, you must agree to adhere to the terms of the neighborhood covenant. Each HOA is different, and the specific rules that may apply to you depend on your individual community.     Read the article…………………………..
  • Compliance with the Federal Corporate Transparency Act (FL)
    Complying with the Federal Corporate Transparency Act may surprise many Florida Corporations, including many Condominium and Homeowner Associations. In 2021, as part of the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, the Federal Government passed a Federal law called the Corporate Transparency Act (the “CTA”).    Read the article………………………………….
  • Year-End Maintenance Checklist for Associations (FL)
    As the year draws to a close, we at Wise Property Management understand the importance of ensuring that associations are well-prepared for the upcoming year.  Year-end maintenance helps to ensure that communities are not only well-maintained but also compliant with legal regulations   Read the article…………………………..
  • Do You Really Want to Risk Not Having Insurance? (FL)
    We all know what the cost of insurance is doing to our way of life. In most condominium associations, the cost of windstorm and peril insurance has tripled over the past few years, if not quintupled. And from what I am being told, there is no end in sight. God forbid another major storm hits and the insurance companies have to shell out another couple of billion. The cost of insurance would go up even more.   Read the article……………………………….
  • Florida Condo Associations: Dodging Floods and Drowning in Premiums?
    Well, folks, another hurricane season in Florida has come and gone, leaving us with nothing but a collective sigh of relief and the looming specter of potential disaster. In the spirit of commemorating the official end of hurricane season, I urge you to take a moment to reflect on your condo association’s insurance choices.   Read the article………………………………
  • Florida Laws and Regulations Regarding HOAs and Condo Associations
    (Real Estate Issues) Tenants rights, investment caps, document requirements and other legal specifics aimed at community associations.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Many Tall Condominiums Face New Expenses (FL)
    Surfside Condominium collapsed in June 2021 with $1 billion in property damage and 98 deaths. In May, 2022 Florida’s legislature amended statutes and adopted laws to require structural inspections and reserves for condominiums if three stories or more in height. The legislature amended the statutes in 2023. Many condominiums will find meeting the new statutory requirements expensive. Those expenses will be borne by unit owners.  Read the article…………………………….
  • Florida Laws and Regulations Regarding HOAs and Condo Associations
    Tenants rights, investment caps, document requirements and other legal specifics aimed at community associations.   Read the article……………………………….
  • Miami Herald Column: “Association Leaves Too Many Unanswered Questions in News Report on 300% Increase”
    The article, which is titled “Real Estate Counselor: Association Leaves Too Many Unanswered Questions in News Report on 300% Increase,” focuses on a recent report by Orlando’s CBS News 6 (www.clickorlando.com) on a brewing dispute at the city’s popular Baldwin Park community. It reads:    Read the article…………………………….
  • Political Yard Signs and Political Events (FL)
    Unless you share similar political views, your neighbor’s front yard sign supporting a favorite political candidate may be upsetting. Can a Florida community association demand the sign’s removal? A well-crafted and properly adopted board rule prohibiting all signs, as compared to just prohibiting political signs, is likely enforceable with this caveat.   Read the article…………………………..
  • The Effect of Section 720.3045, Florida Statute on Homeowner Association
    Section 720.3045, Florida Statutes was created during the recent legislative session as part of House Bill 437. This section prevents associations from restricting the installation, display and storage of “any item” on a parcel that is not visible from the parcel’s frontage or an adjacent parcel, unless same are prohibited by general law or local ordinance.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Holiday Decorations – Ho, Ho, Ho or Bah Humbug? (FL)
    As the holiday season approaches, it is a good time for associations to consider its authority regarding outdoor holiday decorations. Every community is different, and opinions vary about when the holiday decorations should be put up and “how much” is “too much.” Some people want to start decorating for the holidays on November 1, while others think that you should at least wait until after Thanksgiving.   Read the article……………………………..
  • Implementing Condominium Restrictions (FL)
    When faced with a reoccurring issue in a condominium, the Board of the Directors may want to consider implementing a restriction as a long term solution to the problem. For example, after increasing complaints of loud music at late hours, the Board of Directors may consider a restriction as to when and to what extent music can be played at the condominium.    Read the article……………………………….
  • Is It Time to Consider Removing an Association’s Right of Self-Help to Cure an Owner’s Violation from the Declaration? (FL)
    Through the years Florida’s community associations have relied upon the court decisions that had routinely agreed that the provisions of Florida Statutes that expressly authorize an association to entitlement to an injunction (i.e., a judicial order requiring a person to take action) superseded the common law standard of the requirement that there be no adequate remedy at law before a party could seek an injunction.    Read the article………………………………
  • Associations Should Take Smart, Proactive Approach for Festive Holiday Season (FL)
    Many communities with associations are replete with activities, private gatherings and general good cheer during the holiday season. To help make this most special time of the year as joyful and harmonious as possible, associations should make considered and intelligent decisions and preparations.    Read the article…………………………………
  • Maintaining Your Elevators: Regular Care Can Help Avoid Huge Replacement Costs
    The elevator is one of those inventions—along with running hot and cold water and indoor plumbing—that have been around for so long we take it for granted. But elevators obviously weren’t always a part of the architectural landscape. Without them we’d still be living in a world of six-story buildings (maybe seven for the strong-legged), and we’d be climbing stairs all day long.    Read the article………………………………
  • Surveillance in Buildings & HOAS: Privacy vs. Safety? (FL)
    In 2017, a Boston couple were brutally murdered in their penthouse apartment in a high-end condominium building. The murderer, the former employee of a company that supplied concierge services to the condo, had worked there, and so knew the ins and outs of the building—including some serious gaps in the property’s security that both the board and manager were aware of, but had done nothing to address.    Read the article……………………………
  • Communities Adding Pickleball Should Consider Mitigating Noise Disruptions (FL)
    A recent survey of nearly 700 community association managers and board members conducted by the Foundation for Community Association Research found that more than 66 percent of the communities represented in the survey already have or are committed to building pickleball courts. However, of those communities that are embracing and incorporating the fast-growing sport, nearly 58 percent have implemented limitations and restrictions.    Read the article…………………………….
  • The New Laws – A Little Background (FL)
    The tragic collapse of the Champlain Towers in Surfside, Florida occurred on June 24th, 2021 killing 98 innocent men, women and children. I was there a few days later staring at mounds of rubble and thinking that entire families were buried under there. Little kids. Babies. It was too much.  The following year, The Florida Legislature then went into session and I certainly assumed there would be new safety laws passed that ensured a collapse of a building never happens again.   Read the article……………………………
  • Florida Legislative Update: Key Laws Affecting HOAs, Condos and Cooperatives
    With Florida legislation shifting frequently, condo and HOA boards should be aware of the various new laws adopted by the State of Florida that are likely to impact how their communities function or otherwise operate. The following is a short summary of several of the recently adopted bills that focus on governance in associations:   Read the article…………………………………..
  • Is It Time to Consider Removing an Association’s Right of Self-Help to Cure an Owner’s Violation from the Declaration? (FL)
    Through the years Florida’s community associations have relied upon the court decisions that had routinely agreed that the provisions of Florida Statutes that expressly authorize an association to entitlement to an injunction (i.e., a judicial order requiring a person to take action) superseded the common law standard of the requirement that there be no adequate remedy at law before a party could seek an injunction.     https://rembaumsassociationroundup.com/2023/11/03/is-it-time-to-consider-removing-an-associations-right-of-self-help-to-cure-an-owners-violation-from-the-declaration/
  • Florida Legislative Update: Key Laws Affecting HOAs, Condos and Cooperatives
    With Florida legislation shifting frequently, condo and HOA boards should be aware of the various new laws adopted by the State of Florida that are likely to impact how their communities function or otherwise operate. The following is a short summary of several of the recently adopted bills that focus on governance in associations:    Read the article……………………………..
  • Florida Court Affirms Foreclosure Judgment for HOA
    Florida’s Fourth DCA has affirmed a county court’s final judgment foreclosing a lien in favor of Deer Run Property Owners’ Association (the Association) awarding more than $87,000 for delinquent assessments, interest, late charges, costs, and attorneys’ fees.   Read the article………………………..
  • When Can Insurance Companies Require Participation in Mandatory Binding Arbitration? (FL)
    In Florida, significant changes to insurance regulations have taken effect as of December 2022, with the implementation of Senate Bill 2A. This comprehensive bill addresses several critical areas, including flood coverage disclosure, assignment of benefits, prompt pay laws, and, notably, mandatory binding arbitration limitations for insurance claims. This blog focuses on the provisions related to mandatory binding arbitration in property insurance contracts.    Read the article……………………………..
  • New Florida Law Prohibits HOAs From Regulating Some Backyard Storage, Installations or Displays
    A new Florida law that was enacted earlier this year and is now in effect addresses the storage, installation or display of certain items in the backyards of homes located within HOA communities.   Read the article……………………………
  • Can a Community Association Restrict Solar Panel Installation? (FL)
    Solar power is gaining traction as a common source of meeting Floridians’ electricity needs. In most cases, homeowners capture solar energy through the installation of roof mounted solar panels. Though readily accessible to most, solar panels are often unsightly and are a topic of concern and debate in community associations.   Read the article……………………………
  • Fiduciary Relationship and the Business Judgment Rule (FL)
    Community association officers and directors have a fiduciary relationship to the owners of homes or units in their community. Typically, this relationship is understood as officers and directors having the obligation to act in the best interests of the association and to refrain from obtaining or accepting personal benefits at the expense of the association.     Read the article……………………………
  • Time for a Financial Check-Up (FL)
    When did you last take a close look at your investment account statements, have a meaningful discussion with your financial advisor or broker, or reassess your investment goals and time horizon due to changing circumstances or major life events?   Read the article…………………………
  • Navigating Florida’s Challenging Property Insurance Marketplace for Community Associations
    The property insurance crisis in Florida is causing significant upheaval among the state’s HOAs and condominium associations. While they are paying the highest premiums in the country for coverage, more than 15 insurers have left the state in recent years. Citizens Property Insurance, the state-backed “insurer of last resort,” is Florida’s largest property underwriter, and it and the state’s other carriers insist that the risks from hurricanes and climate change are too much for them to bear.      Read the article……………………………..
  • Conflict Management: How to Handle When Things Get Out of Hand (FL)
    Living in close quarters can—and often does—lead to conflict. In co-op, condo, and HOA communities, conflict can occur between residents, or between a resident and the board. And to complicate matters, a seemingly isolated conflict between residents may spill over to become a conflict between resident(s) and the board. What’s the key to resolving differences?    Read the article…………………………………….
  • Towering Uncertainty (FL)
    More than 2 million Floridians live in condos subject to a new reinspection law passed in the wake of the 2021 Champlain Towers South collapse. For some, the price of keeping safe might cost them their homes.   Read the article……………………………….
  • Florida Statute 2023-203: A Comprehensive Look at Building Safety Regulations and Florida Milestone Inspections
    It often takes a crisis for society and government to react. Whether it be seat belts, smoking, or building safety, unfortunately, catastrophe can move the needle toward addressing public safety issues. This paper explores the events leading up to Florida statute 2023-203, the steps that impacted owners/developers/managers can take to ensure compliance, and how experts can help.    Read the article………………………………..
  • Understanding Limited Common Elements (FL)
    Limited common elements in Florida condominiums, as defined by the Florida Condominium Act, refer to common elements exclusively reserved for the use of specific units or groups of units, as outlined in the condominium’s declaration. This definition highlights that limited common elements represent a subset of common elements. Examples of what might be designated as limited common elements in the declaration include parking spaces, storage units, balconies, or patios.    Read the article………………………………..
  • 2023 Legislative Review Part 1 (FL)
    This week we will start our annual review of the legislative changes that impact community associations. On May 25, 2023, this column summarized SB 154, the “glitch bill” regarding structural inspections and reserves. SB 154 was signed by the Governing and is now effective.   Read the article……………………………..
  • Real Estate Counselor: Ruling in Dade Reminds Associations to Avoid Restricting Resident Access (FL)
    ……… focuses on the takeaways for community associations from a recent Miami-Dade Circuit Court ruling on the importance of avoiding restrictions against residents’ use of common elements that are necessary for them to access their unit.     Read the article………………………………
  • The 1st Step in becoming an association board member? Education (FL)
    Running a residential Owners Association in Florida is a business, not a social function. Condominium and Homeowners Associations are corporations structured similarly to well-known public and private companies in which the Board of Directors has specific responsibilities and obligations.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Navigating the Complex World of HOA Architectural Control (FL)
    What does a Homeowners Association, under Chapter 720, Florida Statutes, need to bear in mind when evaluating architectural modification requests from its members?   Read the article…………………………………….
  • Noteworthy Changes Under New “Homeowners’ Association Bill of Rights” Law (FL)
    Florida’s new “Homeowners’ Association Bill of Rights” (HB 919) law presents important changes for HOA communities and their boards of directors. The law, which only applies to HOAs and goes into effect on Sunday, Oct. 1, focuses on transparency and accountability, with provisions addressing kickbacks, conflicts of interest and fraudulent voting activities.   Read the article…………………………….
  • Miami-Dade County’s Condominium Special Assessment Program: Requirements & Eligibility (FL)
    Miami-Dade County is known for its stunning beaches and coveted coastal condominium communities. However, with the charm of these residences comes the responsibility of maintaining their structural integrity. After legislators passed rigid condominium safety reforms, many Floridians have been left wondering how they’ll be able to afford the special assessments coming their way. For Miami-Dade County residents, a lifeline has been extended to owners facing the financial burden of essential repairs and rehabilitation through The Condominium Special Assessment Program.    Read the article…………………………..
  • Best Practices for Community Associations Responding to Disability Accommodations Requests
    The federal Fair Housing Act bars community associations from refusing reasonable accommodations to their rules or policies requested by disabled owners to enable them to enjoy the full use of their residences. Requests for accommodations that represent fundamental changes to associations’ existing policies, or those that infringe upon the rights and privileges of other owners, in some cases may not qualify as reasonable under the requirements of the Act and may be negated.   Read the article………………………………
  • Florida’s Homeowners’ Association Act: Recent Changes Effective October 1, 2023
    In Florida, homeowners’ associations (“HOA”) are governed by Florida Statute Chapter 720. That chapter is known as the “Homeowner’s Association Act” (the “Act”). The Act governs issues ranging from member assessments to arbitration to conducting meetings. The Act is constantly evolving, and HOA board members, HOA property owners, and HOA property managers should review the Act periodically.   Read the article………………………….
  • Navigating the Complex World of HOA Architectural Control (FL)
    What does a Homeowners Association, under Chapter 720, Florida Statutes, need to bear in mind when evaluating architectural modification requests from its members?  Read the article……………………………..
  • SB 154 New Reserve Requirements and Exceptions For Condominium Associations (FL)
    The new law, SB 154, passed in 2023, the following language was enacted, “In a budget adopted by an association that is required to obtain a structural integrity reserve study, reserves must be maintained for the items identified in paragraph (g) for which the association is responsible pursuant to the declaration of condominium, and the reserve amount for such items must be based on the findings and recommendations of the association’s most recent structural integrity reserve study.    Read the article………………………..
  • Backyard Storage Woes: Does the New Backyard Storage Statute Apply to Your Homeowners Association? (FL)
    While there has been a lot of buzz about changes made in the 2023 Florida Legislative Session to laws affecting our Association clients, one potentially important change has been largely overlooked. The seemingly innocuous flag bill – House Bill (HB) 437 — creates the new Florida Statute 720.3045 prohibiting homeowners’ associations from regulating certain backyard storage.   Read the article………………………..
  • What You Need to Know About Florida New (2023) Senate Bill 154: Structural Integrity Reserves (SIRS) Studies
    Florida Senate Bill 154 has been signed into law and brings significant changes to Structural Integrity Reserves (SIRS) studies, a crucial element in ensuring the safety and long-term maintenance of condominium buildings across the state. These updates address various aspects, from who can perform the inspections to what needs to be included in the reserve studies.    Read the article………………………..
  • What You Need to Know About Florida New (2023) Senate Bill 154: Milestone Inspection Legislation
    Florida’s latest milestone inspection legislation has sent shockwaves through the real estate and property management industry. This transformative piece of legislation, stemming from Senate Bill 154 (also known as The Milestone and SIRS Glitch Bill which we have covered extensively) has shifted from bill to a law as of June 13, 2023, impacting condominiums and cooperative buildings across the state.   Read the article………………………..
  • Navigating the topsy turvy process for major condo association restoration projects (FL)
    On June 9, 2023, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law Senate Bill 154 (SB 154), which seeks to address select issues from the Florida Condominium Act, SB 4D. All of these measures are intended to mitigate and prevent potentially devastating incidents, including building collapses. Condominium safety laws center around inspection requirements, mandatory reserves and more transparency for unit owners and prospective unit owners on information regarding the condition of the buildings.   Read the article………………………..
  • Who Owns a Development’s Common Areas? (FL)
    HOAs have common areas as do condo associations, and the answer to “Who owns them?” varies under Fla. law and even from association to association.   Read the article………………………..
  • Watch the Webinar: The Do’s and Don’ts of Handling Insurance Claims (FL)
    We recently held an educational webinar with Steve Mason from Altieri Insurance Consultants to discuss the do’s and don’ts of handling insurance claims.   Watch the webinar…………………………..
  • Fiduciary Duty: What it Means to Your Community Association (FL)
    What duty does a community association board member owe to their association? What happens if that duty is breached? During the 2023 legislative session, legislation was proposed that would have made directors criminally liable for failure to timely respond to official record requests, among other provisions.  Read the article………………………..
  • Where Is the Money Coming From? (FL)
    With all the new laws, especially for buildings three stories in height or higher, along with reserve funding requirements, condominium living has just gotten a lot more expensive. With only one steady source of income, namely the assessments paid on a monthly or quarterly basis from unit owners, sometimes those funds are just not enough to cover everything the association needs, especially if you now must make expensive repairs to your property.   Read the article………………………..
  • Kings Point tornado victims still hampered by insurance ‘nightmare’ year later (FL)
    Victims of a tornado that hit the Kings Point senior community near Delray Beach last year are still picking up the pieces.  “We were the unfortunate few that got hit the hardest,” condo owner Richard Martin said.    Read the article………………………..
  • It’s Time To Create Safe Pathways In Condo Associations For Electric Golf Carts
    Electric golf carts are not permitted in my 1200-unit condo complex in Florida. Partially, it’s because the roadways are too narrow — the Gulf Oil developers in the 1970s never envisioned that their oceanfront investors getaway would evolve into an owner-managed association.   Read the article………………………..
  • Can Anything Be Done About Solar Panels? (FL)
    If you are living in a homeowners association you probably know that the Association cannot prohibit the installation of solar panels (or “solar collectors”). But what about a request to install such devices on the roof of a condominium?   Read the article………………………..
  • Heatwaves and Housing: How Multifamily Buildings Can Prepare and Protect Residents (FL)
    Heat events are no longer isolated occurrences; they’re becoming a norm. For multi-residential building association boards and management teams, this poses unique challenges and liabilities.   Read the article………………………..
  • Who Owns The Common Areas In Your Building Or Community? (FL)
    Trick question. The answer depends on whether you live in a Condominium Association or a Homeowners Association.  In Florida, these 2 types of residential Owners Associations function and are regulated in very different ways.    Read the article………………………..
  • Keeping Your HOA’s Covenants Alive (FL)
    The Marketable Record Title Act’s (MRTA) purpose is to extinguish old interests and use restrictions on lands and to allow for land sales to be completed more easily and with less expense. Unfortunately, aged homeowners’ association covenants are amongst the interests that can be extinguished by MRTA, and preventing such extinguishment is a very important responsibility for homeowners’ association directors.    Read the article………………………..
  • Board Members Better Be Careful (FL)
    Board members I’m telling you now……..be careful. I’m seeing it already. Unit owners are starting to freak out over the passage of huge assessments to cover the costs of mandatory inspections, mandatory repairs and massive increases in insurance rates.   Read the article………………………..
  • 2023 Legislative Update (FL)
    The following portions of the original law have been modified and now only relate to residential condominiums (including mixed use), that are three (3) stories or higher per FL Building Commission:   Read the article………………………..
  • Florida Statute, 720.3045, Installation, Display and Storage of Items
    Numerous homeowner associations have declarations, covenants, conditions, and restrictions for the storage items on their property, regardless of where the items are stored and whether such items are visible to third parties. Such storage items may include boats, trailers, sheds, construction equipment, and junk.   Read the article………………………..
  • HOA dispute turns into major legal battle (FL)
    There are many benefits associated with living in a community with a governing body. This group oversees the maintenance of common areas and protects the property values of residents. However, there are times when an HOA can overstep its bounds or take steps that result in a conflict with residents. Recently, a dispute between a Florida HOA and community homeowners escalated to the point where the matter went to court.    Read the article………………………..
  • Make Sure Your Docs Don’t Cost You Money – Pt. 2 (FL)
    Last week was a primer on how foreclosures generally work and how banks get off the hook when they get back a unit when they foreclose on an owner’s unit or home. We learned that the banks are protected by the law because they only owe a few bucks to the association when they get title to the unit or home despite the fact that the owner owes a fortune to the association.    Read the article………………………..
  • Pride and Prejudiced – When to Report Insurance Claims
    A condominium association in Florida is required by law to “use its best efforts to obtain and maintain adequate property insurance to protect the association, the association property, the common elements, and the condominium property, which must be insured by the association pursuant to this subsection.” §718.111(11), F.S. While condominium associations are required to use their best efforts to obtain adequate insurance, there is no such requirement to actually use said insurance, despite the intention of the legislature in having enacted Section 718.111(11).      Read the article………………………..
  • EV Chargers Are Coming to Your Community – Are you Ready? (FL)
    An individual owner files an application to the association for an EV Charger in a designated parking space. Did you know by law, that if the Board does not respond in 60 days the application is deemed approved and owner can proceed with an installation for their exclusive use?   Listen to the audio………………………..
  • Breed-Specific Dog Bans (FL)
    In 1989, in the wake of a series of serious injuries caused by pit bulls, most notably the mauling of a 7-year-old girl and her mother, Miami-Dade County adopted an ordinance making it illegal for residents to own or keep an American Pit Bull, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or any other dog whose characteristics closely resemble those of the pit bull breed.   Read the article………………………..
  • Florida Lifts Pit Bull Ban – A New Era for Pet Owners
    On October 1, 2023, a groundbreaking legislative decision will take effect, ending the ban on pit bulls and other prohibitions in Florida that restrict dogs based upon breed, weight or size. With this new development, many community associations that previously relied on local ordinances to restrict ownership of specific dog breeds such as pit bulls will need to consider making changes to their governing documents should they wish to continue enforcing such restrictions.   Read the article………………………..
  • Association Emergency Powers (FL)
    Florida Statutes provide boards with broad emergency powers in response to damage, injury or public contagion caused by or anticipated in connection with an emergency for which “a state of emergency” is declared. The Governor of the State of Florida must have declared a “state of emergency” in order for an association to utilize the statutorily prescribed emergency powers.   Read the article………………………..
  • Maintaining Community Standards: The Importance of Deed Restriction Compliance (FL)
    Maintaining community standards and preserving property values are vital aspects of creating a harmonious living environment. Deed restriction enforcement plays a crucial role in achieving these objectives, ensuring that community associations adhere to the community’s established guidelines.   Read the article………………………..
  • “Homeowners’ Associations Bill of Rights” Law Takes Effect October 1, 2023 (FL)
    On June 12, 2023, Governor DeSantis signed into law House Bill 919 (2023), the “Homeowners’ Associations Bill of Rights,” which amends Chapter 720, Florida Statutes, in several meaningful ways, including:   Read the article………………………..
  • 2023 Legislative Review Part 4 (FL)
    This week we conclude our review of relevant legislation from the 2023 Legislative Session. Previously we reviewed the bills that directly impact community associations through amendments to the community association’s statutes, including Chapter 718, the Florida Condominium Act and Chapter 720, the Florida Homeowners’ Association Act. This week we review legislative changes to other statutory provisions that have relevance to community associations.    Read the article………………………..
  • New Condo Law Makes It Clear That Condo Must Make the Repair (FL)
    I get so many calls and e-mails each week about whether the condominium or the unit owner is responsible to fix something that’s broken. Florida Statute 718.113 was recently amended and here’s what it says:  Read the article………………………..
  • The Cheshire Cat and Insurance Carriers
    Insurance carriers are like the Cheshire Cat. They lure customers with catchy advertisements, and then issue policies filled with complex and confusing terms. After major losses, they arrive on the scene, then suddenly disappear, citing one or more policy exclusions in complex terms, a la the Cheshire Cat.   Read the article………………………..
  • How Being Kind Can Lead to Success
    Disputes and disagreements between board members, residents, community managers, staff members, and business partners are an inevitable part of living in a community association. While generating an atmosphere of kindness and respect might seem easier said than done, it can make for a more collaborative and positive environment for all. Being nice can really pay off.   Read the article………………………..
  • Florida Legislature Amends Condominium and Cooperative Safety Statutes Adopted After Champlain Towers South Collapse
    On June 9, 2023, Governor DeSantis signed into law Senate Bill 154, which substantially modifies statutory safety and reserve requirements previously enacted in response to the collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium. Existing statutory requirements were discussed in a prior blog post. Senate Bill 154 took effect immediately and makes the following primary changes to the current safety and reserve requirements:   Read the article………………………..
  • 2023 Legislative Review Part 3 (FL)
    This week we continue our review of the legislative changes concerning community associations. In our last column, we were reviewing the changes to Chapter 720, Florida Statutes in HB 919, the Homeowners’ Association Bill of Rights. In this column, we will finish our review of HB 919 and review HB 437 concerning the display of flags in community associations.    Read the article………………………..
  • The Insurance Crisis is at a Dangerous Point (FL)
    While condo owners are now dealing with mandatory inspections, mandatory repairs and mandatory reserve accounts, both condo and HOA owners are facing the joint monumental problem of staggering increases in property insurance and the lack of choice among insurance companies. Our sponsor Greg Waltz sent me an article recently that is simply mind blowing and frightening. I’m sharing it with you.  Read the article………………………..
  • Special Assessments Unveiled: What Homeowners Need to Know (FL)
    The mere mention of special assessments can keep new and veteran agents up at night. All too frequently, there is a misconception about what they are and, more importantly, how to address them. With the recent passage of laws further regulating condominiums and condominium associations still contracting for repairs from Hurricane Ian last year, it is no surprise that special assessments have become an even hotter topic for realtors and their customers.   Read the article………………………..
  • Resolutions and Amendments
    You’ve all heard the terms Resolution and Amendment, but do you understand the differences between the two? These are two terms we hear often and refer to how boards make their decisions regarding their community.  Read the article………………………..
  • Florida Governor Signs SB 250 into Law
    On June 28, 2023, the Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law Senate Bill 250 (see Chapter 2023-304, Laws of Florida), which makes various amendments throughout the Florida Statutes regarding the preparation and response activities of state and local governments when natural emergencies impact the state. Supporters of Senate Bill 250 (the “Bill”) believe the Bill will help Florida to better recover from Hurricanes Ian and Nicole and be better prepared for future natural emergencies.   Read the article………………………..
  • Homeowner and Condominium Owners Associations: 10 Frequently Asked Questions (FL)
    Understanding the laws that govern homeowners and condominium owners associations is crucial for both board members and owners. These laws encompass various aspects of COA and HOA activities, such as board meetings, association fees and the multitude of responsibilities that HOAs and COAs must fulfill.   Read the article………………………..
  • 2023 Legislative Review Continued (FL)
    In continuing with our overview of the legislative changes from the 2023 legislative session which impact community associations, this week’s column will review HB 919, titled as the “Homeowners’ Association Bill of Rights.” HB 919 was approved by the Governor on June 12, 2023, and becomes effective on October 1, 2023.    Read the article………………………..
  • Application of New Section 768.0701, Florida Statutes, Regarding Multifamily Property Safety to Condominium Associations (FL)
    Every year community associations watch for legislative changes to the general statutes that govern community associations, including Chapter 718, Florida Statutes, for Condominium Associations; Chapter 719, Florida Statutes, for Cooperative Associations; and Chapter 720, Florida Statutes, for Homeowners’ Associations. However, changes to other parts of the Florida Statutes can have important, substantive effects on community associations as well. Section 8 of HB 837, creating Section 768.0701, Florida Statutes, is one such change.   Read the article………………………..
  • What Does Senate Bill 360 Mean For Your Community Association? (FL)
    Senate Bill 360 was signed into law on April 14, 2023. The Bill imposes various changes that will impact both homeowners and community associations. Attorney Barry Ansbacher discusses these changes in an article  Read the article………………………..
  • 2023 Legislation Reviewed (FL)
    This week we will start our annual review of the legislative changes that impact community associations. On May 25, 2023, this column summarized SB 154, the “glitch bill” regarding structural inspections and reserves. SB 154 was signed by the Governing and is now effective.   There are several other bills that will apply to community associations, some directly, some tangentially.     Read the article………………………..
  • Condominium Association Failure to Maintain Common Elements-(part 2) (FL)
    In South Florida, water and mold damage seem to be one of the most common complaints by Condominium Owners against their Associations. Most cases begin with water intrusion due to the Association’s failure to maintain the roof and the roof elements which can include the drainage system.   Read the article………………………..
  • Best Practices for Hurricane Preparedness (FL)
    It’s that time of year again. As the days get longer and the weather gets hotter, we know that hurricane season is fast approaching. Therefore, this is a good time to review some of the “best practices” to prepare for and protect the association in the event a hurricane comes our way.   Read the article………………………..
  • Strict Compliance vs. Substantial Compliance – Not Knowing the Difference Can Cost You! (FL)
    The Florida statues governing community associations often provide timeframes for notice to owners before the association can proceed with action, including passage of special assessments, adoption of fines and collections. While some statutory sections allow for “substantial compliance” with the statutory requirements, associations should be aware that the statutory timeframes require “strict compliance.” This means that any deviation from the statutory timeframes will result in the association’s actions being unsuccessful and subject to challenge from owners.    Read the article………………………..
  • Do You Have Your Hurricane/Disaster Plan Ready? (FL)
    Every community is different in the specifics of your Hurricane/Disaster Plan, but one thing is certain, if you are in Florida, you will need one at some point.  Your plan will most certainly differ from community to community, but there are some things that all communities should think to put in it.   Read the article………………………..
  • New Law is a Benefit to Condos and Requires a Boost to Security (FL)
    Florida condominiums always had the obligation to provide for the safety of its owners, residents and guests when it came to preventing crime in the community. The condominium association was negligent if it knew or should have known about prior crimes in the community or surrounding areas, and failed to take reasonable safety measures to prevent future crimes   Read the article………………………..
  • Considerations on Criminal Background Checks & Tenancy Restrictions (FL)
    Numerous condominiums and homeowner associations have Governing Documents, or rules and regulations that regulate leasing, including restriction to whom owners may rent. Many associations base their decisions on the results of a criminal background check or on a potential renter’s disclosure of criminal history on a rental application.   Read the article………………………..
  • Golf Carts, Low-Speed Vehicles, and Public Roads, Oh My! (FL)
    Recent years have seen more and more drivers adopting golf carts and low-speed vehicles as alternative modes of transportation in and around, and even outside, their communities. No longer relegated to the greens, sand traps, and clubhouses within a community, Florida has adopted several laws to regulate these vehicles when it comes to public streets and highways.  Read the article………………………..
  • Statute of Limitations Prohibits Association from Bringing Action to Reform Declaration (FL)
    In 2005, the declarant established a plan to develop an HOA in 3 phases. The declaration included the first phase, but phases 2 & 3 were not identified in the declaration. The developer sold the lots within phases 2 & 3 as if they were part of the HOA. In 2019, the association learned of the mistake and asked the owners in phases 2 & 3 to consent to submit to the declaration.  Read the article………………………..
  • Update: Condo/Co-Op/HOA Meeting Agendas & Notice Requirements
    Florida laws governing community associations require notice of meetings to encourage owner participation. Here is a helpful guide summarizing the notice requirements under statute; however, this guide is not intended to be all inclusive and is only for general reference.  Read the article………………………..
  • Surviving the Storm: A Journey Through Hurricane Ian and Beyond (FL)
    What would you do if you found yourself in the eye of a devastating hurricane? This week, our guest and Becker Shareholder, Joseph E. Adams, sits down with Donna DiMaggio Berger and relives this very question when he rode out Hurricane Ian in his home on Fort Myers Beach. In this gripping episode, Joe shares his harrowing experience and provides valuable insights into preparing for and recovering from such catastrophic events.   Listen to the podcast……………………….
  • Guns in the Clubhouse: What Can a Community Association Do? (FL)
    The right of the people to carry and bear arms without governmental infringement is a right which stems from both the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Florida. The State of Florida recently adopted new gun legislation, effective July 1, 2023, which allows the everyday citizen to carry a concealed weapon without first obtaining a concealed weapons permit. This raises interesting questions for community associations such as, is the right to carry a concealed weapon absolute?   Read the article………………………..
  • Questions Answere: Updated – Updated Condo Legislation (FL)
    There is no shortage of information on the recent changes to Condominium Legislation, or the FR/BAR Rider related to Condominiums that was just updated in March. However, we recently discussed the upcoming changes in our blog post here. Since then, Senate Bill 154 has been introduced.    Read the article………………………..
  • An HOA Member’s Bill of Rights – HB919 (FL)
    Sometimes HOAs are simply forgotten about when it comes to new laws. There’s usually a hands off approach by The Florida Legislature. Not this year. This year a new act was created called the “Homeowners’ Associations Bill of Rights.” Florida Statute.303.   Read the article………………………..
  • Westchase Government Primer: HOA vs. CDD (FL)
    Westchase falls under the jurisdiction of federal, state and county governments. In addition, the community is governed by two entities: the Westchase Community Development District (CDD) and the Westchase Community Association (WCA). A number of Westchase neighborhoods also lie within sub-homeowners’ associations.  Read the article………………………..
  • GOVERNOR SIGNS GLITCH BILL SB 154
    Governor DeSantis signed the much anticipated Surfside Glitch Bill, SB 154, into law earlier today. This lengthy law will be the subject of future Becker webinars and classes as well as be featured in our 2023 Legislative Guidebook along with more than a dozen other bills that passed this Session which may impact your community.  Read the article………………………..
  • Florida’s SB 154 Attempts to Provide Additional Clarity on Condo Safety Law
    Earlier today (June 9, 2023), Governor DeSantis signed into law Senate Bill 154 (SB 154). Seen by many in the industry as a “glitch bill,” SB 154 is a legislative measure aimed at addressing and resolving certain issues that emerged from the previous legislative session’s SB 4D.    Read the article………………………..
  • 2023 Legislature Responds with Condominium “Glitch Bill”
    On June 9, 2023, Governor DeSantis signed Senate Bill 154 (“SB 154”) into law. This was the highly anticipated “glitch bill” to address technical issues with Senate Bill 4-D (“SB 4-D”) – last year’s controversial legislation in response to the collapse of Champlain Towers South.   Read the article………………………..
  • Another New Law: HB437 (FL)
    I can’t tell you how may fights I have been involved in regarding flags other than the U.S. flag flying above someone’s home and the fact that someone put down fake grass or stored a boat, that nobody can see, in their backyard. Well, here’s a new statute that solves both of those problems:   Read the article………………………..
  • Florida’s SB 154 Attempts to Provide Additional Clarity on Condo Safety Law
    Earlier today (June 9, 2023), Governor DeSantis signed into law Senate Bill 154 (SB 154). Seen by many in the industry as a “glitch bill,” SB 154 is a legislative measure aimed at addressing and resolving certain issues that emerged from the previous legislative session’s SB 4D.  Read the article………………………..
  • Layers of the Florida Condo Legislation
    The Champlain Towers South disaster in Surfside, Florida, in June 2021, was just that. A disaster. In one of the worst building collapses in U.S. history, 98 residents lost their lives in the middle of the night in a building they thought of as their secure home.  The facets of this story are deep and tangled, creating myriad complexities and viewpoints.   Read the article………………………..
  • Florida Appellate Court Rules in HOA Case
    Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal recently reversed an order which granted the Villages of Bloomingdale Homeowners Association’s (the Association) motion to reform its declaration to encompass residential properties that were constructed and sold after the declaration was recorded and which properties were not originally encumbered by the declaration. Hogg v. Villages of Bloomingdale I Homeowners Ass’n, Inc., No. 2D21-3724, 2023 WL 2542132, at *1 (Fla. 2d DCA Mar. 17, 2023).     Read the article………………………..
  • How To Compare Different CAM Schools To Find The Right One For You (FL)
    In the vibrant and ever-expanding state of Florida, a prosperous career in community association management awaits those ready to embrace the challenge. As a Community Association Manager (CAM), you’ll play a pivotal role in managing small communities, overseeing their financial health, and ensuring smooth operations.  Read the article………………………..
  • Common Contract Concerns for Community Associations
    Most community associations in Florida operate with the assistance of outside vendors. As such, many community associations do not have in-house staff to pressure wash sidewalks or maintain the elevators. Communities often have a compilation of contracts with multiple vendors ranging from one-page estimates with no contractual provisions other than price, to lengthy contracts with exhibits and many pages of small print.   Read the article………………………..
  • SB 154 – Part Four – New Laws (FL)
    SB 154 – is a long bill. Here are the final new laws: 1. The association shall provide for the maintenance, repair, and replacement of the condominium property for which it bears responsibility pursuant to the declaration of condominium.    Read the article………………………..
  • New law prohibits insurance companies from altering claim estimates (FL)
    The start of hurricane season is here, but many Southwest Floridians are still fighting their insurance companies about their Hurricane Ian claims more than eight months later. The Insurer Accountability Act aims to bring more balance between the consumer and the insurance industry.   Read the article………………………..
  • What Are Limited Common Elements and Who’s Responsible? (FL)
    The Florida Condominium Act defines limited common elements as those common elements that are reserved for the use of a certain unit or group of units, as specified in the declaration of the condominium. This definition indicates that the limited common elements are a subset of the common elements.   Read the article………………………..
  • Getting “Flag Ready” for the Fourth of July (FL)
    Flags serve as a powerful symbol of a nation, its ideals, and its people, and their display is community associations is addressed under State law.   Read the article………………………..
  • SB 154 – Part Three – New Laws (FL)
    Again, in a budget adopted by an association that is required to obtain a structural integrity reserve study, reserves must be maintained for these items:   Read the article………………………..
  • Florida Statutes Governing Condo Associations and HOAs
    These Florida statutes and regulations are essentially guidelines outlining the proper legal conduct of HOA and condominium association boards, especially during meetings. These laws were put into effect to ensure transparency, accountability, and effective communication between property management companies and association members, and residents.  Read the article………………………..
  • Florida Shortens Time to File Construction Claims and Imposes Materiality Requirement for Building Code Violations
    On March 24, 2023, and April 13, 2023, Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 837 and Senate Bill 360 into law, respectively. These new legislative amendments change Florida’s litigation landscape by shortening the statute of limitations for general negligence claims and the statute of repose for construction claims and altering the potential triggering events for commencement of the statute of limitations and repose periods.   Read the article………………………..
  • Reserve and Inspection Laws Changed (FL)
    Consisting of what I would categorize as relatively minor changes to the sweeping building inspection and reserve laws enacted in 2022, here is a look at Senate Bill 154, which will become law upon signature by the Governor:   Read the article………………………..
  • SB 154 – Part Two – New Laws (FL)
    Structural integrity reserve study.— A residential condominium must have a structural integrity reserve study completed at least every 10 years after the condominium’s creation for each building on the condominium property that is three stories or higher in height as determined by the Florida Building Code which includes, at a minimum, a study of the following items as related to the structural integrity and safety of the building:   Read the article………………………..
  • Handling community association disputes (FL)
    You might be one of many Florida residents who live in a townhome, condominium or other community governed by a Homeowners Association. You probably already know that there are benefits as well as downsides to such arrangements. Numerous issues can spark HOA problems, which often involve more than one community resident.   Read the article………………………..
  • Update: Condo/Co-Op/HOA Meeting Agendas & Notice Requirements (FL)
    Florida laws governing community associations require notice of meetings to encourage owner participation. Here is a helpful guide summarizing the notice requirements under statute; however, this guide is not intended to be all inclusive and is only for general reference.   Read the article………………………..
  • How Long Does A Foreclosure Take In Florida?
    Foreclosure is a legal process aimed at recovering the outstanding loan balance by selling the property used as collateral. This process can be a particularly challenging experience for homeowners in Florida especially those who are unfamiliar with how foreclosure works. The length of a foreclosure procedure can depend on the complexity of the case and the actions of the lender.  Read the article………………………..
  • SB 154 – Part One — New Laws (FL)
    Over the next few weeks, we will be blogging about the new laws The Florida Legislature passed, as they relate to Florida Condominiums and HOAs. Today, let’s start with the bill that was supposed to clear up all the glitches in the prior bill regarding milestone inspections and reserve studies.      Read the article………………………..
  • Condocide: Death of a Building Type (FL)
    I open my iPhone one morning and read “Partial Building Collapse Near Miami.” Immediately, there’s a pit in my stomach. Sometime after midnight, sporadic tremors vibrating through a 12-story structure groaned, popped, then coalesced into a massive implosion. Half a residential block fell in seconds. The scene resembles a missile strike:   Read the article………………………..
  • Board Brief: Insurance Coverage for Your Condo or Community Association
    As a board member, you understand the importance of protecting your property and maintaining its value. One critical component of this protection is insurance coverage. Condo and community association insurance is designed to cover claims or losses that can impact your community, from property damage and liability claims to natural disasters and other unexpected events.   Read the article………………………..
  • Requiring Workers’ Compensation (FL)
    It is surprising to hear from so many community association board members and managers looking to protect their community association that, when asked if they require all vendors to have workers’ compensation insurance as a required term in all of their contracts, it can be like looking at a deer in the headlights.    Read the article………………………..
  • The New Laws: Developers Are Protected Yet Again (FL)
    When a community gets turned over from developer control to unit owner control, the unit owners typically hire experts to determine whether or not the developer has breached their warranty by turning over the property with construction defects. This year, on April 13, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill No. 360 into law wherein the legislature just reduced your right to sue the developer for construction defects and Florida Building Code violations.  Read the article………………………..
  • New Law Puts Communities at Risk: How to Protect Your HOA or Condo (FL)
    Governor DeSantis recently signed Senate Bill 360 into law. This law’s stated purpose is to curtail frivolous construction defect lawsuits by significantly reducing the amount of time parties have to bring such lawsuits.   Watch the webinar………………………..
  • Florida Senate Passes Bill Addressing Concerns Over Last Year’s Condo-Safety Reforms
    Florida condominium associations and those who provide them with expert guidance have experienced some confusion and questions over aspects of last year’s condo-safety reforms, and the state Senate has responded with the passage of key amendments to address some of these concerns. While a companion bill remains before the House, Senate Bill 154, which was passed unanimously, deals with the new requirements for inspections and financial reserves.   Read the article………………………..
  • The Worst Storm Is the Storm You Didn’t Prepare For (FL)
    With hurricane season quickly approaching, it is important that you prepare for the worst (and hope for the best)! Hurricane season is June 1 through November 30. This article will provide tips to help prepare your 2023 hurricane preparedness guide, as well as provide actions that you can take before a hurricane makes landfall. The time is now to prepare your community for every possibility.   Read the article………………………..
  • New Law Limits Premises Liability Related to Criminal Activity (FL)
    A new law, which became effective on March 24, 2023, is intended to limit the liability of the owner or principal operator of a multifamily residential property for criminal acts that occur on the premises which are committed by third parties who are neither employees nor agents of the owner or operator.   Read the article………………………..
  • Understanding the New Timeframes for Collections (FL)
    Associations frequently ask the question: “When should a delinquent owner be turned over for collections?” To fully answer to this question, the association must understand the relatively new statutory requirements that must be fulfilled before an account is turned over to legal counsel for collections, as well as understanding the increased timeframes an owner is given to remit payment in both condominium and cooperative associations. These timeframes impact how quickly an association can proceed with collections and foreclosure proceedings against delinquent owners.  Read the article………………………..
  • Florida Further Restricts Community Association’s Ability to Bring Design and Construction Defect Lawsuits
    Several laws have been passed during Florida’s recent legislative session, and one in particular will have a significant impact for community associations. On April 13, 2023, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 360 (“SB 360”) into law. This new law shortens the time period for bringing lawsuits based on design and construction defect claims and creates new legal hurdles for multi-building communities.    Read the article………………………..
  • Florida’s HB 837 brings significant changes to bad faith insurance framework (FL)
    On March 24, 2023, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB 837 into law. HB 837 has been a hot topic in the news and legal community because it is one of the most significant tort reform bills to make its way through the Florida legislature to date. Notably, HB 837 modifies the bad faith insurance framework, cut the longstanding statute of limitations for negligence claims in half (from four years to two years), changed Florida’s pure comparative negligence system to a modified comparative negligence system, among other significant changes. This blog discusses the changes to the bad faith insurance framework.   Read the article………………………..
  • Crucial 40-Year Recertification Repairs Continue At Miami Condo, Judge Rules (FL)
    “The association is doing what it has to do, not only for Florida law, but also to make its building safe and to make the board of directors discharge their fiduciary duty to all of the condominium residents,”   Read the article………………………..
  • When You Can’t Just Walk Away
    Afew weeks ago, I wrote a column about what Board members should do when they are confronted with a person screaming or yelling at them and otherwise acting nuts. In sum, the answer was “just walk away” because in those circumstances there is little you are going to be able to do to convince the maniac that is screaming at you that they should calm down or otherwise discuss the problem in a generally sane manner.     Read the article………………………..
  • The Ties That Bind — Like it or Not: A Primer on Homeowners’ Associations in Florida
    Well-manicured lawns, beautiful entranceways, uniformity of appearance, security cameras, and clutter- free home exteriors are but a few of the many benefits of living in a community controlled by a “homeowners’ association (HOA),” as defined by Florida law. It’s no wonder that 44.8% of Floridians live in HOA communities. That’s an estimated 3.71 million homes. However, sometimes there can be trouble in paradise. Here’s a closer look at the answers to some common HOA questions.    Read the article………………………..
  • Is There Liability for Dangerous Wild Animals in Your Community? (FL)
    With the ever-increasing development in Florida, especially in South Florida, we are once again reminded that we live in close proximity to a number of native, exotic, invasive, and at times dangerous wild animals. Tragically, and all too recently, in St. Lucie County an 85-year-old woman died while trying to rescue her dog from an alligator.     Read the article………………………..
  • Here are some important takeaways from recent appellate ruling over dispute at Hollywood condo (FL)
    A recent decision over a dispute at the Hollywood Station Condominium by Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal illustrates one potential outcome for community association lawsuits brought by concerned unit owners.   Read the article………………………..
  • Associations May Now Have Broader Standing to Pursue Construction Defects Claims (FL)
    When your community needs to pursue a claim for construction defects, your community must have a stake in the outcome of the litigation – known as standing – to pursue that claim. Because both Section 718.111 and 720.303 empower an association to pursue claims for matters of common interest, an association usually has standing to pursue a claim for most construction defects.   Read the article………………………..
  • Conflicts of Interest and The Boards Power to Interpret the Governing Documents
    Where the governing documents or the statute place the authority to interpret the governing documents with the board, the board’s interpretation will be binding unless unreasonable. However, if a director has a conflict of interest, the director can’t be part of the decision making process or the vote and must recuse herself/himself. Read the article………………………..
  • Does Your Association Allow You to Use the Clubhouse for Political Events? (FL)
    Florida Statutes allow the Condominium unit owners to use the common elements for the purposes for which the common elements were intended as long as their “use does not hinder or encroach upon the lawful rights of other unit owners.” The statute also permits the Board of Directors to create and adopt reasonable rules pertaining to the use of the common elements.   Read the article………………………..
  • New Laws Regarding Emotional Support Animals (FL)
    Nothing evokes more of an “emotional” response than the issue of emotional support animals in a no-pet community. While this is not a new issue, and has been discussed many times in this forum and others, Florida laws affect how a community handles a request for a reasonable accommodation to its governing documents, rules and regulations or policies to allow a resident to maintain an emotional support animal in a no-pet community.    Read the article………………………..
  • Community Associations Should Take Proactive Approach to Maintaining Communications Channels with Non-Resident Owners (FL)
    South Florida’s robust housing market attracts buyers from across the globe. Many of the area’s priciest and most luxurious enclaves are filled with part-time residents who use their properties as investments and vacation homes.   Read the article………………………..
  • Boca Condo Offers Case Study in Pitfalls of Prolonged Litigation for Associations, Owners (FL)
    This latest of several articles by the newspaper on Boca View’s litigation chronicles how unit owner Eleanor Lepselter is now asking the court to find the association in contempt and impose fines of $500 a day until it complies. It states that deadlines set by two court rulings for the association to produce the records have already passed, and the motion for contempt that was filed on Feb. 21 accuses the association of having no plan to release the records.     Read the article………………………..
  • Reviving Previously Unenforced Restrictions (FL)
    While trying to enforce restrictions and rules in your community, have you run across evidence, or worse, been brought to your attention by current residents or a pending lawsuit, that your current or previous boards were arbitrarily or inconsistently been enforcing certain rules and restrictions?   Read the article………………………..
  • Bill Would Change Hurricane Requirements for Florida Condos
    A bill recently introduced to the Florida Senate would revise the requirements for installing and maintaining hurricane protection material, including hurricane shutters, impact glass and code-compliant windows or doors, in residential and mixed-use condominiums.   Read the article………………………..
  • It May Be Time to Review Your Management Contract (FL)
    Last week I blogged about the possibility of Board members walking off with your association bank accounts. Bank accounts that are about to explode with mandatory reserves and huge construction contracts that are on the way. Today, let’s talk about what you need to know about your management company.   Read the article………………………..
  • Tips for a Successful Condominium or Homeowner’s Association Turnover (FL)
    Several things that can be done by the Association prior to and immediately after turnover for the benefit of the community. This information will benefit not only any forensic engineering firm in performing a Property Condition Assessment Report, but the community operations as a whole.   Read the article………………………..
  • A Year After the Surfside Collapse, Florida’s Condo Safety Act Impacts Housing Affordability
    In the aftermath of this tragic event, Florida’s aging condominiums have come under scrutiny. Nearly 600,000 of the state’s 1.5 million condominiums are over 40 years old.   Read the article………………………..
  • Fire Extinguisher Inspections
    Portable fire extinguishers are often times our first line of defense against small fires and chances are you aren’t too far from one right now. Like any lifesaving equipment you want to ensure that it is operable at all times so it will work when you need it most.  Read the article………………………..
  • Your Guide to Florida’s New Disaster Relief Programs
    As homeowners across the Sunshine State recover from hurricanes Ian and Nicole, CAI is committed to providing members with accurate, up-to-date information on new programs designed to help homeowners.   Read the article………………………..
  • Does the Florida Legislature Want You to Remain Dumb?
    For those of you who are intelligent and decided to come to a Board Certification class in the last few months and learn all about the new safety and reserve laws, I applaud you. It was my honor meeting you and teaching you all over the state.   Read the article………………………..
  • Can Your Association Restrict A Vegetable Garden? (FL)
    A December 2022 article in FCAP magazine addressed the confusion of whether an HOA/POA can restrict or ban yard vegetable gardens in their communities. §604.71 of the Florida Statutes states that no county, municipality, or other political subdivision in Florida can regulate vegetable gardens on residential properties.   Read the article………………………..
  • How to Choose the Best Condo Association Insurance for Your Community (FL)
    Condo insurance can be one of the most important yet confusing aspects of managing your Tampa-based condo association. It can be time-consuming and frustrating to ensure all your association’s needs are met, and a policy is chosen that both provides sufficient coverage and remains within budget.   Read the article………………………..
  • Timesavers at Annual/Election Meetings (FL)
    In condominiums and cooperatives, general proxies are used for establishment of a quorum and limited proxies are used to vote on a particular matter – amendments, waive reserves or financial reporting requirements, etc. It is only in homeowners associations when proxies may also be used for elections.    Read the article………………………..
  • Hotel Condominiums – An Endangered Species (FL)
    Hotel condominiums are created by combining hotel facilities and condominium units into a single project. They can exist as standalone buildings or part of larger vertical subdivisions. Either way, the hotel rooms are sold as individual condominium units and form the condominium component, and everything else (common elements in a traditional condominium) forms the hotel component.    Read the article………………………..
  • Condominium Assessment Liens are Technical and Cumbersome (FL)
    A condominium association is responsible for managing, maintaining and repairing the common elements. Common elements generally include the building structure, roof, parking, pool and in some cases much more. Funds to carry out the association’s duties are provided by assessments on unit owners.   Read the article………………………..
  • Bayfront Miami condo tower embroiled in legal battle over major assessment
    A bayfront Miami condominium in need of repairs is in a legal fight pitting unit owners against the condo association.  The 27-story, 235-unit Palm Bay Yacht Club made headlines last week over a proposed $46 million special assessment to fund repairs required for the property’s 40-year recertification. A group of 10 unit owners filed a lawsuit in October against the Palm Bay Yacht Club Condo Association, affiliates of the property management firm AKAM and other companies, alleging fraud and negligence.    Read the article………………………..
  • Florida Legislature Makes Another Run at Revising the Statute of Repose for Construction Defects
    In late December 2022, the Florida Legislature proposed changes to the Florida Statute of Repose for Construction Defects to clarify a statute with ambiguous language. The statute is used to determine how long a party has to file a claim for construction defects after a structure or improvement has been completed.   Read the article………………………..
  • Architectural Committees Formal Procedures, Published Standards, and Self Help (FL)
    There are strict legal requirements that a homeowners’ association’s (HOA) architectural review committee (ARC) must follow, most especially if the ARC intends to deny an owner’s request.   Read the article………………………..
  • Stop the Crowd From Blaming the Board (FL)
    It’s a smart move by boards to have their counsel tell all the owners about all of these expenses that are coming, AND THAT THEY ARE MANDATED BY LAW AND ARE IN NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM CAUSED BY OR ARE THE FAULT OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS: To remind everyone, here’s what’s coming:   Read the article………………………..
  • Architectural Committees Formal Procedures, Published Standards, and Self Help (FL)
    There are strict legal requirements that a homeowners’ association’s (HOA) architectural review committee (ARC) must follow, most especially if the ARC intends to deny an owner’s request. As this author has witnessed countless times, it is likely that many ARCs do not conduct their activities in conformity with Florida law such that an ARC denial may not withstand judicial scrutiny.      Read the article………………………..
  • Condo & HOA railing restoration, all you need to know (FL)
    The maze of CODE COMPLIANCE with regard to replacing guardrails and handrails during a condominium or HOA building restoration project is a complicated one. In Florida, there is a building code for new construction, but not one for building restoration. With the event of the city of Sunrise condominium Champlain Towers collapsing, and the resulting loss of life, and law suites, the resulting new Florida Building Safety law (SB4D) calls for the boards and managers of Florida’s condominiums and HOAs to be diligent to act to make sure they are in compliance with its requirements.   Read the article………………………..
  • Can a Developer Retain the Right to Veto a Declaration Amendment After Turnover of the Association? (FL)
    Surprisingly, the answer is yes. In the recent case of First Equitable Realty III, Ltd. vs. Grandview Palace Condominium Association, Inc., 329 So. 3d 167 (Fla. 3rd DCA October 6, 2021) before the Third District Court of Appeals, the Court held valid and enforceable a developer-recorded amendment to the condominium declaration, which granted the developer the right to reject future declaration amendments it deemed in, “its sole opinion,” harmful to the future sale of its units.    Read the article………………………..
  • Take It to the Board: Combatting Growing Hate Crimes Inside Community Associations (FL)
    Donna DiMaggio Berger sits down with Sarah Emmons, the Florida Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), to discuss recent incidents of hate symbols being placed inside community associations, how antisemitism takes root and what can be done to combat it.   Listen to the podcast………………………..
  • Florida HOA Communities Installing New License Plate Reader Cameras (FL)
    For HOAs and even some condominium communities, especially those facing security and safety issues and concerns, deploying such cameras at key entrance/exit points with the accompanying signs alerting drivers of the monitoring could represent an effective prevention and investigative tool.   Read the article………………………..
  • Reviving Unenforced Restrictions (FL)
    The previous boards failed to enforce the provisions of the Declaration, bylaws, and/or rules and regulations of the community and now whenever the manager tells someone that they are in violation, the response is that the Association allowed this to occur for many years without enforcement. All is not lost.    Read the article………………………..
  • Building Inspections: Structural and Insurance
    I remember a day not too long ago when every property was inspected before an insurance policy was issued, and annual inspections were mandatory. I’m sure that everyone remembers when insurance companies stop requiring those inspections. Funny how a classic can return into vogue. Today insurance companies are hiring property inspectors daily.   Read the article………………………..
  • Can an Insurance Broker Be Liable if a Loss Is Not Covered by Insurance?
    What happens when, due to a negligent error by the insurance broker, a business suffers property damage that is either not covered, or not fully covered, by what the insured thought was an insurance policy they purchased through the broker to cover the risk? Can the insured look to its insurance broker to cover the uninsured loss?    Read the article………………………..
  • Florida Professional Service LLC Personal Liability Protections: Perks and Pitfalls
    Managers and members who provide professional services in Florida often choose to organize their businesses into Limited Liability Companies (“LLCs”) because LLCs generally provide freedom from personal liability for the obligations of the LLC. This blog post discusses exceptions to the general prohibition on holding LLC members or managers personally liable for the LLC’s obligations in Florida. Personal liability can leave managers and members on the hook for considerable monetary sums individually.   Read the article………………………..
  • Appellate Ruling Shows Potential Pitfalls of Fining, Enforcement Missteps by Community Associations (FL)
    A recent ruling by Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal demonstrates the potential legal liabilities and costs for associations that fail to meet the mandated prerequisites for the imposition of fines as well as suspensions from community amenities or board seats.  Read the article………………………..
  • How Community Associations Can Respond to Residents with Mental Illness and Violent Encounters Between Neighbors (FL)
    Whether it’s a combination of holiday stress, rising inflation or spiraling housing-related expenses, tensions within community associations are escalating.  Mental health concerns were compounded during the pandemic due to a variety of factors but despite restrictions being long-since lifted, verbal disputes, threats of violence and fatal encounters between neighbors continue to make headlines.   Read the article………………………..
  • New Legislation Needed for Required Maintenance Affecting Condominium Building Structural Integrity and Safety (FL)
    As to the title of this article, anyone familiar with Senate Bill 4-D and the newly required milestone inspection reports and structural integrity reserve studies primarily applicable to condominium and cooperative buildings three stories and higher knows that material alterations, special assessments, and the authority to borrow funds are not mentioned in the legislation. So why write this article about those subjects?    Read the article………………………..
  • How Will Florida Condo Safety Law Impact Housing?
    In May of last year, the Florida legislature passed and Governor Ron DiSantis signed, Senate Bill 4D, An Act Relating to Building Safety to address issues related to the collapse. However well intentioned, local Home Owners Associations and building managers are just now beginning to grapple with the massive implications of the new law.    Read the article………………………..
  • Can the Board Enforce Restrictions that the Previous Board Failed to Enforce? (FL)
    The short answer is yes. But not so fast. The correct procedures must be followed. The Board needs to put owners on notice that from this point onward, the restriction that was previously unenforced will now be actively and evenly enforced. This is done through a Board resolution adopted at a duly noticed Board meeting. Association counsel should draft the resolution to ensure that the necessary language is included to begin properly enforcing the restriction(s) going forward.   Read the article………………………..
  • Community Association Quorum Issues (FL)
    In the final article on our series on the basics of community association meetings, we address common questions involving quorum – that is the minimum number of constituents (directors for a Board meeting or Members for a Members meeting) that must be present in order for the meeting to occur.   Read the article………………………..
  • 4 Important Line Items to Include in Your HOA’s Annual Budget
    HOA budget planning will be a constant for any members on the board. While it can seem daunting at first, once you gain experience with creating and managing budgets, you will find there will always be elements that remain constant.    Read the article………………………..
  • Make Sure You Do These 4 Things at Your Condo Association Annual Meeting
    Florida Condominium rules and regulations are subject to the Florida Condominium Act. It is important to understand what is needed for condo association annual meetings as regulations make the occurrences of these meetings mandatory and clearly outline how to conduct them.   Read the article………………………..
  • Qualifications for Being a Condo Association Board Member
    If you live in a condominium association, you may see signs encouraging residents to run for a board member position. Being on a condo association’s board is incredibly important, as you are part of a group elected and responsible for the property, business of the condo, and ensuring bylaws are followed and community members are happy.  Read the article………………………..
  • Tips for an Effective Virtual Annual Meeting
    Annual meetings are a requirement for all HOAs as outlined by the Homeowner’s Association Act. These meetings should give residents enough notice to attend (at least 14 days before the meeting), and will cover important information like budget updates, amendments to current governing documents, and new board member elections.   Read the article………………………..
  • Boards have to watch their Officers – Florida Condo President arrested 3 times for hiding cameras in homes
    What a way to wake up on Christmas morning. Happy holidays to all.  Robert Orr, president of the Las Brisas Condominium Association in Florida was arrested for the third time for installing hidden surveillance cameras in owners homes. I can understand the first time, but three times. Here is the article. Mr. Orr ought to hire himself a criminal defense attorney, but the condo association should put their insurance carrier on notice in case the victims decide to point their fingers back at that board for not taking action to remove President Orr after the first, then second arrest. Three times is a charm and perhaps the owners will take action if the board isn’t willing to do so.   Read ...
  • Can Florida Condo Insurance Exclude Water Damage?
    From accidents to severe weather, condo insurance often covers many perils, including certain types of water damage. But homeowners might wonder, “Can Florida condo insurance exclude water damage?” In some cases, yes.   Read the Q&A……………………………….
  • Senate Bill 4-D Glitches That Must Be Addressed
    Despite the Florida legislature’s best efforts, there nevertheless remains confusion with the interpretation of Senate Bill 4-D (SB 4-D), which provides for condominium and cooperative milestone inspections and structural integrity reserve studies. The purpose of this article is to draw attention to many of these glitches in hopes that the 2023 Florida legislature will address these issues by passing a glitch bill to provide needed and worthwhile clarity for Florida’s community association board members affected by this game-changing legislation.   Read the article………………………..
  • Florida Appellate Court Enforces Rules on Mediated Settlement Agreements
    In November, the Second DCA refused to enforce a mediated settlement agreement that, although signed by the attorneys for both parties to the agreement, was not signed by either of their clients—Parkland Condo. Ass’n v. Henderson, ___ So. 3d ___, 2022 WL 16954010 (Fla. 2d DCA Nov. 16, 2022).  Read the article………………………..
  • The Difference between Bylaws vs. Operating Agreements (FL)
    Discover how these documents compare and how they influence internal operations and external interactions.   Read the article………………………..
  • Florida Condominium Laws Require Insurance or Fidelity Bond to Reimburse Stolen Association Funds
    Recent articles in the Miami Herald and Insurance Journal reported on massive fraud from a Condominium Association by its officers, board members, and leaders. The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office said it had charged five current and former association board members with racketeering violations, grand theft, money laundering, and fabricating evidence. In addition, two vendors were criminally charged for receiving payments from the fraudulent invoices, which totaled over $1.2 million.   Read the article………………………..
  • Excuses, Excuses, Excuses (FL)
    I have heard lots of excuses over the years about so many different things. Here’s a few that simply don’t work:  My assessments should be less — I don’t use the elevator  Read the article………………………..
  • How A Luxury Miami Condo Complex Climate-Proofed Their Foundation (And Accidentally Became A Social Media Focal Point In South Beach)
    “It’s essentially a cruise ship we maintain daily,” says Rishi Idnani, referring to The Continuum, a luxury condo complex on Miami Beach where he is Managing Director. The two-tower, 13-acre beachfront property recently underwent a massive infrastructure improvement 20 years after the building was completed, with a focus on keeping one step ahead of the weather elements that threaten the concrete foundation as well as modernizing the grand entryway.   Read the article………………………..
  • Why Can’t We…
    Unit owners often move from private homes and do not understand that the condominium form of ownership in Florida is somewhat unique. In many instances some individual liberties must be curtailed for the good of the community as a whole.   Read the article………………………..
  • HOAs Suing as Representative of Owners are Bound by Arbitration Provisions in Owner Sale Agreements and Deeds (FL)
    Earlier this year, we published an article titled Covenants to Arbitrate Construction Defect Disputes Within a Deed Run With the Land Obligating Subsequent Parcel Owners wherein the Florida Supreme Court held that an arbitration covenant contained in a developer’s original deed also bound subsequent owners. The same principle applies to homeowners’ associations suing as representative of their owners.   Read the article………………………..
  • Florida, Statutory Immunity
    The Third District Court of Appeal of Florida, on October 19, 2022, in Bal Harbour Tower Condominium Association, Inc. v. Bellorin, determined that an employee of a valet service could not maintain a negligence lawsuit against a condominium association for injuries sustained while working on the condominium premises. The court, relying on Florida statute 440.10(1)(b)—which provides statutory employer status to contractors with respect to employees of subcontractors hired to perform the contracted work—found that the association was a contractor to the valet service under the statute. Because the association was contractually obligated to provide valet services to the condominium residents and subcontracted that obligation to the valet’s employer, the court concluded the association was the valet’s statutory employer and entitled ...
  • Characteristics of Great Community Association Presidents
    A well-functioning community association board requires dedicated directors who are all doing their part to help make their enclave the best it could possibly be. Each of a board’s members and officers, which generally include the president, vice president, treasurer and secretary, play vital roles and make essential contributions to the administrative and financial wellbeing of their association.   Read the article………………………..
  • Time to Pay the Piper: New Mandatory Reserve Requirements for Florida Condominiums
    Florida law requires every condominium’s annual budget to include both operating expenses and reserves for capital expenditures and deferred maintenance. Operating expenses are those incurred during the day-to-day operations of the condominium (e.g., landscaping, pool maintenance, and management fees). Capital expenditures and deferred maintenance, on the other hand, are those incurred during the sporadic repair or replacement of major components of the condominium property (e.g., the roof, parking lot, and exterior painting).   Read the article………………………..
  • Is fraud occurring in your HOA? Red flags to watch for and how to file a complaint (FL)
    Do you suspect your homeowners association is misusing your money?  People who live in an HOA community elect a governing body tasked with overseeing day-to-day responsibilities, such as maintenance of shared amenities, collecting fees and enforcing rules.   Read the article………………………..
  • Why You Might Need Flood Insurance When You Live in a High Rise Condominium Next to the Ocean (FL)
    High rise condominiums next to the ocean are subject to storm surge and erosion. While rare, I have represented a number of condominiums that collapsed during a hurricane event.  Read the article………………………..
  • Hurricane Ian Cleanup and Restoration Work Issues (FL)
    It has now been over a month since Hurricane Ian made landfall in Southwest Florida, causing historic levels of damage to our community. Some of the most shocking damage from Hurricane Ian was due to its unprecedented levels of storm surge, causing flooding in large portions of Southwest Florida. However, our community has responded in an amazing fashion to begin the cleanup and restoration work. However, there is a long road ahead for many community associations   Read the article………………………..
  • What Can an HOA Do When a Homeowner Refuses to Pay HOA Fees? (FL)
    Homeowners association fees are due on a monthly basis and utilized by the homeowners association (HOA) to maintain and improve the property and/or the neighboring area. HOA fees vary depending on where the property is located and can range anywhere between $100 to even $1,000 per monthRead the article………………………...
  • Why Board Members Need to Understand The Difference Between Religious and Secular Holiday Displays
    If your community association installs a holiday display, is that holiday display considered religious or secular? Are Christmas trees, menorahs, Nativity scenes, or the Kikombe cha Umoja (the Unity Cup used during Kwanzaa celebrations) considered religious or secular? How can you tell the difference? Why is the difference so very important to understand?   Read the article………………………..
  • Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Condominiums with Substantial Structural Deterioration (FL)
    For five months now, Florida condominiums with buildings that are three stories or higher have been on notice of F.S. §553.899, a new statute adopted within Senate Bill 4-D (“S.B. 4-D”) that requires periodic milestone inspections. This controversial legislation was enacted in response to the tragic collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida.   Read the article………………………..
  • Welcome mat or “No Pets”: HOAs struggle with support and service dogs
    Dogs have gotten a bad rap lately. So have condominium HOAs struggling to enforce their rules. Can’t the two just get along?  In the “emotional support” era, some dog owners have paid for the paperwork from a licensed mental health professional or doctor needed to make their canine a comfort or emotional support animal (ESA). The numbers skyrocketed, from about 2,500 in 2011 to more than 200,000 in 2019.   Read the article………………………..
  • Options for Dispute Resolution in Condominium Associations (FL)
    On July 1, 2021, changes to Florida law opened the door to allow condominium and cooperative associations a new option for addressing disputes between unit owners and the association through presuit mediation. Previously, certain disputes between condominium associations and unit owners (or cooperatives and unit owners) were required to be submitted to arbitration through the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (the “Division”) before filing a lawsuit.   Read the article………………………..
  • Enforcing the Rules and Regulations in Your Community: All Actions Have Consequences. How Prepared Are You to Enforce Them? (FL)
    Whether you live in a condominium, cooperative, or homeowners’ association, owners and their guests, tenants and invitees are bound by the association’s governing documents, which may include the declaration, articles of incorporation, and bylaws, and any rules and regulations. Prospective owners and tenants must understand what is required of them under these documents as they are bound to abide by the same.   Read the article………………………..
  • Can Your Local Government Ban Short Term Vacation Rentals? (FL)
    Southwest Florida is a prime location for people to bring their family and friends to vacation. Whether it’s the golf, beaches, or just the beautiful weather, Southwest Florida has solidified itself as a great destination for vacations. This has made tourism a major industry, and one of the biggest areas of tourism is hotels and rentals for families staying in the area.   Read the article………………………..
  • Electric Car Charging Stations: The Next Must-Have Amenity (FL)
    Among the many efforts underway to stem the oncoming tide of climate-related catastrophe is the increasing use of electric vehicles (EVs). While gas-powered cars are still the overwhelming majority of vehicles on the roads, EV technology is fast improving, and consumers are taking them seriously as an alternative to older, more polluting options. As more drivers switch to EVs, however, multifamily buildings and associations with parking facilities must address those drivers’ need for electric vehicle charging stations (EVCSs) to juice up those vehicles.   Read the article………………………..
  • Safeguarding Your Reserves: Key to the Financial Health of Your Association (FL)
    In our current environment of steeply rising costs, it’s more important than ever to safeguard your reserves to ensure that your association has sufficient funds available for immediate and future capital projects. Unfortunately, many association boards do not understand how to properly implement these safeguards, which leaves them in the position of struggling to fund important projects this year, next year and beyond.   Read the article………………………..
  • “When I Die and Go to Hell, I Want to See the Entire [Court of Appeal] Panel There to Greet Me!” (FL)
    From Rosen v. Tiffany of Bal Harbour Condominium Ass’n, Inc., decided yesterday by the Florida Court of Appeal, in an opinion by Judge Monica ordo, joined by Chief Justice Ivan Fernandez and Justice Edwin A. Scales, III:   Read the article………………………..
  • Senate Bill 4-D And The Champlain Towers South Disaster: A Problem In Response To A Problem (FL)
    On June 24, 2021, we witnessed one of the most disturbing events in recent memory. A residential condominium building in Surfside partially collapsed overnight leaving 98 people dead and the surviving residents without a home. The actual cause of the Champlain Towers South tragedy is still under investigation, but several disparate factors are likely to blame. The state took immediate action and appointed a task force to make recommendations on how to prevent a similar tragedy.  Read the article………………………..
  • Is Self-Help Required? (FL)
    While one of the primary functions of an association is to maintain and enforce the owners’ obligations imposed upon them by the association’s governing documents, the association itself is usually not required to the perform the work necessary to fulfill the owners’ obligations.   Read the article………………………..
  • After The Storm—Does Your Condo Have to Hire an Engineer or Architect? (FL)
    What should the Association do after the storm about the damage? This initial common question is important and invariably leads me to tell Association Boards to check the Association Declarations and By-Laws. Most have guidance about steps that must be followed.   Read the article………………………..
  • Condominium Unit Owner Insurance (FL)
    Do you think you do not need condominium insurance because your condominium association has it? You would be so very wrong if you do! It has happened more times than I can count  Read the article………………………..
  • Unlicensed Contractors: What You Need to Know (FL)
    Hurricane Ian made direct landfall in Southwest Florida, destroying thousands of homes and buildings. The destruction will now require the mobilization of hundreds of contractors in the construction industry. Unfortunately, a tragedy like Hurricane Ian will also attract a number of unlicensed contractors who will try and take advantage of desperate victims trying to rebuild their homes and businesses.   Read the article………………………..
  • 7 Expert Tips to Ensure a Successful Budget Season for HOA’s and Condos
    Creating a budget is essential for the overall health of a Homeowner’s Association (HOA) or condominium association. A well-planned budget allows the community to share priorities, identify necessary operational requirements, and create spending guardrails. It also improves clarity when it comes to decision-making and offers controls when corrective action is required.   Read the article………………………..
  • Hurricane Ian Reconstruction and Redevelopment: Considerations for Condominium Associations, HOAs and Land Owners
    Hurricane Ian brought unprecedented storm surge and wind damage to Naples, Bonita Springs, Marco Island and Fort Myers Beach, leaving an unrecognizable footprint in its wake. And while the focus in the short term is on practical needs: finding housing for those who need it, restoring essential services, attending to the elderly, other issues also warrant attention.   Read the article………………………..
  • Helping to Alleviate Condominium Unit Owner Reservations About New Statutory Reserve Requirements (FL)
    The unanimous passage of Florida Senate Bill-4D was met with jeers, cheers and fears to some degree by nearly every Floridian who owns, manages, insures or advises a condominium property in the State. Among the most anticipated of the statutory changes to Chapter 718, Florida Statutes (The Condominium Act) in the aftermath of the Champlain Towers South Surfside tragedy is the new requirement in Section 718.112, F.S……..       Read the article………………………..
  • Hurricane Ian: Practical advice for communities in the aftermath of the storm
    Hurricane Ian pummeled Florida’s southwestern coast last week, causing dozens of deaths, generating widespread property damage, and knocking out access to basic utilities in communities across the state. Considered one of the worst natural disasters in the state’s history, cleanup, restoration, and rebuilding efforts are ongoing and will take some time.    Read the article………………………..
  • HOA dispute arises over responsibility for sidewalk repair (FL)
    The role of a homeowners’ association is to regulate certain matters within a Florida community, from maintenance of common areas to enforcement of regulations. This is done with the intent of maintaining the appearance of a neighborhood and protecting the property value of homes in the neighborhood. Disputes can sometimes arise when there is a conflict over who is responsible for certain areas, such as sidewalks.   Read the article………………………..
  • Let’s Go to the Numbers (FL)
    Afew weeks ago on the Condo Craze and HOAs radio show, I was sent a chart by a listener that showed that just under 50% of condominiums were funding a reserve account in full each month. As I was broadcasting this information, I felt that it sounded a little high. It turned out that I was referring to a national chart of condominiums, and not the State of Florida. Florida is apparently much worse and the actual figure is more like 10 percent at most. This is not good.    Read the article………………………..
  • Board of Director E-mails as Official Records Revisited (FL)
    Last year we published an article titled “Should Board Member E-Mails be Maintained in the Official Records?” Spoiler alert: the article concluded that based on previous Department of Business and Professional Regulation Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes (“DBPR”) rulings, the answer largely depended on whether emails that related to the operation of the association were solely between board members or emails between a board members and the manager.   Read the article………………………..
  • Your assigned condo parking space may be more valuable if it is transferable (FL)
    Read the article………………………..In the vast majority of Residential Condominium in Southwest Florida, the Developers have assigned certain parking spaces to certain units as limited common elements appurtenant to those units
  • Impact of Inflation on Community Associations
    Inflation is here and no apparent relief in our near future. According to the most recent data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics the annual inflation rate for the United States is 8.5%. This increase has slowed slightly with the recent decrease in gas prices, but materials, food and shelter costs continue to rise. Experts believe that these increases will continue and there is no mention of slowing anytime soon.   Read the article………………………..
  • How to Be an Effective Association Board Secretary
    Every board of directors, whether for a Fortune 500 company or your community association, needs a great secretary. Boards are required by law—and by the association’s governing documents—to maintain certain records for the sake of transparency. The secretary is responsible for maintaining those records accurately, including meeting minutes, bylaws and membership records.   Read the article………………………..
  • An Association’s Response to Those Persons Who May Need Some Additional Care in Living (FL)
    Some older individuals choose to live out their final years in their personal residences, alone, rather than in nursing homes or assisted-living facilities. Additionally, there are times that other residents may experience mental or physical health issues which make them unable to adequately care for themselves. Associations are often at a loss with how to handle these situations.   Read the article………………………..
  • Condominiums Have Power to Collect Assessments (FL)
    Florida condominiums are created by a declaration of condominium. The declaration must meet requirements set by statute and regulations and be approved by the State. Condominium associations rely upon assessments from unit owners to pay the bills. Each declaration of condominium includes provisions addressing assessments but Florida statutes control procedure.   Read the article………………………..
  • Condominium and Cooperative – Required Building Reporting (FL)
    Fla. Stat. §718.501(3)(a) and Fla. Stat. §719.501(3)(a) require all condominium and cooperative associations existing on or before July 1, 2022, to provide the following information Department of Business & Professional Regulation, Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares and Mobile Homes (“DBPR”):  Read the article………………………..
  • Community Association Statutory Meeting Notice Requirements (FL)
    In the first article in our series on community association meetings we addressed meeting basics, in this article we will dig deeper into statutory meeting notice requirements for homeowners and condominium associations. The statutory requirements addressed in this article are necessarily general – any particular association’s governing documents or specific situation can impact and change the required notices, content and methods of delivery for those notices.   Read the article………………………..
  • The benefits of EV chargers: What Florida property managers need to know
    While EV chargers aren’t mandatory for all buildings yet, Florida law requires that condominium associations accommodate owners’ requests for EV charging stations. This means if someone wants to install an EV charger, the association can’t stop them.   Read the article………………………..
  • Other New Condo Laws to Know – Part Three (FL)
    On or before January 1, 2023, condominium associations existing on or before July 1, 2022, must provide the following information to the division in writing, by e-mail, United States Postal Service, commercial delivery service, or hand delivery, at a physical address or e-mail address provided by the division and on a form posted on the division’s website:   Read the article………………………..
  • Issues that often lead to a dispute with an HOA (FL)
    The intent of a homeowners’ association is to manage certain aspects of a community, such as the maintenance of common areas, as well as protect the values of the homes in the community. While there are many benefits to an HOA, there may be times when the responsibilities and power of this governing body conflict with the best interests and rights of the homeowners. It is possible these situations could lead to disputes that may require legal action in order to resolve in a satisfactory manner.   Read the article………………………..
  • Increases from Insurance, Inspections and Reserves Rattling Many Condominium Communities (FL)
    A recent article in the Palm Beach Post chronicled the early signs of the financial strains that Florida condominium associations are beginning to experience. Unfortunately, these early issues involving increased insurance costs represent just the beginning, and things are indeed expected to get worse in the months and years to come.   Read the article………………………..
  • Ruling Shows Pitfalls of Associations Enacting Changes Without Required Votes (FL)
    It focuses on a recent ruling by Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeal that illustrates the potential consequences of associations that undergo alterations to their amenities and enact rule changes without the required vote and approval of their unit owners.   Read the article………………………..
  • Not My Building Not My Problem: Special Assessments, Cost of Repairs, and Who Has to Pay (FL)
    Condominium associations exist in high concentration throughout Florida, many of which are made of a collection of buildings, and not just a single tower. Damage to buildings happens, and insurance is not always sufficient to pay for all needed repairs. So, what if only one of the buildings is damaged? Is every member of the association required to pay for repairs or should only the residents of the damaged building be responsible?   Read the article………………………..
  • Community Associations: Self-Help or Injunctive Relief (FL)
    Based on a recent opinion from the Second District Court of Appeals, Community Associations should consider self-help/abatement rights to cure violations before filing a lawsuit for injunctive relief.   Read the article………………………..
  • SOME OTHER NEW LAWS CONDOS MUST FOLLOW – PART TWO (FL)
    DISTRIBUTION OF THE INSPECTION REPORTS – Upon completion of a phase one or phase two milestone inspection and receipt of the inspector-prepared summary of the inspection report from the architect or engineer who performed the inspection, the association must distribute a copy of the inspector-prepared summary of the inspection report to each unit owner, regardless of the findings or recommendations in the report    Read the article………………………..
  • Options for Dispute Resolution in Condominium Associations (FL)
    On July 1, 2021, changes to Florida law opened the door to allow condominium and cooperative associations a new option for addressing disputes between unit owners and the association through presuit mediation. Previously, certain disputes between condominium associations and unit owners (or cooperatives and unit owners) were required to be submitted to arbitration through the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (the “Division”) before filing a lawsuit.   Read the article………………………..
  • Issues that often lead to a dispute with an HOA (FL)
    The intent of a homeowners’ association is to manage certain aspects of a community, such as the maintenance of common areas, as well as protect the values of the homes in the community. While there are many benefits to an HOA, there may be times when the responsibilities and power of this governing body conflict with the best interests and rights of the homeowners. It is possible these situations could lead to disputes that may require legal action in order to resolve in a satisfactory manner.   Read the article………………………..
  • What can a homeowners association regulate?
    Before moving into a community with a homeowners association, a property owner will want to know the exact details and matters the HOA can and cannot manage. Depending on the details of the neighborhood covenant, an HOA may regulate everything from the colors of the home to the maintenance of the community pool. Each Florida homeowner will benefit from knowing where the authority of the HOA ends and their property rights begin.   Read the article………………………..
  • Eleventh Circuit Reiterates Availability of Postjudgment Rule 11 Sanctions (FL)
    The case of Huggins v. Lueder, Larkin & Hunter, LLC, Nos. No. 20-12957, 20-12959, 20-12961, 20-14320, 20-14318, 20-14319, — F. 4th —- 2022 WL 2679024 (11th Cir. July 12, 2022), was a consolidated matter that originated when the law firm Lueder, Larkin & Hunter (“Lueder”) represented a homeowners association seeking to collect delinquent fees from various homeowners,     Read the article………………………..
  • HOA License Plate Readers in Bay County Raise Privacy Issues
    Homeowners associations have started installing HOA license plate readers in Bay County, Florida. But, some organizations are raising concerns over privacy.   Read the article………………………..
  • Florida Structural Integrity Reserve Study and Funding Requirements: Frequenty Asked Questions
    Introduced and signed into law in May 2022, Florida Senate Bill 4-D establishes statewide structural integrity reserve study and funding requirements for condominium associations and cooperatives.   Read the article………………………..
  • Florida HB403: Can HOAs Stop You From Working From Home?
    The introduction of Florida HB403 has given homeowners more freedom when it comes to working from home. But, the bill has also resulted in concerns among citizens and homeowners alike.   Read the article………………………..
  • DBPR Increases Association Estoppel Certificate Fees (FL)
    The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) released the first five-year adjustment to Estoppel Certificate Fees permitted under Section 718.116(8)(f), Florida Statutes, of the Condominium Act and Section 720.30851(6), Florida Statutes, of the Homeowners’ Association Act for the maximum amount an association, or its authorized agent, may charge for preparation and delivery of an estoppel certificate.   Read the article………………………..
  • SOME OTHER NEW LAWS CONDOS MUST FOLLOW – PART ONE (FL)
    We all know by now the myriad of new safety laws condos that are 3 stories or more are required to follow. They include mandatory fire sprinklers or an engineered life safety system (for buildings 75 feet or higher only), a Phase One Milestone Inspection after 30 years and every ten years thereafter (25 years if the building is on the coast), a likely Phase Two Inspection which will result in required repairs to the structure and of course structural integrity reserve studies performed by an architect or engineer and the mandatory full funding of reserve accounts.   Read the article………………………..
  • Heath v. Bear Island Homeowners Association, Inc. 76 So.3d 39 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011)
    The importance of how language is drafted in covenants is at the heart of THIS CASE. Heath, a resident of Bear Island and as such a party to the Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions (“Declaration”), filed a lawsuit for injunction against the association and one of its directors.    Read the article………………………..
  • Rules, Enforcement Are Keys to Reining in Bad Behavior, Promoting Safety in Community Pools (FL)
    In South Florida, the pool is an extremely popular and widely used community amenity. While community pools can be a great source of joy and relaxation for residents and their guests, they can also sometimes become a focal point of strife and confrontations.     Read the article………………………..
  • Condo Q&A: Ins and Outs of Insurance Coverage (FL)
    Question: I am an owner of a condominium in Palm Beach County. There was recently a fire in an adjoining unit that caused damage to my unit. What is covered by my insurance policy versus the condominium’s insurance policy?    Read the Q&A……………………………….
  • Condominium and Cooperative Milestone Inspection, Structural Integrity Reserves, and Mandatory Reserve Checklist and Worksheet (FL)
    Please find available here for download a “Condominium and Cooperative Milestone Inspection, Structural Integrity Reserves, and Mandatory Reserve Checklist” and “Condominium and Cooperative Milestone Inspection, Structural Integrity Reserves, and Mandatory Reserve Worksheet” for use in complying with new Florida statutory amendments to Chapters 553 and 718, Florida Statutes, enacted by Senate bill 4-D (2022) in response to the Champlain Towers South Condominium collapse.  Read the article………………………..
  • Covenants to Arbitrate Construction Defect Disputes Within a Deed Run With the Land Obligating Subsequent Parcel Owners (FL)
    In the case of Hayslip v. U.S. Home Corporation, — So. 3d —, Case No. SC19-1371 (Fla. Jan. 22, 2022), the Florida Supreme Court held that an arbitration covenant contained in a developer’s original deed also bound subsequent owners.   Read the article………………………..
  • What To Know A Year After The Surfside Collapse
    On June 24, 2021, the Champlain Towers South, a beachfront condominium in the Miami suburb of Surfside, Fla., partially collapsed, sending shockwaves throughout the industry and shedding new light on the true meaning of condo safety. Today, a little over a year after the terrible tragedy, a condo reform bill unanimously was passed in the effort to prevent similar disasters from occurring,   Read the article………………………..
  • Mandatory Condominium & Cooperative Building Inspections and Non-Waivable Reserve Requirements | SENATE BILL 4-D (FL)
    With home insurers leaving Florida in droves, and following pressure from members of both political parties in the legislature to actually do something about it, in May 2022, the governor called a special legislative session to address the problem. A very real concern to the insurers is the effect of both time and inclement weather on Florida’s aging high-rise buildings.   Read the article………………………….
  • Effective Association Record Keeping Begins with Concise, Complete Meeting Minutes (FL)
    Community association board meetings are where the rubber meets the road for practically all association administrative matters. The agendas for these meetings and the minutes that ensue form a vital record of all the matters that have come before the directors of an association over the course of the entire lifespan of a community.   Read the article……………………….
  • Disputes in Community Associations: Arbitration, Mediation, or Litigation? (FL)
    Disputes within community associations were originally treated like other civil disputes, requiring litigation when the parties could not agree. The law evolved to now require certain types of “alternate dispute resolutions” for community associations before the parties head to court   Read the article……………..
  • Florida Structural Integrity Reserve Studies – FAQs
    Here are some common questions about the newly instituted Florida Structural Integrity Reserve Studies:    Read the Q&A……………………………….
  • The Association’s Responsibility for Wildlife in the Community (FL)
    As Floridians, we are familiar with various types of wildlife surrounding our neighborhoods. As new communities develop and expand into natural habitats throughout the state, interactions between residents and wildlife are increasingly common. Most of the time, these interactions are unproblematic, but dangerous incidents can, and do, occur.  Read the article………………………..
  • Mandatory Condominium & Cooperative Building Inspections and Non-Waivable Reserve Requirements | SENATE BILL 4-D (FL)
    With home insurers leaving Florida in droves, and following pressure from members of both political parties in the legislature to actually do something about it, in May 2022, the governor called a special legislative session to address the problem. A very real concern to the insurers is the effect of both time and inclement weather on Florida’s aging high-rise buildings  Read the article……………………………….
  • Electric Vehicle Charging Stations on the Common Elements (FL)
    Electric vehicles are now commonplace in our society and with the price of gas skyrocketing, more people will consider purchasing them. Condominium association directors should, therefore, expect owners to ask questions about electric vehicle charging stations (EVCS) on the common elements. Specifically, is the board able to install an EVCS on the common elements as a common expense? Are unit owners able to install their own EVCS anywhere upon the common elements?  Read the article………………………….
  • Statutory and Non-Statutory Reserves in Homeowners’ Associations (FL)
    Given the fiduciary responsibilities of directors and officers to the members of their homeowners’ association, it is important to understand when reserve funding is mandatory under the Florida Homeowners’ Association Act (Chapter 720, Florida Statutes).   Read the article………………………….
  • Florida’s Condominium and Structural Safety Law – 2022 Legislative Update
    After failing to pass legislation during the 2022 regular legislative session in response to the Champlain Tower tragedy, Florida’s legislature used an emergency legislative session intended to address Florida’s insurance crisis to pass building safety legislation for condominiums and cooperatives. House Bill 5D passed the Senate 38-0, and the House 110-0. Governor DeSantis signed the bill into law on May 26, 2022.   Read the article………………………
  • Residents told to evacuate for 3 days after fire in mechanical room of Hallandale Beach condo (FL)
    The Hemispheres Condominium has ordered their residents to evacuate the buildings for the next three days.  There are four buildings that have been impacted and a heavy presence of Hallandale Beach Police officers surrounding the area, Friday afternoon.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • How Florida’s New Legislative Changes and Building Safety Regulations Effect Condominium and Cooperative Associations
    During the recent 2022 Special Session, the Florida Legislature enacted key legislation that significantly impacts community association operations throughout the state, affecting millions of condominium and co-op owners.  It is critical that condo and co-op associations, management and the board of directors which govern them, review these changes and take the necessary steps to achieve compliance.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Florida HOAs and Rooftop Solar: Some Restrictions Apply (FL)
    Given Florida’s nickname as the Sunshine State, it is only fitting that solar energy would be the state’s most popular and effective source of renewable energy. In fact, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, renewable energy fueled approximately five percent of Florida’s in-state electricity generation in 2020, and almost two-thirds of that came from solar.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • New Statutory Requirements for Condominium Inspections Following the Collapse of Champlain Towers South in Florida
    Heightened statutory inspection and maintenance requirements in high-rise condominium buildings emphasize the critical importance of similar inspection and maintenance regimens for similarly situated properties.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Mandatory Building Inspections — Part 2 (FL)
    So last week we discussed the fact that the change in the law will now require every condominium building in the state that is 3 stories or higher and at least 30 years old (25 years old if within 3 miles of the coast) to undergo a Phase One inspection, every 10 years, by a licensed architect or engineer who is looking for visual signs of structural damage to the building.  Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Florida Enacts Major New Reforms for Condominiums and Cooperatives in Response to Champlain Towers South Collapse
    On May 26, 2022, Florida Governor DeSantis signed Senate Bill 4 into law, imposing substantial new structural safety and reserve requirements on Florida condominiums and cooperative associations. The law is effective immediately and is intended to prevent further disasters like the Champlain Towers South collapse in Surfside, Florida. The new requirements include:  Read the entire article……………………………….
  • What Does the Building Safety Act for Condominium and Cooperative Associations Mean for My Association? (FL)
    On May 26, 2022, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the Building Safety Act for Condominium and Cooperative Associations (“Building Safety Act”) into law. The Building Safety Act brings sweeping changes to Florida’s condominium and cooperative association laws, particularly regarding building inspections and reserves.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Who Repairs the Incidental Damages Caused by the Association? (FL)
    Imagine: the association has just informed you it is set to begin a massive concrete restoration project. As part of the project, the contractor will need access to the rebar beneath the concrete slab connected to (or in legalese, “appurtenant to”) your unit’s balcony. To access the balcony slab, the contractor will have to remove the custom Italian tiles you just installed on your balcony.  Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Can your association pay all its bills during the 2022 inflation storm? (FL)
    Most condos and homeowners’ associations prepared their 2022 budgets in the fall of 2021. At that time, the expectation was for 3-4% inflation in 2022. Unfortunately, we are now dealing with CPI inflation of 8.6% in 2022 and real inflation in South Florida feels even higher. Even if you included 5% contingency in your budget, there is a possibility you may come up significantly short this year due to some costs that increased significantly more, e.g., property insurance.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Community Association Liable for Negligently Installed and Maintained Bollard (FL)
    In one recent appellate court case, J.L. Property Owners Association, Inc. v. Schnurr, 2022 WL 39421 (Fla. 4th DCA, January 5, 2022), a developer was found not liable for injuries sustained by a bicyclist who collided with bollards installed by the developer on an association’s common area promenade.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • The New Cond Laws—-Mandatory Inspections—Part One (FL)
    If a community association manager or a community association management firm has a contract with a community association that has a building on the association’s property that is subject to s. 553.899, (the Mandatory Inspections statute) the community association manager or the community association management firm must comply with that section as directed by the board.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Rising Sea Levels Mean a Greater Likelihood of Flooding (FL)
    It’s no doubt that global sea levels have been rising over the past century, and the rate has increased in recent decades. The Ocean Service estimates that in most areas, the rise is about one-eighth inch annually – a rate that barely noticeable from year to year, even for long-term coastal communities.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Can We Give Them the boot? A Community Association’s Guide To Towing and Booting in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties
    Parking is one of the most common “hot topics” that community associations face, particularly with those communities that were built with insufficient parking facilities. Parking problems range from unauthorized vehicles to non-conforming vehicles and/or vehicles parked in prohibited areas. As an alternative to towing, many Associations are considering immobilization, also known as boot or booting, which involves placing a mechanical device on a parked vehicle, designed to be attached to the wheel or tire to prohibit its operation. To the extent an association is deemed to be private property, shouldn’t the association have the absolute right to boot offending vehicles? Not quite so.  Read the entire article……………………………….
  • How to Avoid HOA Fraud? Fla. Attorney Explains
    Many community associations leveling fraud charges had a single person receiving and paying bills. To stay safe, a system of checks-and-balances should be a fundamental part of day-to-day operations   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Condominium Boards and Ethics: The Top 5 Reasons Your Association Needs a Code of Conduct
    All members of a condominium association board have legal duties. These duties include a fiduciary duty of care and a duty of loyalty to act in the association’s best interests.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • The Special Legislative Session Brings Some Major Changes For Florida Condominiums and Cooperatives
    In a swift move during a Special Session, the Florida Legislature introduced and then unanimously passed legislation to reform Florida’s Condominium and Cooperative Acts (the “Acts”). Governor DeSantis convened the Special Session for an entirely different purpose – to address the growing property and casualty insurance crisis in Florida. Lawmakers,       Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Competitive Bid Requirements for Florida Condominium Associations (FL)
    Many Florida condominiums are responding to new inspection and structural-integrity requirements from lenders and insurers by planning for projects to bolster and repair their aging towers. For such major construction projects, competitive bids are literally a must, as they are mandated by Florida law. However, for very small associations as well as for some other types of services and contracts, obtaining competing bids from multiple vendors is not required by state law.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • The age of a CommunityAssociation opting not to fund reserves is coming to an end (FL)
    After the Surfside tragedy, everyone wanted to know how such a tragedy could happen and what steps could be taken to avoid similar incidents in the future. What caused the collapse? Could it have been avoided? Why were repairs not made? Why did local governments allow repairs to drag on? Why were repairs not made in a timely fashion? Unfortunately, none of these questions can be answered quickly, and proper answers will require years of study and analysis.  Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Special Session 2022D – Condominium Safety Update (FL)
    As Florida Legislators conclude their third Special Session of the year, new laws regarding two paramount issues in the state of Florida—property insurance and condominium safety—are set to be forwarded to the governor for approval.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Best Practices for the Use of Video Cameras (FL)
    If an association undertakes the use of video cameras for its community, it should consider the following issues and measures:  Read the entire article……………………………….
  • The Worst Storm Is the Storm You Didn’t Prepare For (FL)
    With hurricane season quickly approaching, it is important that you prepare for the worst (and hope for the best)! Hurricane season is June 1 through November 30. This article will provide tips to help prepare your 2022 hurricane preparedness guide, as well as provide actions that you can take before a hurricane makes landfall. The time is now to prepare your community for every possibility.Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Can You Repeat That? Is Your Condominium in Compliance? (FL)
    It is essential for condominium associations to ensure that their buildings are in compliance with the requirements of the Florida Fire Prevention Code (the “Fire Code”).  Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Tips to Consider in Preparing Your Community Association for a Fiber Network: The Present & the Future of the Internet and TV (FL)
    The Present: These days, we are driven and focused on data and media consumption. The fiber optic technology continues to strengthen and the need for gigabit speeds becomes more and more evident.  It is important to engage with a telecommunication service provider that specializes in community associations offering bulk discounted rates    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Can My Association Fundraise With a 50/50 Raffle? (FL)
    Is your association breaking the law? 50/50 raffles are fundraisers commonly hosted by community associations. These raffles are often very successful and generate significant engagement as half the proceeds go to the raffle winner. However, if your association is hosting a 50/50 raffle, the association is most likely breaking the law. This blog will provide an overview of the legal pitfalls of the 50/50 raffle and how your association may be able to host one while staying on the right side of the law.  Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Florida Legislature Passes Comprehensive Condo Safety Legislation
    The Florida legislature unanimously passed comprehensive and meaningful condominium safety measures to support the 9 million Floridians living and working in community associations.  Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Bill passed by Florida legislature and signed – Condo safety legislation
    This was the bill  passed in the Florida Legislature (May 25, 2022) that came about because of the condominium collapse in Surfside, Florida.  This is a PDF of the entire bill. The changes are underlined.     Read the PDF………………………………..
  • Assessments Past Due? What Should You Do Before Sending to Your Attorney for Collection Action? (FL)
    Reviewing the association’s financials on a regular basis is one of the cornerstones of managing an association and fulfilling one’s duty as a board member. Ideally you will not have any delinquent accounts to address, but in the real world, there are usually a few owners who have failed to pay their assessments.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Tips for Pool Season
    Although it’s pool season year round in South Florida, it’s also helpful to follow these tips as the weather heats up and we see an influx of more residents and guests. The following tips will guide you when keeping your pool area safe.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Impact of 2022 Legislative Summary on Community Associations
    The 2022 session of the Florida Legislature was statistically slightly above average with 1700 bills considered in its 60-day session. A total of 238 bills were passed by both houses and will be presented to the governor for his signature. Thirty bills were filed that could have impacted community associations. For residents of condominiums, the most significant impact of this legislative session is found in what did not pass.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Condominium Associations Suing on Behalf of Homeowners Must Abide by Arbitration Provisions
    The defendant, Lennar Homes developed Martinique at Oasis, a residential community located in Homestead, Florida comprised of 241 condominiums. Lennar Homes sold each of the units in the community to individual homeowners. Each of the purchase agreements between Lennar Homes and the homeowners contained an arbitration provision,   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Associations Assignment Authority to Management Agent Confirmed (FL)
    In Seaside Town Council v. Seaside Community Development Corp, 1D19-755 (Fla. 1st DCA 2021), Florida’s First District Court of Appeal (“DCA”) reversed the trial court’s judgment in favor of Seaside Community Development Corp. (“Developer”) holding that Seaside Town Council (“STC”), as the management agent with assignment of enforcement right by the associations, had standing to sue the Developer for failure to pay assessments.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Association Can Assign Enforcement Authority to a Manager
    Seaside is an 80-acre development in Florida. In the 1980’s the developer recorded declarations for nine separate neighborhood associations. The language in each of the declarations are identical, providing the association with “the right to enforce, by any proceedings at law or in equity, all restrictions, conditions, covenants, reservations, liens and charges now or hereafter imposed by the provisions of this Declaration.”   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Condo Boards Can Make Mistakes (FL)
    Condominium living has a lot of benefits. Many condominiums have socials and other activities. Associations manage amenities that might not be available in a single-family home. Someone else takes care of painting, mowing, pool maintenance and the unit owner only has to worry about the inside of the owner’s unit.  Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Homeowners Associations and the Marketable Record Title Act (“MRTA”) (FL)
    Chapter 712, Florida Statutes, the Marketable Record Title Act (“MRTA”), presents a mortal risk to Florida homeowners association, potentially rendering them unable to levy and collect assessments or otherwise enforce their governing documents.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Community Associations Can Sink or Swim Based on Their Rules and Regulations Related to Children and Swim Diapers
    In January 2022 a Florida couple, Jack and Simone Yeager, who own a home in a Boynton Beach country club, in conjunction with their adult son, David Yeager, and his wife, Nicole Fisher, filed a lawsuit against a South Florida property owners association for allegedly discriminating against them based upon familial status.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Condominium Association Liable for Construction Defect it Had a Duty to Maintain
    The plaintiff, James Schnurr, and his wife were riding their bicycles in the Jonathan’s Landing community when Mr. Schnurr struck a bollard that was installed just before the promenade they were riding along crossed a roadway. Mr. Schnurr fell off his bicycle and fractured his neck.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Significant Changes in Mortgage Underwriting Immediately Impacts Florida Condominiums
    As a result of the Champlain Towers South collapse, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have imposed new requirements for mortgages obtained for condominiums and cooperative residential units. These requirements will make it harder for existing and new condominium unit owners to obtain mortgages.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Board Member to Board Member Emails—Are They Official Records? Division of Condominiums Muddies The Waters (FL)
    In January 6, 2022, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), through the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes (Division), entered a Final Order Granting Petition for Declaratory Statement in the matter of In re: Petition for Declaratory Statement, James Hanseman, Petitioner (the Hanesman Declaratory Statement).   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • The Pooled And Component Methods Of Reserve Funding For Community Associations (FL)
    Florida law requires reserve funding for certain community association common elements. Condominium associations are required to fund reserve accounts for roof replacement, building painting, pavement resurfacing and any other item that has a maintenance expense or replacement cost exceeding $10,000. Fla. Stat. § 718.112(2)(f). Homeowners’ associations are required to fund reserve accounts for any item where a statutory reserve account has been established.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Community Association Meeting Basics (FL)
    This is a first in a series of articles on community association meetings. In this first article, we address the basics of community association meetings – why they are necessary and the basic components of a meeting. Future articles in this series will go into more detail on each of the meeting components, how a meeting is run, and what to do when mistakes are made in the meeting process.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Three Common Covenant Enforcement Defenses – Waiver, Estoppel, and Selective Enforcement
    Associations frequently find themselves in a position of strength when they wish to enforce violations of their convents. Where the terms of a covenant are unambiguous, courts will enforce such restrictions. However, it is not uncommon for an owner who has violated the covenants to scramble for defenses to try to justify his or her violations and give the association pause in its resolve to pursue enforcement.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Reserve Funding for Condo Associations: Options and Best Practices (FL)
    Millions of Florida residents live in condominium units, be they stand-alone villas or penthouse units in a 30-story building. Irrespective, Florida Statutes section 718.112(2)(f) provides a default rule that condominiums must reserve fund balances to repaint, resurface the roads, replace the roof, and perform any deferred maintenance or replacement that costs more than $10,000.
  • Distinguishing between maintenance responsibility and financial responsibility in the wake of damage to condominium property (FL)
    Forgetting to turn on the air conditioner before heading back up north for the summer and coming back to find mold growth.  An undetected pipe leak.  Forgotten running faucets that spill over onto the floor and beyond.  Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Gated Community Guards Don’t Guarantee Security (FL)
    Some people who live in gated communities get a false sense of security that they are “safe” because they live behind the gates and there are “security guards” at the gate. They probably don’t understand that their community is just providing gate guards to control access through the front gate, but they do not guarantee any “security” is being provided.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • 10 HOA Rules that Break the Law (FL)
    While homeowners’ associations (HOAs) adopt and enforce rules, they are also subject to rules themselves. In fact, there are numerous rules that govern HOA practices at the local, state and federal levels. When adopting and enforcing rules, HOAs need to be very careful to ensure that they are complying with the law—as failure to do so has the potential to lead to costly, time-consuming and publicized litigation.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Florida’s Safe Harbor – Calculating Bank Liability for Delinquent Assessments After Foreclosure of Multiple Condominium Units
    The real estate market has seen a tremendous influx of large companies purchasing multiple units and lots within an association, and addressing delinquencies that began prior to transfer of title can be complicated. Just as Florida statutes layout the process by which associations can collect unpaid assessments from current owners, it also regulates how outstanding delinquent assessments may be collected against new owners following transfer of the property.  Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Does the Class Action Fairness Act Allow Appeals of Sua Sponte Remand Orders?
    A recent Eleventh Circuit decision on the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) caught my eye. It involves the kind of question legislators (and their staffs) probably never think about when drafting a statute. Law professors dream up these types of questions when trying to find a way to puzzle their students on an exam. It’s of interest only to nerds of the law.  In Ruhlen v. Holiday Haven Homeowners, Inc., No. 21-90022, — F.4th –, 2022 WL 701622 (11th Cir. Mar. 9, 2022), the question was whether the trial court’s order remanding the case to state court “sua sponte” — Latin for “of its own volition” — could be appealed.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Defendants in Civil Actions May Assert the Business Judgment Rule Without Pleading an Affirmative Defense (FL)
    On February 23, 2022, the Florida Third District Court of Appeal issued its opinion in New Horizons Condominium Master Association, Inc. v. Harding, and held that under Florida law a defendant does not waive the protections afforded by the business judgment rule even if the defendant did not plead the rule as an affirmative defense. In its opinion, the Third District analyzed case law from around the country to formulate a detailed explanation of the protections afforded by the rule and why it applies by operation of law.      Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Another Stunning Grand Jury Report About Florida Condominiums
    I’ll tell you something – I give a lot of credit to Kathy Fernandez Rundle, The State Attorney for Miami-Dade County. She actually prosecutes cases of condo fraud, years ago she assembled a grand jury to make recommendations to the state legislature regarding condo crimes, kickbacks, conflicts of interest and the grand jury’s findings turned into legislation ———- and now, in light of the tragedy in Surfise at The Champlain Towers collapse where 98 innocent people lost their lives —– she assembled another fact finding grand jury, this time to investigate the laws regarding inspections of our buildings and how we waive reserve funds.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Some Condo Boards Refuse New Mortgage Questions
    Can the condo world live without mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and their more affordable financing terms?  A fast-developing crisis is hitting condominium association boards and property management companies across the country tasked with filling out Draconian questions required of HOA property management companies.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Attorney-Client Privilege: Are Litigation-Related Communications Between An Association, Attorney, and Management Protected? (FL)
    The attorney-client privilege is one of the oldest and most respected privileges in the law. The purpose underlying this fundamental privilege is to ensure that clients receive accurate and competent legal advice by encouraging full disclosure to their lawyer without fear that the information will be revealed to others. The privilege covers written and oral communications and protects both individual and institutional clients including community associations.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • “Honey, those neighbors are at it again! Call Code Enforcement!” (FL)
    There was a time, not so long ago, when Floridians could easily, and anonymously, report known or suspected violations of local ordinances and regulations to code enforcement. Neighbors could report their concerns about abandoned or unsafe structures, building without permits or by unlicensed contractors, unpermitted uses of property, noise violations, storing inoperable vehicles and junk, and letting the grass grow too tall.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Grandfathered Rental Rules for Condos and HOAs? (FL)
    For years, new condo rental restrictions applied only to current owners who voted for them, but new HOA restrictions were effective for everyone. That changed last July when HOA owners who rent out units received somewhat similar protections.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • A Case Study in Ending Speeding in Community Associations
    Speeding within communities is a dangerous concern for most HOAs. This is especially true for large communities consisting of long, wide roads that may tempt some drivers to hammer down on the gas pedal. This speeding concern became a critical issue that a large, gated HOA decided to act upon. The Board of Directors felt that something had to be done before someone got hurt.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Will The Association’s Denial Of An Architectural Request Withstand Challenge? Many Won’t—Find Out Why (FL)
    For many homeowners associations, a top priority is ensuring that the homes in the community are maintained in conformity with the “community-wide standard.” But, what is this subjective standard? How is compliance measured? What is the process to be judged when a request to the association’s architectural review committee (ARC) is made?    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Homeowner’s Lawsuit Against HOA for Libel, Defamation Illustrates Dangers of Conflicts Getting Personal (FL)
    When disagreements and disputes arise amongst those who serve on community association boards of directors, emotions can run high in light of the impactful nature of the decisions made by such directors. However, as association directors are duty bound to act in the best interests of their community and its owners, they should seek to avoid engaging in personal spats and attacks with one another and the owners that could lead to potential legal liabilities for the association.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • To Insure or Not to Insure? – Determining the Association’s Insurance Obligations in Townhome Communities (FL)
    A frequent area of concern and dispute among owners and board members of townhome communities is the scope and extent of the association’s obligation to obtain and maintain insurance over the townhome property and the individual townhome buildings.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • The Towers and the Ticking Clock
    Lengthy NY Times article on Florida condo dollapse.  You will need to register, but its free   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Important Takeaways for Community Associations from TV News Report on Rules Enforcement (FL)
    A report that aired in late November on 7News (WSVN-Fox) in South Florida focused on a local renter in a dispute with her condominium association over her motorcycle. While the property’s rules ban motorcycles, the tenant had apparently been explicitly told she would be allowed to keep and park her motorcycle at the property prior to signing her lease.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • The Association’s Responsibility for Wildlife on the Property (FL)
    As Floridians, we are familiar with various types of wildlife surrounding our neighborhoods. It’s not uncommon to spot feral cats and ducks while walking the dog, or large iguanas out on the golf course. And let’s not forget about the numerous alligators, as well as coyote and black bear sightings. As new communities develop and expand into natural habitats throughout the state, interactions between residents and wildlife are increasingly common.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Can You Have Rules Dealing With Children? (FL)
    In 1988, Congress added “familial status” – defined as including those family groups with children under 18 – to the list of protected groups under the Fair Housing Act. Since that time, condominium and homeowner associations have been discovering that their various rules regulating or prohibiting the use of the association’s facilities by those under 18 years of age may be prohibited by federal law. Rules once considered common and reasonable in the early 1980s, that is, rules which employ a specific age to regulate minor residents’ use of the pool, gym, or other areas, could, after the passage of this federal law, result in legal action against the association on behalf of owners with children under 18.     Read ...
  • Tree Maintenance and the Potential Impact of Section 163.045, Florida Statutes
    In general, a community association is responsible for operating and maintaining the common areas of the community (in the case of homeowners’ associations), and the common elements (in the case of condominium associations). If there are trees located on these common areas/elements, the association’s maintenance duties will include trimming and even the removal of trees that may be dead or dying.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • More on the Installation of Security Cameras (FL)
    The installation of a security camera on condominium common elements is considered a material alteration or substantial addition to the common elements. In Sterling Village Condo., Inc. v. Breitenbach, 251 S.2d 685, 687 (Fla. 4th 1971), the court defined “material alteration or addition” as follows:    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Appellate Decision Upholds a Developer’s Right to Object to an Amendment to the Declaration (FL)
    Overview of First Equitable Realty III, Ltd. v. Grandview Palace Condo. Ass’n.  A recent decision of the Third District Court of Appeal, First Equitable Realty III, Ltd. v. Grandview Palace Condo. Ass’n, 46 Fla. L. Weekly 2199 (Dist. 3d DCA 2021) determined certain rights a developer has to object to amendments to a condominium association’s declaration. The Court determined that the developer, First Equity, had an express right to object and veto an amendment that attempted to shift the utility costs for coin operated laundry machines to the developer.     Read the entire article……………………………….
  • A Primer on Special Assessments (FL)
    There is an old saying that the two dirtiest words in community associations are “special assessment”. Board meetings at which special assessments will be discussed and imposed are often the only well attended meetings throughout the year in many communities. The reason for this is simple: Tell people they have to pay a special assessment on top of their regular maintenance and they often have questions about the reason for the assessment and objections to the additional financial burden.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Financial Management and Planning is Key to a Healthy Condominium Association (FL)
    We have all heard the old adage, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” The same is true when it comes to condominium associations—you cannot judge the “health” of a condominium association by its polished marble floors or its breathtaking gulf shore views. The true lifeline of a condominium association comes from successful financial planning, management, and budgeting that allows the association to provide a comfortable, positive, and safe living environment for all owners to properly maintain the property and to protect the value of the property over time.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Securing Your Gated Community | Exactly Who Is Allowed In? (FL)
    While living in a gated community can add peace of mind for the residents who live behind the gates, there are many important considerations for the association when crafting rules and regulations regarding who may and who may not be permitted to enter the community.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Connected Townhomes Administered by Florida HOA’s
    For decades after condos were first developed in Florida in the ’60s, developers desiring to build and sell connected townhomes (duplexes, triplexes, quadruplexes, etc) declared the buildings to condominium. Under the condominium regime, typically components of connected townhomes serving more than one unit (structural elements, walls, windows, roofs, and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing elements) were declared as common elements subject to the condo association’s maintenance and repair responsibility.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Aging Condo Buildings – Repair or Abandon (FL)
    Even if expensive, by statute necessary repairs cannot be avoided for aging condominium buildings. Allowing the buildings to deteriorate could constitute a material alteration for which a unit owner could take issue. Termination is a cumbersome process, but should it be considered for aging condo properties? Does repairing the buildings no longer make economic sense? Learn what alternatives associations have when faced with aging buildings…Repair or Abandon?   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • A New Era of Transparency? (FL)
    As a result of the recent tragedy at Surfside, the Condominium Law and Policy on Life Safety Issues Advisory Task Force (the Task Force) was formed to provide detailed recommendations to Florida lawmakers.     Read the entire article……………………………….  (page scroller is at bottom of PDF)
  • Condo Board is Required to Enforce the Rules (FL)
    Florida’s condominiums are governed by both Florida’s Condominium Act and their own Declaration of Condominium and rules. The Act’s requirements must be followed by all condominiums. Each condominium is governed by separate rules and regulations unique to that condominium.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Legislative Changes Opens the Door to New Options for Resolving ‘Disputes’ In Condominium and Cooperative Associations (FL)
    Earlier this year, the Florida legislature passed changes to Florida’s Condominium Act (Chapter 718) the Cooperative Act (Chapter 719), and the Homeowners Association Act (Chapter 720), Florida Statute. These amendments went into effect on July 1, 2021 and opened the door to allow condominium and cooperative associations a new option for addressing disputes between unit owners and the association through presuit mediation.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Drawing a Line in the Sand’ by Reviving Previously Unenforced Restrictions (FL)
    The previous boards failed to enforce the parking restrictions in the community, and now parking has become a nightmare. The new board would like to remedy the solution, but can the board begin to enforce a restriction that has not been enforced in the past?   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Community Association Statutory Pre-suit Alternative Dispute Resolution Requirements (FL)
    The question has been presented time after time, are we really required to participate in either a nonbinding arbitration or mediation prior to filing a lawsuit? The answer is not as simple as it seems.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • What Can a Homeowners’ Association Do to Keep Holiday Decorations from Staying Up All Year?
    The holiday season is a time of celebration. Homeowners often take part in the celebration by decorating their homes with a variety of decorations and lights to suit the season. However, these holiday decorations are often left out long after the season ends. This article will provide an overview of what a homeowners association can do to prevent these decorations from staying up all year without limiting the festivities.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • 5 Things to Keep in Mind When Negotiating a Construction Contract
    Before beginning a construction project, it’s imperative to craft an ironclad contract that protects all parties. Some things to keep in mind when negotiating a construction contract are:   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Fraud, Mismanagement, And Broken Rules – Who Do You Call? (FL)
    In most instances, the board or management team of a condo or HOA is equipped to handle the wide variety of issues that arise day-to-day, from a leaky roof to dealing with municipal bureaucracy. There are other, bigger issues—things like embezzlement and fraud, for example—that require experienced outside professionals to resolve.  Read the entire article……………………………….
  • New Fannie Mae Condo Safety Loan Requirements Are Early Indicator of Changes to Come
    The first major national condominium safety reform after the horrific tragedy of the collapse of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Fla., was announced in October when federal mortgage lender Fannie Mae said it will no longer back loans on units in residential buildings showing signs of structural deficiencies and deferred maintenance.  Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Lawyer Up
    Some boards only engage legal counsel when a situation has become dire. Others are overly cautious and call the attorney at the drop of a hat, but unusually high legal bills often lead to membership scrutiny.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Can a Condominium Association Evict a Tenant? (FL)
    Generally speaking, if an association’s recorded governing documents do not contain the authority to evict a tenant within the condominium, then the association probably does not have the power to do so, unless there is a separate written agreement delegating that authority from the unit owner/landlord.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • What are Deed Restrictions and When are They Enforceable (FL)
    As a real estate attorney, I’m often approached by clients purchasing a new property that are concerned with deed restrictions. They first want to know what deed restrictions (also known as covenants and restrictions) are, and second, they want to know whether such deed restrictions can be circumvented.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • FAQ: Construction Defects and Florida Statute 558
    Florida’s construction industry has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether it is newly constructed homes or renovations to existing homes, the construction industry has weathered the need for residential construction with surprising strength. However, the boom of new construction projects has accompanied an uptick in litigation concerning construction problems, such as design defects, poor workmanship and code violations.  Read the entire article……………………………….
  • City’s Approval of High-Rise Next to Surfside Condo Under Scrutiny (FL)
    The role that city officials played in allowing a luxury condominium to be built next door to the now-collapsed Champlain Towers building is under new scrutiny by plaintiffs and investigators.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Things You Should Know About Emotional Support Animal Laws in Florida
    Florida’s law on service animals is quite clear. It restricts the type of animal that qualifies for specific work with or without training. It has become a trend for the board operating pet-restricted communities to receive more requests for ESAs than they did previously.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Fannie Mae’s Temporary Requirements In Response To The Champlain Tower Collapse Will Have A Negative Impact On Condo Sales (FL)
    In the wake of the tragic collapse of the Champlain South Tower in Surfside, Florida, Fannie Mae has announced that it will no longer back mortgages of people trying to buy condominium and/or co-op units in certain buildings with aging infrastructure and significant deferred maintenance. On October 13, 2021, Fannie Mae issued Temporary Requirements for Condo and Co-Op Projects, significantly impacting loans secured by units in condominium and co-ops.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Preparing Documents an Association is Required to Provide to Prospective Purchasers
    In today’s market, homebuyers need to act swiftly and are often under time constraints dictated by the purchase contract. Thus, it is important for condominium associations to be prepared for when a prospective purchaser makes a request for documents that the association is required to provide (and know what an association is not required to provide) under Florida Statute 718.111(12).   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Turnover From Developer Control (FL)
    Anxieties amongst homeowners can run high at learning that their homeowners or condominium association will soon be going through turnover from developer-control. What is turnover, and what are its consequences?
  • Security Tips for Managing the Association’s Bank Accounts Online (FL)
    Increasing numbers of people and small businesses, including community associations, have switched to managing their bank accounts exclusively over the internet. Not surprisingly, these numbers surged even higher during the pandemic. While online banking has become common place, so have incidents of cybercrime and fraud. Banks of course use a variety of security measures to protect their customers’ accounts, but there are also steps that you as the customer should take to minimize risk.     Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Maintaining Asphalt, Concrete and Pavers (FL)
    Last week we discussed how heat and water damage asphalt. This week let’s discuss how to maintain the asphalt and concrete surfaces.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • What Condominium Associations Need To Know About The Life Safety Task Force Recommendations (FL)
    In light of the recent tragedy at Surfside, the Condominium Law and Policy on Life Safety Issues Advisory Task Force was formed to provide detailed recommendations to Governor Ron DeSantis and other lawmakers in an effort to prevent similar tragedies and to prioritize the health and safety of condominium association residents.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • High-Rise Condo Safety Reform Recommendations Appear, But Most Florida Municipalities Awaiting Statewide Changes
    Five months after the tragic collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium in Surfside, Fla., several major organizations have developed a number of high-rise condo safety reforms and recommendations. However, most Florida counties and municipalities appear to be holding off in expectation of statewide changes to legislation during the next legislative session that starts in January.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Condominium Association Denies Transfer of Ownership of Unit to Widow, Forces Sale to New Buyer (FL)
    Yet another highly questionable decision by a Florida condominium association has made local TV news.  The latest condo dispute to make the local evening news involves a New Smyrna Beach, Fla., owner who was denied the transfer of another unit at the same property from her late husband to her after his passing. According to a report by Channel 9 News (WFTV-ABC), Joan Cotton was denied the transfer of the additional residence that her late husband Jeffrey had owned for more than a decade by the board of directors for the condominium association for the Village of Colony Beach Club.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Maintaining Roads, Driveways and Parking Decks (FL)
    The intense Florida heat poses serious safety hazards and if not maintained properly, damages can progress to large cracks and potholes, neither of which you want in your parking lot, on your roads, or parking decks.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • When the President Thinks They’re King (FL)
    So all this talk about the Presidency lately has got me thinking about an issue that comes up every week in my practice for the past 30 years or so. I get a call from someone on a Board of Directors. And they tell me that they have a President on the Board who is a real dictator.     Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Association Responses to Requests for Information Regarding Condominium Structural Integrity (FL)
    In the wake of the devastating collapse of the Champlain Towers South Condominium in Surfside, Florida, many current owners and potential purchasers of condominium units are, understandably, requesting information from associations regarding the structural soundness of the condominium property. Although associations generally do not, and are not required to, release their official records to potential purchasers, they are obligated by Florida law to maintain and provide certain records and documents to owners upon request.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Don’t Want Your Association to Be the Next Rental Community? Then You Better Read This (FL)
    Many community associations throughout Florida struggle to deal with the increase in overnight and short-term rentals caused by the proliferation of online websites such as VRBO and Airbnb. As such, many communities fear being turned into “rental communities,” especially with so many large corporations buying homes in the South Florida area for the express purpose of renting them.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Florida Condo Associations Can Now Choose Pre-Suit Mediations for Certain Disputes, But Should They?
    Florida’s condominium laws were amended earlier this year to require that new association bylaws provide for alternative dispute resolution including mediation and arbitration, for many types of disputes.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Think Rules and Regulations Do Not Need To Be Recorded? Think Again!! (FL)
    Many Floridians live within a community operated by an association of some kind, be it a community of single-family homes under the jurisdiction of a homeowner’s or property owner’s association, or a condominium building maintained by a condominium association.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • “Sunshine Laws” for Condominium Associations (FL)
    Florida’s Sunshine in the Government Act, (“Sunshine Laws”) requires transparency and disclosure in government and business. Although the Sunshine Laws do not apply to condominium associations, the Florida Condominium Act (“Act”) found in Chapter 718, Florida Statutes, contains its own set of “sunshine” requirements for these communities, with transparency being the key to compliance. Issues generally arise in condominiums when there is or appears to be a lack of transparency between the board of directors and the association members.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Limited Common Elements: What Are They and Who Is Responsible? (FL)
    Condominiums generally consist of the following two components: 1) the units that are subject to exclusive ownership by one or more persons, and 2) the common elements, which are any areas not included within the unit boundaries. Unit owners, in addition to the exclusive ownership of their units, also own an undivided share in the common elements. Commonly, the association is responsible for the maintenance, repair, and replacement of the common elements at common expense, while the unit owners are each responsible for their individual units at their own expense.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Are Confidentiality Agreements or Other Restrictive Covenants Enforceable in Florida Real Estate Transactions?
    It is a common question whether certain restrictive covenants, such as confidentiality agreements, are enforceable in Florida. A restrictive covenant is a contractual agreement or provision designed to protect a party’s business interests and restricts what a party is allowed to do after the agreement is executed. See Proudfoot Consulting Co. v. Gordon, 576 F.3d 1223 (11th Cir. 2009).    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Emotional Support Animals – If It’s Aggressive, It’s Not Reasonable
    n 2015, Unit Owner’s dog, Maggie, was an 11-year old golden retriever. Maggie bit another dog living at the Association and had previously “displayed aggressive behavior or injured another dog” at the Association.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Electronic Board of Directors and Membership Meetings in a Post-Covid-19 World (FL)
    Well, it is not quite a post-COVID-19 world yet, but hopefully, it will be one day soon. We are, however, living in a post-governor-ordered-state-of-emergency world, meaning that the emergency powers granted to condominium, cooperative, and homeowners’ associations’ boards of directors by virtue of the governor’s emergency orders have come to an end, with this caveat:   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Tips For Associations Planning Large Repair And Construction Projects
    Maintaining the association’s common elements is one of the primary responsibilities – – and headaches – – for associations and their Board of Directors. The duty is so important, in fact, it comes up multiple times in the Condominium Act (Florida Statute Section 718.111(4) to maintain, repair, lease, and replace the common elements; Section 718.111(3) to maintain, manage and operate the condominium property).   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • EV Technology Presents Condo Associations With Dilemmas
    The developments in new EV technology are exciting for many people, but they have also led to unexpected issues for some condominiums. That’s the theme of an article published this month in the Florida Community Association Professionals journal.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Lake Management Tips (FL)
    Your lakes and ponds have many different functions and vary from community to community. For the most part, they collect sediment and flowing water during rainstorms, operate as fishing spots, and serve as beautiful ecosystems to enjoy year round. But when they are unmanaged, they can have physical and chemical imbalances that affect the lifespan of the waterbody and affect the surrounding ecosystem.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • A Condominium Board’s Conundrum When Levying Special Assessments (FL)
    Pursuant to Section 718.111(1)(a), the officers and directors of condominium association owe a fiduciary duty to the unit owners. This means they have a legal duty to make informed decisions for the benefit of the owners, act in good faith toward the owners, and not exceed their authority as set forth in the governing documents of the Association. Part of the board’s fiduciary duties is to properly maintain the common elements.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Condo/Co-Op/HOA Meeting Agendas & Notice Requirements (FL)
    Florida laws governing community associations require notice of meetings to encourage owner participation. Here is a helpful guide summarizing the notice requirements under statute; however, this guide is not intended to be all inclusive and is only for general reference.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Suppose Your Dec Does Not Have the Kaufman Language
    This is such an important topic that is often times difficult to teach. In a nutshell however, assume the following:  Your condominium or HOA was created in the year 2000. That was when your declaration of condominium or declaration of covenants was recorded.  Your declaration only adopts The Florida Condominium Act (Florida Statute 718) or The Florida Homeowner Association Act (Florida Statute 720) as it exists on the day the declaration was recorded. Your declaration does not contain language that also says the declaration automatically incorporates amendments to 718 or 720 as they are amended from time to time. This is known as “Kaufman” language.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Condo Association’s Denial of Gate Access Pass to 100-Year-Old Resident Draws Negative TV News Coverage in South Florida
    My colleague Laura Manning-Hudson wrote about a dispute involving pet chickens that received unwanted TV news coverage for a Boca Raton HOA in her last blog post. To help illustrate just how common such negative media coverage has become for community associations that make questionable decisions, my latest post just a couple of weeks later also focuses on another report by a local South Florida station involving disputed community association actions.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Community Associations Affected by the 2021 Legislative Session Part X (FL)
    This week continues our review of the 2021 legislative changes affecting Florida community associations focusing on two bills that address COVID-19 pandemic legal issues.  Senate Bill 72 took effect on March 29, 2021. This law was initially reported in this column on April 25, 2021. SB 72 outlines the legal process a plaintiff must follow to bring a claim based on an alleged COVID-19 infection from the defendant’s premises.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Report of the Florida Bar Condominium Law and Policy Life Safety Advisory Task Force
    The mission of the Task Force is to engage in information-gathering and fact-finding through the review  all aspects of Florida Condominium law, development , construction, association operations, and maintenance to determine if changes or additions to legislation and/or regulations could prevent or minimize the likelihood of another tragedy like the Champlain Towers South condominium collapse, or similar tragedies in the future.  The Task Force is not a decision-making authority and will not be investigating the cause of the Champlain Towers South building collapse.    Read the report (PDF)………………………………..
  • Condominium Associations Should Have Written Collection Policies & Procedures (FL)
    The 2021 legislative session brought some significant changes to the Condominium Act, the Cooperative Act, and the Homeowners Association Act. These changes went into effect on July 1, 2021, and many of them impacted the collections and foreclosure process for community associations.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • It’s the Manager’s Fault…Or Is It? (FL)
    Few professions have more demands placed upon them than that of the Florida licensed community association manager (CAM). Depending on whom you ask, the CAM is the organizer, rules enforcer, keeper of secrets (meaning confidential and statutorily protected information not limited to the medical record of owners and attorney-client privileged information), best friend, the “bad guy” (a frequent misconstruction), and the first person in the line of fire when things go wrong; in other words, the one who takes all the blame and gets little credit when things go right.  Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Is Your Association Prepared? Expect Supply Shortages
    There’s news once again reporting food and product supply shortages are on the horizon, if not already here, due to what can only be described as a logistics disaster. This morning’s news reported that there are thousands of shipping crates snarled in a logistical nightmare waiting to be off loaded with no relief in sight.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • In Florida, Petty Condo Politics Jeopardizes Residents’ Safety (FL)
    Half the balconies on the 23-story high-rise condominium building needed repairs, sometimes breaking off in pieces and threatening units below. To reduce the load, one owner was asked to move her plants inside and be patient until the spalling concrete could be fixed.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Electric Vehicles, Coming Soon to a Parking Area Near You! (FL)
    With the all-electric Ford Mustang Mach-E currently arriving at car dealers, and the Ford F-150 Lightning arriving next spring, as well as Toyota, Nissan, GM, Audi, and so many others car makers already producing all-electric versions of their vehicles, it seems that what used to be considered a niche for adventurous Tesla explorers may become far more commonplace far sooner than many people thought.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Manager’s Wisdom: How to Make Committees Work for Your Association
    We recently polled our property managers at Campbell about their experience with committees; what are the challenges and what tips make them successful.  Below is the feedback we received from our Campbell Property Managers, who average over 12 years’ experience in property management.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Community Associations Affected by the 2021 Legislative Session Part IX (FL)
    This week continues our review of the 2021 legislative changes affecting Florida community associations. Today we will cover Senate Bill 1966, which addresses budget procedures for condominium and cooperative associations, as well as two other bills of interest. These laws took effect July 1, 2021.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Could Your Association’s Insurance Policy be Cancelled due to the Roof?
    Many insurance carriers are taking a very hard look at roofs due to all the roof claims that followed Hurricane Irma in 2017. Insurance carriers are not taking risks on “questionable roofs.”   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • It’s the Manager’s Fault…Or Is It? (FL)
    Few professions have more demands placed upon them than that of the Florida licensed community association manager (CAM). Depending on whom you ask, the CAM is the organizer, rules enforcer, keeper of secrets (meaning confidential and statutorily protected information not limited to the medical record of owners and attorney-client privileged information), best friend, the “bad guy” (a frequent misconstruction), and the first person in the line of fire when things go wrong; in other words, the one who takes all the blame and gets little credit when things go right.  Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Commonly Requested Amendments (FL)
    Many Florida Condominium Associations, particularly older Associations, do not have the ability to fine unit owners for their failure to comply with the Condominium Documents. This has become a problem for may Associations who have learned that the only real way, absent a fining provision, to enforce the regulations set forth in the Condominium Documents is to engage in lengthy and expensive litigation.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Road improvement project leads to dispute with HOA (FL)
    The purpose of a community governing body is to maintain certain areas, such as neighborhood pools or the main roads throughout the development. In many Florida neighborhoods, the homeowners’ association has the right to make certain decisions about projects such as road improvement and maintenance. In one community, the efforts to fix problems with the roads has led to high costs and disputes between homeowners and the HOA.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • How to Hold Hybrid Zoom Board Meetings
    As COVID-19 restrictions have loosened on group gatherings, many are questioning the best way to continue holding board meetings. Holding the meetings virtually has increased participation from the community, but communities are eager to meet in person again. This has led many to ask the following: Is there a way to successfully host a meeting in-person, while also broadcasting virtually?   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • What is a “Fining Committee” and Who Can Be on It? (FL)
    Of all enforcement options available to an association for violations of its governing documents, the imposition of fines is one that yields many questions due to the strict procedures required to impose a fine. If the process is not followed properly, it may result in invalidation of the fine, and can also result in potential liability to the association.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • To Mediate or Arbitrate….? A New Pre-Suit Option for Resolving Disputes in Condominium Associations (FL)
    As most condominium association boards and managers are aware by now, Section 718.112(2)(k), Florida Statutes, of the Condominium Act, was most recently amended to require a condominium’s bylaws to include a provision for alternative dispute resolution as provided in Section 718.1255, Florida Statutes.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Hurricane Window Protection Policies & Local Regulations (FL)
    In the wake of Tropical Storm/Category 1 Hurricane Elsa, and with September being National Preparedness Month, hurricane preparations are top of mind for many owners and associations, as are considerations for how long hurricane shutters, plywood, or other protective window coverings should remain in place following an active threat of a storm.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Funding Community Association Repairs and Renovations (FL)
    Rather than kicking the can down the road in hopes that future boards will address worsening maintenance concerns, association directors are coming to terms with the fact that delayed repairs and maintenance are likely to exacerbate structural problems and increase the eventual costs, in addition obviously to the potential life-safety risks, to be borne by the owners.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Issues with the 558 Process (FL)
    Following the tragic collapse of Champlain Towers South, there has been much talk about Florida Statutes Chapter 558, which deals with the process condo/unit owners must follow to file claims for development defects.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • What a Florida Apartment’s Vaccine Requirement May Mean for HOAs and Condos
    Tenants of a Florida apartment are reeling over their management company’s requirement that they show proof of having a COVID-19 vaccine before moving in or renewing their lease, reports The Washington Post. The policy also applies to building employees as a condition of keeping their jobs.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • You received a subpoena for deposition, now what? (FL)
    A community association is required to keep and maintain certain records for the association. As a result, associations are faced with being ordered to turn over records in all types of lawsuits. What do you do if you are served with a subpoena will depend on the type of subpoena.     Read the entire article……………………………….
  • The association suddenly needs a lot of money. How do you get it? Which way makes sense? (FL)
    So many of our buildings are approaching the 40 year mark, requiring recertification in electrical and structural. Many buildings are younger yet still need major repairs to the concrete, balconies, pool decks and other portions of the common elements. The board is going to need a lot of money. Assuming you don’t have enough in reserves, how do you get it?    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Pesticides and Your Community (FL)
    There is a lot to consider when choosing a pest control company or even keeping a pest control company. The vendor needs to accommodate the needs and ensure the health and safety of all parties, whether they are elderly, children, individuals with certain respiratory or immune disorders, allergies, etc. If you allow pets in your community, even that must be taken into consideration. It’s important for you to ensure that you have a licensed and properly insured company to handle your pest control.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Omnibus Bill (SB 630) Brings Changes for Florida Condos, Cooperatives and HOAs
    This year’s large community association omnibus bill will likely become law. This bill, which bears an effective date of July 1, 2021, contains changes which will impact condominiums, cooperatives and HOAs. At more than 100 pages, we will discuss only some of those changes in today’s CALL Alert. This bill, along with all the others CALL has been tracking throughout the 2021 Legislative Session, will be summarized in our year-end Legislative Guidebook.  Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Developments Face More Scrutiny After Catastrophic Miami Condo Collapse (FL)
    The full consequence of the tragic Surfside, Florida, condominium collapse won’t be fully realized for years to come. For now, the deadly disaster at the Champlain Towers South stripped some luxury condominium buyers of the comfortable assumption that they’re buying a safely constructed property.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Will Aventura’s New Law Help Condominium Owners or Simply Expose them to Liability? (FL)
    The City of Aventura’s recently passed an Ordinance, which represents an effort to regulate structural oversight for community associations in the aftermath of the Champlain Towers tragedy in Surfside. The Ordinance requires community associations, including condominium associations and homeowners’ associations, to share all engineering, architectural, and life-safety reports that are conducted on a building with the City, which in turn is supposed to make these reports available for public viewing on a government-run website. The new law imposes this requirement on the “Responsible Person,” which is defined as the President of a community association, a property manager, or a qualified person designated by the President.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Maintaining Civility in Community Associations (FL)
    This past year has brought out divisiveness and discord at all levels of governance, including community associations. Although emotions always seem to run particularly high, community associations have been filled with neighbors with differing values, preferences, and opinions as to how the association should be run and maintained. Even pre-COVID, association governance could become intensely personal. The board makes tough decisions that impact members’ property values, enjoyment of the property, and quality of life   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Should Board Member E-Mails be Maintained in the Official Records? (FL)
    Both the Condominium Act and Homeowners Association Act delineate a list of documents or items that a community association must maintain as official records of the association. Both statutes also include a catchall provision (i.e., Fla. Stat. §720.303(4) and Fla. Stat. §718.111(12)(a)(15)) generally requiring retention of all records of the association not specifically included in the statute, which are related to the operation of the association.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Caring for the Financial Well-being of the Association (FL)
    To ensure the financial well-being of the association, boards and managers should focus on at least four factors in the association: budget, reserves, insurance, and collection practices. This article will take a brief look at each of these, but this is not a finite list. It is recommended that you consult with your association attorney and accounting professionals to ensure you are doing all that you can to address these and any other financial facets of the association in the best way possible for your community.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • What Associations Need to Know About Homestead (FL)
    Article X, Section 4 of Florida’s Constitution protects homestead property from many kinds of forced sales. However, since foreclosures of homestead properties for unpaid association assessment debts and for unpaid mortgage debts occur routinely, it is easy to see how many homeowners’ associations and condominium associations are lulled into thinking that constitutional homestead property protections do not apply to association matters.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • 2021 Legislative Review Part 4 (FL)
    This week continues our annual review of 2021 legislative changes, continuing the discussion of Senate Bill 630, which took effect July 1, 2021.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • The Subtle and Not-So-Subtle Differences Between Homeowners and Condominium Associations (FL)
    Florida has created an abundance of legislation governing homeowners’ and condominium associations. You would think that, by now, laws affecting both types of communities would have more parity than they actually do. (Please note that that commercial condominiums are not addressed in this article.)   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Report: Evidence of extensive corrosion in Miami-area collapsed condo
    Video released by a team of federal investigators shows more evidence of extensive corrosion and overcrowded concrete reinforcement in a Miami-area condominium that collapsed in June, killing 98 people.  The National Institute of Standards and Technology also announced Wednesday it will conduct a five-pronged investigation into the Champlain Towers South collapse, which will be led by Judith Mitrani-Reiser. She is a Cuban-born engineer who grew up in Miami.     Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Legislative Update for Condominium Associations and HOAs (FL)
    This past summer, the Florida Senate implemented several Senate Bills that were signed by Governor Ron DeSantis, which added new requirements for condominium, homeowners, and cooperative associations. While the below article is not comprehensive of all new legislation impacting housing associations, the following discusses Senate Bill 56 (new rules regarding foreclosures, liens, collection of assessments, invoices, and official records requests) and Senate Bill 72 (civil immunity for personal injury and wrongful death claims relating to COVID-19).    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Florida Senate Bill 56: Changes to Florida’s Condominium Association and Homeowners’ Association Collections Procedures
    On July 1, 2021, Senate Bill 56 went into effect along with Senate Bill 630. While both bills affect the laws governing Florida condominium and homeowners’ associations, Senate Bill 56, specifically, changed the collection and notification procedures for these associations. This article provides an overview of how Senate Bill 56 affected the manner in which Florida condominium and homeowners’ associations collect overdue assessments, record claims of lien, and provide notice to unit owners.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • A House of Cards: The Miami Condo Collapse Exposes a Dehumanized Mindset in the Built Environment
    On June 24th, 2021, the Champlain Towers South condo building in Surfside, Miami collapsed, killing 98 people. While the causes of the collapse are still under investigation, the building’s history of structural deficiencies is likely to have played a part. The Champlain Towers collapse is only the latest in a series of fatal building catastrophes which could have been prevented with proper oversight.  Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Condominium Association Boards: Why You Should Not Avoid Maintenance (FL)
    Disputes over the party responsible for the maintenance of various areas of a condominium complex are common. Disagreements frequently arise between unit owners and an association over whether the association or the owner is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of a particular area. This blog post provides an overview and summary of Florida law on the maintenance responsibilities of a condominium association as well as best practices condominium associations can take to meet these responsibilities and minimize liability exposure of association board members.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Community Associations Affected by the 2021 Legislative Session Part III (FL)
    This week we shall continue our annual review of the legislative changes which affect community associations, and continue with the main bill, Senate Bill 630, which took effect July 1, 2021. For the first two parts of the series, see Community Associations Affected by the 2021 Legislative Session, published on August 1, 2021, and August 8, 2021.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • The Impact of Airbnb in Community Associations (FL)
    The rise of Airbnb has been credited with an increase in unwanted guests in HOA communities. Many condominium bylaws restrict or regulate the ability to lease a condominium unit. The Federal Housing Administration’s Condominium Project Approval and Processing Guide requires that at least fifty-one percent of units be owned by owner-occupants. However, the advent of technological platforms (such as Airbnb) have resulted in an increase in short-term occupancies typically associated with hotels as opposed to the landlord/tenant relationship.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Surfside Collapse Should Serve as Call to Action for Condo Board Service (FL)
    Without a doubt, the tragic disaster of the collapse in Surfside, Fla., has impacted condominium association boards of directors across the country. In addition to board members’ grief for the 98 victims who lost their lives and their loved ones, many condominium directors have also grown concerned over the news of numerous lawsuits against the association for the Champlain Towers South.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • What Every Florida Community Association and Building Owner Needs to Know About Florida’s 10-Year Construction Defect Statute of Repose
    The recent tragedy of the Champlain Tower collapse in Surfside, Florida, has brought an even greater focus on building safety and maintenance by governments, building owners, and condominium and community associations throughout Florida. As efforts are made to inspect and ensure the safety of buildings across the state, building owners, and condominium and community associations in charge of managing and maintaining buildings, need to be keenly aware of section 95.11(3)(c), Florida Statutes.       Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Florida Building Collapse Highlights Serious Challenges Facing Condo Board
    The collapse of Champlain Towers South near Miami, built in 1981, has made owners and buyers nervous. The dream of living near the ocean has been interrupted by the fear that some buildings might not be safe, and that owners’ investments could be in danger. It also highlights the problems that condo, community, and home owners associations (HOAs) face all around the country.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Condominium Association’s Power to Suspend Voting Rights Called Into Question (FL)
    On June 2nd, 2021, Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal issued an Order in the case of De Soleil South Beach Residential Condominium Association, Inc. v. De Soleil South Beach Association, Inc., et. al., which may impact a condominium association’s authority to suspend voting rights for non-payment of assessments.
  • Sea rise under scrutiny in condo collapse
    Scraped clean of tons of rubble late last month, the bare garage floor of Champlain Towers South appears to rule out at least one early suspect in its catastrophic collapse.  There were no telltale signs of a sinkhole.  Read the entire article……………………………….
  • The Aging Condo Conundrum: Are Terminations the Answer?
    The tragic collapse of the Champlain Tower South Condominium brought a renewed sense of urgency to older condominiums facing a difficult dilemma: spend significantly on restoration, or accept the risks involved with living in an older building.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Fall Guy – Chasing William Friedman, the mystery architect who designed Champlain Towers South
    The June 24 collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida, left questions that will take years to answer: What caused the structural failure? What parties bear responsibility? What can be done for the survivors? And perhaps most critically: What other local buildings may also be at risk, requiring measures to prevent similar incidents, from urgent repairs to preventive evacuation and demolition?   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Assessing the Condition of Condominium Towers (FL)
    The recent tragedy in Surfside, Fla., has significantly impacted our firm and the communities we serve. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers remain with the victims and families affected by the Champlain Towers South collapse.  In the aftermath of this horrific catastrophe, many condominium association directors, members and managers have raised various questions concerning the safety and stability of their own buildings.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Condo Buyers Should Investigate What They Don’t Know (FL)
    Florida’s legislature mandates non-developer sellers of residential condominiums provide certain condominium records to a prospective buyer if requested by the buyer under a contract to purchase the condominium unit. The buyer has to be under contract to have right to the records. Buyers of residential condominiums from non-developers can terminate the contract up to three days after receiving the mandatory disclosure.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • The Subtle and Not-So-Subtle Differences Between Homeowners and Condominium Associations
    Florida has created an abundance of legislation governing homeowners’ and condominium associations. You would think that, by now, laws affecting both types of communities would have more parity than they actually do. (Please note that that commercial condominiums are not addressed in this article.)  Perhaps the most appreciative difference between a homeowners association and a residential condominium association is that the homeowners association exists in common law, but the condominium only exists because of legislation adopted by the Florida Legislature. That said, homeowners associations are subject to Chapter 720, Florida Statutes, and condominium associations are subject to Chapter 718, Florida Statutes. There is both parity and significant differences between these two Acts, the latter of which are further addressed below. ...
  • The Subtle and Not-So-Subtle Differences Between Homeowners and Condominium Associations (FL)
    Florida has created an abundance of legislation governing homeowners’ and condominium associations. You would think that, by now, laws affecting both types of communities would have more parity than they actually do. (Please note that that commercial condominiums are not addressed in this article.)    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • 11th Circuit Affirms Condo Tower Hurricane Damage Award That Disappointed Both Sides (FL)
    The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a jury verdict that found an insurer liable for $2.6 million in damages to a Miami condominium tower caused by Hurricane Irma, rejecting arguments made in appeals filed by parties on both sides of the dispute.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • How to Manage Bullying in your Association
    Bullying is defined as a form of aggressive behavior in which someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another person injury or discomfort. Bullying can take the form of physical contact, words, or more subtle actions. In recent months, during the pandemic, you often saw cyber bullying, which can occur over emails, social media and digital platforms and is often used to spread gossip and rumors, which can harm not only employee’s reputations but the reputation of the board or community.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Condominium associations react to tragedy in Surfside, Florida
    The devastating collapse of one of the Champlain Towers South 12-story beachfront residential condominium towers in Surfside, Florida, has prompted officials at the local, state, and federal level to assess what precautions should be taken – or mandated – to prevent similar tragedies. At present, the cause of the collapse is still unknown.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • After rainbow flag removal, Killearn homeowners board overturns controversial restriction (FL)
    After backlash over asking for removal of a rainbow flag from a home, the Killearn Estates Homes Association this week unanimously voted to rescind its controversial flag restriction.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • New Late Assessment Notice Requirement for Florida Condominium, Cooperative, and Homeowners’ Associations
    As of July 1, 2021, Florida condominium, cooperative, and homeowners’ associations will be required to send notice of past due assessments before they can collect attorneys’ fees from the delinquent owner. Currently, the applicable statutes require the association to provide notice before a claim of lien securing payment of past due assessments is filed (the Intent to Lien letter) and an additional notice before the association forecloses on its assessment lien (the Intent to Foreclose letter). Senate Bill 56 (SB 56), signed into law by the Governor on June 16, 2021, adds one more layer of notice in the assessment process.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Aging condos fraught with challenges for owners, governing groups
    Business and law experts at the University of Miami gauge the impact of the Surfside tragedy on the owners of older condominium units and examine initiatives to revamp the policies and procedures that regulate the associations.     Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Three ways Florida can better protect condo towers
    Rescuers are continuing the search at the Champlain Towers South, and it may take months to determine what toppled the 12-story condominium last month north of Miami Beach. But the tragedy has already exposed gaps in the way Florida manages high-rise buildings.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Florida collapse raises insurance questions for other high-rise buildings
    The tragic partial collapse of Champlain Towers in Surfside, Florida, could roil insurance markets for condominium buildings in the area from both property and liability standpoints, industry sources say.  So far, however, there have been no drastic changes in an already hardening market as policyholders reach out with coverage concerns, they say.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Undermining Florida’s condo laws: Politics, turf wars and human nature
    Florida’s condominium laws will undergo a top-to-bottom review by a task force established by the Florida Bar Association after the deadly collapse of the Champlain Towers South condo building in Surfside.     Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Florida Senate Bill 630: Changes to Florida Condominium and Homeowners’ Association Laws
    On June 14, 2021, the Florida Legislature sent Senate Bill 630 to Governor DeSantis to be signed into law. Senate Bill 630 went into effect on July 1, 2021.  Senate Bill 630 contains many changes to Chapters 718 and 720, Florida Statutes, which govern condominium and homeowners’ associations, respectively. Most of the changes in Senate Bill 630 are minor, clarifying the language of the existing statutes rather than substantively changing the law.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Fining Procedure Details Explored (FL)
    Q: Fining for violations has always been confusing to me, since most fines are cumulative or compounding for each day the violation is not corrected. Should the due date be following correction of the violation or whatever date the fine ceases?   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • 2021 Legislative Update (FL)
    The 2021 Florida Legislature was busy indeed. This year’s new legislation brings tremendous clarifications of existing laws and new laws to Florida’s community associations. All of the bills discussed herein were approved by the Governor, and are now in effect (unless otherwise noted). To view the bills that were passed into law, please visit kbrlegal.com and click on the “2021 Legislative Update” on our homepage.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Leasing Restrictions – Be Sure You Can Do What You Think You Can Do (FFL)
    For over a year, it would appear from the outside that the only issue Florida community associations have been dealing with is the pandemic. Those of us who work with, live in, or manage condominiums know this is not the case. However, it did seem that COVID-19 issues superseded all other issues for some time.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • New Late Assessment Notice Requirement for Florida Condominium, Cooperative, and Homeowners’ Associations
    As of July 1, 2021, Florida condominium, cooperative, and homeowners’ associations will be required to send notice of past due assessments before they can collect attorneys’ fees from the delinquent owner. Currently, the applicable statutes require the association to provide notice before a claim of lien securing payment of past due assessments is filed (the Intent to Lien letter) and an additional notice before the association forecloses on its assessment lien (the Intent to Foreclose letter). Senate Bill 56 (SB 56), signed into law by the Governor on June 16, 2021, adds one more layer of notice in the assessment process.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Legal Actions Associations Can Take if an Owner Does Not Pay Assessments
    Community Associations, including condominium and homeowners’ associations, have specific responsibilities to their owners to ensure that budgets are met and maintenance and operation services are performed. For an association to be able to achieve these goals, owners must pay their assessments in full, and on time. When owners fail to fully or timely pay, the association must pursue the amounts owed from delinquent owners.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Playing for Keeps – What Rights and Authority Is an HOA Developer (or Successor Developer) Allowed to Keep after Turnover? (FL)
    For many Homeowners’ Association (“HOA”) owners and board members, the words “turnover” and “transition” are two of the most anxiously anticipated yet mysterious terms in community association lingo. Often used interchangeably, the phrases generally refer to the period of time (or “triggering event”) in the development of the community at which the developer is required, either by the association’s governing documents or Section 720.307, Florida Statutes, to relinquish control of certain rights and exemptions as it relates to the Association’s operation and management of the Association’s property.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Owner’s Pot-Bellied Pig Leads To Unusual Discrimination Lawsuit (FL)
    An Ohio HOA recently learned the hard way that discrimination lawsuits arising out of pet restrictions aren’t limited to disability-related claims. That’s one lesson from the association’s attempts to remove a pig from its premises; the other is that poorly worded restrictions can backfire.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Is That Contractor Really an Employee? (FL)
    The misclassification of an employee as an independent contractor can prove costly for employers — including both community associations and managers. So it was good news when the Trump administration finalized a rule that loosened the test for determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Community Association Legislative Update 2021 – Part III (FL)
    The legislature had a busy session this year. Several bills impacting community associations and property owners throughout the state were enacted into law. The below summaries provide an overview of the new laws:   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • The Story Behind a Downtown Sarasota Condo’s Near-Collapse (FL)
    By the time you’re reading this, Charlotte Ryan, a retired psychotherapist from New Jersey, will have accomplished what Sisyphus never did. She’ll have pushed her great rock to the very top of the mountain and crawled out from under her burden at last.  The petite, smartly dressed Ryan will have taken the elevator up to her 10th-floor downtown bayfront condo in Sarasota’s Dolphin Tower, let herself in and locked the door behind her. For the first time in five years, she will not have been wearing a protective hard hat.      Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Condos, Co-ops and HOAs…Oh My! (FL)
    Florida offers residential purchasers a wide variety of options. Residences with amenities managed by an association are popular as they often provide something extra in the form of pool, tennis courts, golf, clubhouse, social room and even a greater opportunity to commune with one’s neighbors.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • New Requirements for Collection of Delinquent Assessments (FL)
    The Florida Legislature has revised the procedures for collecting delinquent assessments, which add additional steps and delays for the owner to pay before legal action can commence and/or attorney’s fees can be recovered. Senate Bill 56 has revised Sections 718.116 and 718.121 for condominiums; 719.108 for cooperatives; and, Section 720.3085 for homeowners’ associations. With these changes, the collection procedures for all of these types of communities will be substantially the same. The new laws are effective July 1, 2021.     Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Security Services for your HOA or Condo: Considerations for Selection (FL)
    Community security is not a one-size-fits-all solution. What works for a high-rise, may not meet the needs of a garden style condo or a PUD, HOA or POA. Surveying residents about their security needs, desires and goals is a great way to gauge the community’s thoughts on the subject to get you started with the decision-making process.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Condominium Legislative Update – SB1966 (FL)
    In addition to SB 56 and SB 630 which were signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis on June 16, 2021 as addressed in my blog post from June 17, 2021, Governor DeSantis signed Senate Bill 1966 into law on June 21, 2021. The legislation, which is effective July 1, 2021, makes additional changes to provisions in the Florida Condominium Act regarding condominium association board eligibility and condominium association budgets. Below are highlights of Senate Bill 1966 and the changes to the laws governing condominiums.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Changes to Community Association Collections Procedures Take Effect on July 1 (FL)
    As we reported earlier this month, Senate Bill 56 was signed into law and will go into effect on July 1, 2021. The new law makes changes to the notice requirements of foreclosure actions for condominiums. Specifically, the changes require associations to send a notice to owners of unpaid assessments before an account is sent to a law firm for collections:   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Governor DeSantis Signs SB 630 Into Law, Containing Significant Amendments to Florida’s Condominium Act, Cooperative Act, and Homeowners Association Act (FL)
    On June 16, 2021, Governor Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill (SB) 630 into law, which enacts numerous amendments to the Condominium Act (Chapter 718, Florida Statutes), the Cooperative Act (Chapter 719, Florida Statutes), and the Homeowners Association Act (Chapter 720, Florida Statutes). The list below summarizes the primary effect of SB 630, but is not exhaustive. We suggest that you review the legislation and check with counsel if you have questions or comments.     Read the entire article……………………………….
  • New Requirements for Collection of Delinquent Assessments (FL)
    The Florida Legislature has revised the procedures for collecting delinquent assessments, which add additional steps and delays for the owner to pay before legal action can commence and/or attorney’s fees can be recovered. Senate Bill 56 has revised Sections 718.116 and 718.121 for condominiums; 719.108 for cooperatives; and, Section 720.3085 for homeowners’ associations. With these changes, the collection procedures for all of these types of communities will be substantially the same. The new laws are effective July 1, 2021.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Condominium Association and Homeowners Association Legislative Update (FL)
    Governor Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 56 and Senate Bill 630, into law on June 16, 2021. The legislation, which is effective July 1, 2021, affects the operation of homeowners associations and condominium associations, including collection practices, notices of meetings, transfer fees, electronic vehicle charging stations, dispute resolution, emergency powers, official records, reserves, and leasing.     Read the entire article……………………………….
  • New Legislation Changes Collections & Foreclosures Process for Florida Community Associations
    Recently, the Florida Legislature enacted significant statutory changes that impact community association collections and foreclosure actions. The updates to Chapter 718, Chapter 719 and Chapter 720 of the Florida Statutes go into effect on July 1, 2021 and include requirements regarding:      Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Florida Community Association Pandemic-Proofing Bill (SB 630) Includes Longtime Managers’ Regulatory, Governance Wish List
    Given the relatively slower pace of community association governance, when it came to myriad legal and operations issues suddenly created by the COVID-19 crisis throughout the past year, many Florida community associations have strained to pivot in response.  Now, signed into law by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and effective as of July 1, 2021, SB 630 by Senator Dennis Baxley will streamline community associations’ powers in future pandemic-like situations.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Golf Carts and Your Community (FL)
    Golf carts are increasingly being used for short-distance trips in communities as an alternative to the family car. They share common element roads with other motor vehicles, pedestrians, bicycles and animals, creating the potential for liability for an Association. You may be facing questions about whether to allow golf carts on your roads and how to govern their use and create policies that may not have been in place previously.      Read the entire article……………………………….
  • 2021 Florida Community Association Legislative Update
    Another big year for legislation impacting Florida’s community associations. Now is the time for associations to contact their attorneys for guidance. The following items will become law on July 1, 2021, unless vetoed by the Governor. Following is a summary of the highlights. For complete coverage, please click on the various links below to see the bill’s entire text:    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Florida Governor Signs CS/HB 463, Amending COVID Restrictions for Community Association Pools
    Earlier this month, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed almost 30 bills into law. Among them was CS/HB 463 Community Association Pools, which takes effect July 1, 2021 and will ease restrictions on certain swimming pools serving community associations throughout the state. Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Is Your HOA Gate Opening To Increased Liability? (FL)
    When a community has an entrance gate, it is almost inevitable that the association will at some point deal with the issue of whether it is responsible for damage to a vehicle which occurred when someone was entering or exiting the gate. The primary question to resolve in assessing liability in such a circumstance is determining the cause of the damage. The answer, however, may not always be clear-cut, and the association needs to make sure that it is prepared for such an incident.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Responsibility for Tree Branches & Roots (FL)
    Who is responsible for a tree branch that perilously hangs over a neighbor’s house or yard? Who is responsible for tree roots that are damaging a sidewalk or driveway?   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • The Membership Poll – The Pros, Cons & Confusion of Taking Membership Surveys (FL)
    The line between what an association’s board can legally do as a matter of law and what the board should do as a matter of good practice and policy is often blurred without any practical guidance available for well-intentioned directors who want to do the very best they can for their community based upon very often limited information available prior to taking a vote.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Should Emails Between Board Members & Managers Be Considered Official Records Subject to Members Inspection? (FL)
    In today’s instant world, email allows us to express our thoughts anytime, anywhere. So often, emails serve as a substitute for making phone calls. If a phone call is made from a board member to a manager, absent a deposition of either party or a contemporaneous note documenting the conversation, the content of the communication remains private. But, if the board member sends an email rather than calling the manager, that email is considered a written record of the association and is required to be produced as a part of a member’s official record request, with limited exception as discussed below.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Suit Against Boca Condo Association Spotlights Importance of Governing Document Amendments, Filings (FL)
    A lawsuit that was recently filed against the Promenade at Boca Pointe Condominium Association highlights the importance of properly adopting changes to an association’s governing documents and recording them in the local court registry where the association is located. If the allegations in the lawsuit hold up in court, the association for the Boca-area community could be forced to pay the plaintiff unit-owners’ lost rental income and legal bills.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Immunity for Condos from Covid-19 Liability (FL)
    COVID-19 has changed our way of life in so many ways. Accordingly, new laws have been enacted to address the concerns and protect those affected by the pandemic and legal issues that stem from the fallout.      Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Hurricane Season 2021: Is Your Community Association Ready? (FL)
    Hurricane season began on June 1. Has your community association taken some time to prepare?  If not, here are some tips that will help you prepare your community association for this year’s hurricane season:   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Avoiding Conflicts of Interest by Association Boards (FL)
    Under Florida law, condominium association (“CA”) board of directors members and homeowners’ association (“HOA”) board of directors members owe fiduciary duties to their associations and the unit or home owners they serve. This generally means that directors must place the interests of the association above their own self-interest and take actions they reasonably believe will benefit the association and owners.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Condos: Who Insures What? Who Pays for Damages? (FL)
    The 2021 hurricane season began June 1, but water pipes can burst year-round. If an insurable event occurs in a condo, however, is it a unit owner’s job to pay or the association’s? It’s a simple question with a sometimes complicated answer.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • The Ins & Outs of Preparing a Condominium Association Budget (FL)
    In many ways, the managing and operating of a condominium association is akin to operating a business. A primary similarity is the importance of careful and accurate financial planning and budget preparation. The board of directors of an association has fiduciary duties to its members. By paying close attention to the legal and technical requirements of condominium association budget preparation, the association can better assure its members of a smooth-running fiscal year ahead.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • How to Handle Unexpected and Dangerous Situations (FL)
    Florida associations are accustomed to preparing for hurricanes, but disaster plans should also account for other catastrophic events where there is often less advance warning, such as tornadoes, active shooter scenarios, and now global pandemics. Relying on outside crisis experts for guidance is crucial to ensure that your association is prepared to handle an unexpected and dangerous situation, and boards and managers can work with law enforcement, the fire department, or security consultants to establish a plan specifically tailored to the characteristics of the buildings and even the demographics of the community.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Becker Uncovers Collusion Between Florida OIR & Citizens Insurance
    Citizens Property Insurance allegedly overcharged Florida condominium association policyholders for years, according to the Fort Lauderdale, FL., law firm Becker. The firm also accuses the Florida Office of Insurance Regulations (OIR) of partaking in secret communications with the insurer, which resulted in a consent order being issued without a trial or considering the legality of the insureds’ claims.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • 3 Steps to Handling Noise Complaints Between Neighbors
    Every year, hundreds of millions of Americans are forced to deal with loud, intrusive noises from their environments. When that happens within an organized community, they will often bring their complaints to an HOA/COA board member.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Lessons Learned from 5th DCA’s Overturned Condominium Foreclosure (FL)
    Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeals (“5th DCA”) reversed a condominium association’s final judgment of foreclosure in the recent decision of Rajabi v. Villas at Lakeside Condominium Association, Inc., 45 Fla. L. Weekly D2543a (Fla. November 13, 2020) citing two fatal errors. First, the association misapplied the owner’s payments in breach of Fla. Stat. Section 718.116(3); and second, the association failed to properly serve the required statutory notice of intent to lien before recording a claim of lien pursuant to Fla. Stat. Section 718.121(4).     Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Master Association v. Sub Association – Who Wins? (FL)
    Avery interesting case was just decided by Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal. RIVIERA-FORT MYERS MASTER ASSOCIATION, INC., v. GFH INVESTMENTS, LLC. 2020 WL 7767856. To simplify, in a mixed-use community, meaning a community made up of commercial property and residential housing, the Master Association adopted seven amendments to the community’s master declaration. The court referred to the sub associations as the “Liner Buildings.” In general terms, the amendments addressed the Master Association’s authority to approve proposed uses of the property located in the sub communities, (Liner Buildings) increased assessments on them, and imposed additional restrictions on the Loiner’s tenants.     Read the entire article……………………………….
  • What is a “Fining Committee” and Who Can Be on It? (FL)
    Of all enforcement options available to an association for violations of its governing documents, the imposition of fines is one that yields many questions due to the strict procedures required to impose a fine. If the process is not followed properly, it may result in invalidation of the fine, and can also result in potential liability to the association.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Should an Association Allow Its Clubhouse, or Other Common Area, to Be Used for Gambling? (FL)
    While there are certain exceptions, generally, any game of chance is considered gambling. Section 849.08, Florida Statutes, defines gambling as follows    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • The Ins and Outs of Preparing a Condominium Association Budget (FL)
    In many ways, the managing and operating of a condominium association is akin to operating a business. A primary similarity is the importance of careful and accurate financial planning and budget preparation. The board of directors of an association has fiduciary duties to its members. By paying close attention to the legal and technical requirements of condominium association budget preparation, the association can better assure its members of a smooth-running fiscal year ahead.     Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Buyers at New S. Fla. Communities Must Diligently Protect Interests During, Post-Turnover
    Generally speaking, the turnover process presents the initial opportunity for new owners and owner-controlled boards of directors to hire independent legal counsel, financial professionals, and engineers to conduct meticulous inspections of a community’s property as well as its rules and business records. Communities at this stage will need to diligently interview and investigate prospective service providers to ensure only independent and highly qualified professionals are retained to represent the interests of all owners and hold developers to their warranty obligations.  Read the entire article……………………………….
  • New laws prompt HOAs to examine – and quickly change – rental restrictions in advance of July 1, 2021 effective date (FL)
    Condominiums, cooperatives, and homeowners associations will see many changes to their operations following the new laws borne from Florida’s 2021 legislative session. Among these changes are new laws governing rental restrictions in homeowners associations in Senate Bill 630. The bill, which passed both the House and Senate, is anticipated to be signed into law by Governor DeSantis and will have an effective date of July 1, 2021.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Do Scrivenor’s Errors Invalidate an HOA Claim of Lien
    In Pash v. Mahogany Way Homeowners Association, Inc., Case No. 4D19-3367 (Fla. 4th DCA January 27, 2021), Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal recently addressed whether a claim of lien is valid and enforceable if it contained an error in the amount due for unpaid assessments.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Is Your Fining Process Fine? (FL)
    Prior to 2010 Florida law only allowed the association to fine for violations of the governing documents, if the authority to fine was contained in the declaration or bylaws. In 2010, the law changed and associations had the power to fine, even if the power to fine was not contained in the governing documents.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Here Are the New Laws Effective July 1st (FL)
    So the Florida Legislature has ended their session and I’m sure everyone wants to know what association laws passed this year.   So here we go…..     Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Be Proactive! Why Community Associations Should Pay Attention to Their Stormwater Management Systems (FL)
    Stormwater management systems if managed correctly can greatly enhance the value and safety of a community. As community associations managers and governing boards are well aware, however, stormwater management systems can be expensive, and their operation and maintenance highly contentious. This blog provides an overview of what a stormwater management system is, the challenges associations face with respect to these systems, and the proactive measures association leaders should take to minimize risk associated with stormwater management.  Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Ruling Illustrates Perils in Foreclosures of Noncompliance With Documents, Miscalculating Claim of Lien (FL)
    The article…….. discusses a recent ruling by the state’s Fourth District Court of Appeal that highlights not only the significance of associations complying with the provisions of their governing documents in foreclosures, but also the implications of a mistake in the calculation of the “assessment amount due” in determining the ultimate validity of an association’s claim of lien.    Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Developers/Declarants Breached Contract by Failing to Pave Roads (FL)
    Plaintiffs are property owners in what were originally three separate planned communities known as Mystic Lands. Defendants are the developer/declarant and its sole shareholder, Shinitzky. In October of 2006 the Plaintiff and his wife entered into a contract with declarant to purchase Lot 28 in Mystic Ridge.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • The Plan – Identifying the Potential Consequences of a Disaster (FL)
    The first step toward developing and implementing a disaster plan is identifying the potential consequences of a disaster. The second step is to develop and implement a plan to mitigate the impact of a disaster to the fullest extent possible.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • What Will the Damage Cost? (FL)
    A well-designed disaster plan will include safeguards against future risk which are designed to minimize economic and property loss, as well as the loss of human life.  It is dangerous to ever become complacent about hurricanes when you live or own property in Florida. Knowing that disasters can occur and being prepared to deal with them will certainly minimize damages and promote a speedy recovery.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Implications of Governor’s Newest Executive Order on Florida’s Community Associations
    Effective May 3, 2021 at 4:06 P.M., Governor DeSantis, by way of Executive Order 21-102, suspended all remaining local government mandates and restrictions based on the COVID-19 State of Emergency.  In short, this Order provides that all local government COVID-19 restrictions and mandates on individuals and businesses are hereby suspended. However, this Order does NOT address private rules enacted by Florida’s community associations.   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Amendments to Condominium Documents MUST be Reasonable to be Valid
    In 2016, a Master Association adopted seven amendments to its declaration. The amendments addressed the Master Association’s authority to approve proposed uses of certain buildings, increased assessments on them, and imposed additional restrictions on those buildings’ tenants. In response, the building’s prior owner (“Building Owner”) filed suit against the Master Association and eight individual directors and officers, seeking six forms of relief:   Read the entire article……………………………….
  • Implications of Governor’s Newest Executive Order on Florida’s Community Associations
    Effective May 3, 2021 at 4:06 P.M., Governor DeSantis, by way of Executive Order 21-102, suspended all remaining local government mandates and restrictions based on the COVID-19 State of Emergency.   Read the entire article……………………………….
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