Become a member!>> Get Listed on our Directory – Register Today »  Already a Member > Log In

Keep informed with the Property Management Industry. Read informative Articles by Industry professionals,  a great resource for Property Owners, Board Members and Property Management Professionals.

LEGISLATIVE CHANGES Are you up to date in your Condo or HOA?

LEGISLATIVE CHANGES Are you up to date in your Condo or HOA?

2017 LEGISLATIVE CHANGES

The 2017 Legislative Session was fairly active with respect to issues involving Community Associations. The following is a brief outline of some of the significant changes that became effective July 1, 2017.

Estoppel Certificates: Senate Bill 398: Applies to Condominium, Cooperative & Homeowners’ Associations.

Content and cost limits for estoppel certificates were issues attempted to be addressed several times in the past few years, but this year, SB 398 passed and substantially changed the content and procedure for responding to requests for information when a unit or property within the community is transferring, as well as setting up specific costs for the information. An “estoppel certificate” is defined to be a signed document establishing certain specific facts related to a particular transaction. In the past the estoppel certificate typically consisted of a basic statement of account, notifying the buyer/lender whether the account was current and identifying upcoming or ongoing financial obligations. The new law has the following affects: (a) reduces the time period for responding to a request for an estoppel certificate from 15 days to 10 business days, and if not delivered within 10 business days no fee can be charged for the estoppel; (b) the association’s website, if it exists, must contain the name and street address or e-mail address of the person to whom requests for estoppel certificates are to be sent; and, estoppel certificates must be delivered by hand, mail or e-mail on the date the estoppel is issued.

The estoppel must contain specific information, as follows:

Date of Issuance;
Name of the owner of the property to which the estoppel information pertains;
The property designation and address;
Any assigned parking or garage space;
Contact information for the association’s counsel if the account is in collection;
The amount of the fee for preparation of the estoppel; and,
Identify the person/entity requesting the information.

Assessment Information required to be included:

Payments required on a periodic basis for “regular” assessments, including the required frequency of payment;
Date through which payment has been received;
The date due and amount of the next “regular” payment;
Itemized list of any amounts currently due; and,
An itemization of the amounts to become due while the certificate is pending.

Other Information required:

Disclose the existence and amount of any capital contribution fee;
Whether there are any open violations;
Whether the governing documents require the buyer to be approved and if so, whether the buyer has been approved;
Whether the association has a right of first refusal and exercised it;
A list of and contact information for any other associations governing the property;
Contact information for insurance verification; and,
Contain the signature of an officer or authorized association agent (management, etc.).

An estoppel certificate is effective for 30 days (35 if delivered by regular mail). The fee for an estoppel certificate may not exceed $250 unless (a) the estoppel is requested on an expedited basis and is delivered within 3 days, in which case an additional fee of up to $100 is allowed, or (b) delinquent assessments are owed in which case an additional fee of up to $150 is allowed. The statutorily set fees shall be adjusted every 5 years based on the CPI.

Condominium Crime & Penalties: House Bill 1237: Applies to Condominium Associations

While portions of the bill have been criticized for “criminalizing” certain activities, these initiatives were largely in response to what has been considered as the scathing Miami-Dade grand jury report issued earlier in the year. The report found tremendous abuse associated with elections, conflicts of interest and association records. Records were purposely withheld in some cases and modified in others. The bill emphasizes that forgery of ballot envelopes or voting certificates is a crime punishable by law. Destruction of or the refusal to allow inspection or copying of an official record of a condominium association within the time periods required by law in furtherance of any crime is punishable as tampering with physical evidence or as obstruction of justice.

Kickbacks are specifically prohibited and could result in criminal penalties if accepted by condominium association officers, director and/or CAMs.

Condominium election ballot and voting certificate forgery could result in criminal penalties.

Theft of condominium funds, and destruction or refusal to allow access to official records of a condominium in furtherance of a crime are all subject to criminal penalties.

New conflict provisions are added. Under the new law the following is prohibited:

An association may not hire an attorney who represents the management company of the association.
A board member, manager, or management company may not purchase a unit foreclosed as a result of the association’s lien (or take title by deed in lieu of foreclosure).
The association cannot employ or contract with any service provider that is owned or operated by a board member or with any person who has a financial relationship with a board member or officer, or a relative within the third degree of consanguinity by blood or marriage of a board member or officer. (This does not apply if the board member or officer [or relative as described] owns less than 1 percent of the equity shares.)
An officer or board member of an association’s contract provider of maintenance or management services is likewise precluded from purchases a unit at the association’s lien foreclosure sale (or take title by deed in lieu).

Cancellation – Majority Ownership Contract
If 50 percent or more of the units in the condominium are owned by a party contracting to provide maintenance or management services to an association managing a residential condominium, (or an officer or board member of such), the contract may be cancelled by a majority vote of the non-interested unit owners.

Disclosure and Termination of Contract
Includes new conflict of interest provisions for directors and officers, and their relatives. Any activity that may reasonably be construed to be a conflict of interest must be disclosed.

A rebuttable presumption of a conflict of interest exists if any of the following occurs without prior notice:

A director or officer, or a relative, enters into a contract for goods and services with the association; or,
A director or an officer, or a relative that holds an interest in a corporation, limited liability corporation, partnership, limited liability partnership, or other business entity that conducts business with the association or proposes to enter into a contract or other transaction with the association.

A proposal for any service in which a director or officer, or a relative to the association must be clearly disclosed on all contracts and transactional documents and those actual documents must be attached to the meeting agenda.

If the board votes against the contract or service, the interested party must notify the board in writing that he/they will not continue to pursue the relationship, failing which the interested director must withdraw from office. If the board finds that an officer or a director has violated this provision, they are automatically removed from office.

Any contract, agreement or other relationship that has not been properly disclosed, is voidable and terminates after written notice from the board of directors supported by the consent (petition) of at least 20 percent of the voting interests of the association.
(For purposes of the conflict of interest provisions, the term “relative” means a relative within the third degree of consanguinity by blood or marriage.)

Records Access – Renters are now permitted access to certain records.

Website for Condominiums with 150 or more Units – Condominium associations with more than 150 units will be required to post (upload) copies of a whole host of documents on websites created for this purpose. The website must requires updating throughout each year. Condominium associations without websites or use of websites, web portals or web pages will need to create them or hire third-parties to do so. Among other documents, the website must contain:

The recorded declaration with all amendments;
The recorded bylaws with all amendments;
The articles of incorporation with all amendments and current rules;
All management contracts, leases or other contracts where the association is a party of which unit owners have obligations;
Summaries of bids for materials, equipment or services;
The adopted annual budget and any proposed budget to be considered at the annual meeting;
The year-end financial reports required by statute;
Each director’s self-certification or evidence of participation in a Division approved educational program;
All contracts or transactions between the association and any director, officer, corporation, firm or any other entity in which an association director is financially interested;
Conflict of interest disclosures; and,
Notices and agendas for both membership and board meetings.

Condominium associations that operate fewer than 50 units and homeowners associations of less than 50 parcels must comply with the financial reporting requirements based upon the total revenues of the association (although another bill permits the members to waive financial reporting requirements).

Annual condominium financial reports must be provided within 5 days of request by a unit owner, and specific remedies and enforcement by the Division are provided for failure to meet this requirement.

A condominium association, its officers, directors, employees, and agents may not use a debit card issued in the name of the association or billed directly to the association for payment of any association expense. Doing so can be prosecuted as credit card fraud.

A board member of a condominium association may not serve for more than 4 consecutive two-year terms unless approved by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the total voting interests of the association, or there are not enough eligible candidates to fill the vacancies. (The new law does not contain limitations if directors serve one year terms.)

The recall provisions have been substantially revised – the board will no longer have the obligation or opportunity to vote whether or not to certify the recall. Recalled board members are immediately removed and could challenge the recall by filing a petition for arbitration at their personal expense.

Associations must furnish the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares and Mobile Homes with the names of all financial institutions with which it maintains and accounts on an annual basis.

The right of a condominium association to suspend voting rights of an owner for non-payment of a monetary obligation to the association is limited to a monetary obligation of more than $1,000, and proof of such non-payment must be provided to the unit owner at least 30 days before such suspension takes effect.

Arbitrator qualifications have been strengthened as well as an intent to speed up the arbitration process.

The foregoing is general in nature, not intended to be an exhaustive and complete rendition of all of the legislative changes for 2017, nor should it be considered legal advice. If you have any specific questions regarding any of the items set forth herein, as well as any other legislative change, please contact this office.

 

Tags: ,
APPELLATE COURT LIMITS ASSOCIATION ABILITY TO STOP OWNER POSTING OF NEGATIVE OPINIONS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

APPELLATE COURT LIMITS ASSOCIATION ABILITY TO STOP OWNER POSTING OF NEGATIVE OPINIONS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

APPELLATE COURT LIMITS ASSOCIATION ABILITY TO STOP OWNER POSTING OF NEGATIVE OPINIONS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Many community associations throughout Florida have experienced an owner who opposes the board and is vocally negative toward the efforts of the association representatives. With the development of social media and the internet, many have also experienced these disgruntled owners posting their opinions on the internet through blogs, website and the like. Quite often these owners are not expressing accurate information regarding the association and boards look for help from their attorneys to stop what they consider to be abusive and harassing conduct. The Florida Fifth District Court of Appeal has recently issued a ruling that identifies some limits that court action can take in dealing with such disputes and leaving questions regarding other actions that can be taken unanswered.

 

Read more on Legal Issues: 

REMBAUM’S ASSOCIATION ROUNDUP

 http://www.kbrlegal.com/rembaums-association-roundup/

 

In Fox. V. Hampton at Metro West Condominium Association, Inc., Case No. 5D16-1822 (July 21, 2017), the Appellate Court was presented the situation in which the Condominium Association had initially brought a legal action against the unit owner to obtain an injunction to stop the owner from what they claimed to be conduct that was harassing, intimidating and otherwise threatening to other owners, and for his on-going publishing of negative claims about the Association and/or the Board on the internet. No trial was held as the parties entered into a settlement agreement that was ultimately incorporated into a final judgment under which Fox agreed to stop certain actions. Soon thereafter, however, the conduct began again and the Association filed a motion for contempt and enforcement of the agreement, claiming that Fox had willfully and intentionally violated the terms of the agreement.

After holding a hearing, the trial court did find Fox in civil contempt for the violations of the agreement and, in addition to enforcing the provisions of the settlement agreement, also ordered Fox to stop posting, circulating, and publishing any pictures or personal information about current or future residents, board members, management, employees or personnel of the management company, vendors of the Association, or any other management company used by the Association, on any website, blog or social media. Fox was also ordered to take down what he had already posted on any of his websites or blogs. The trial court also prohibited Fox from starting any new blogs, website or social media website related to the Association. Fox was also told by the trial court that he could not respond to an inquiry about living at the Community online, but rather could only respond with a telephone call to the inquirer. Fox appealed the added requirements of the trial court that went beyond the original agreement and judgment, claiming that they violate his right to speak freely, and the appellate court agreed as to the added limitations.

In reaching it’s conclusion, the Appellate Court applied the Freedom of Speech provisions of the US and Florida Constitutions, noting that the “penalties” and additional limitations imposed by the trial court beyond the terms of the settlement agreement constituted what is termed “prior restraint” (or censorship) by the government, which is not allowed. This action by the trial court effectively was sufficient “State Action” to trigger the Constitutional protections for the unit owner.

While the Appellate Court notes that freedom of speech does not extend to obscenity, defamation, fraud, incitement, true threats and speech integral to criminal conduct, the conduct of Fox in this case did not reach any of these levels. The Court indicated that it is more legally appropriate to address the conduct of an owner posting or publishing allegedly false statements and/or other actionable statements after the fact rather than before it occurs. Consequently, the Appellate Court decided that the trial court made an error when it prohibited Fox from making any future statements whatsoever pertaining to the Community or the Association without conducting a proper constitutional inquiry first and reversed that part of the trial court decision. However, the Appellate Court did not reverse any aspect of the trial court’s enforcement of the original settlement agreement and final judgment. Only by it adding the “punishment” terms did the Appellate Court conclude that this particular trial court went too far.

This particular case is unusual in that Constitutional protections are being applied to a situation that traditionally has been considered one of private contract. Constitutional concerns apply to actions of the State or government and generally do not apply to private agreements or individuals. Time will tell whether this is a trend that may be starting among the courts or simply an anomaly decision limited to the facts of just this case. This is particularly so in light of the Appellate Court upholding the restraints on the speech of Fox that was set forth in the original settlement agreement and judgment, which also was enforced by the trial court, bringing State action into the situation as well. As with any case of this nature, much will depend upon the particular facts involved as to whether court action may be considered and/or worth pursuing.

 

Tags: , ,
COPING WITH FL H.B. 1237 (2017)

COPING WITH FL H.B. 1237 (2017)

  • Posted: Aug 01, 2017
  • By:
  • Comments: Comments Off on COPING WITH FL H.B. 1237 (2017)

COPING WITH FL H.B. 1237 (2017)

by Steven J. Weil, Ph.D., EA, LCAM, Royale Management Services, Inc.

Whenever the Legislature puts new laws on the books, in order to avoid becoming involved in expensive litigation, managers and board members are obliged to sort out what it all means along with what steps should be taken to address the real meaning, terms and conditions that the courts and judges conclude were the Legislature’s intent.

Florida’s Governor signed Florida House Bill 1237 (2017) into law on June 26, 2017.  The legislation went into effect on July 1, 2017 and added several requirements and prohibitions to the Florida Condominium Act (Chapter 718).

For example, HB 1237, now the law of the land in Florida, states, “Board members may serve 2-year terms if permitted by the bylaws or articles of incorporation. a board member may not serve more than four consecutive 2-year terms, unless approved by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the total voting interests of the association.” The law also includes an exception if there are not enough eligible candidates to fill all board positions which allows current board members to continue beyond the otherwise prescribed period.

What is yet to be determined is whether this means a board member may serve no more than eight one-year terms, or, if association rules limit terms to one year, the four-term limitation still applies? Other questions still left unanswered include: When do these terms start? Is the law to be enforced retroactively, or are board members prior terms excluded from the new rule?

Another new rule states that a condo board member, despite good intentions, could be subject to penalties for violation of this caveat:  “An association may not employ or contract with any service provider that is owned or operated by a board member or any person who has a financial relationship with a board member.”  Under a strict interpretation of this update to the law, if a board member runs a pool service and is taking care of the association’s pool maintenance for only the cost of chemicals, that board member could end up facing criminal penalties for trying to help out.

Conflicts of interest (such as a board member providing a proposal from a company they are affiliated with) may have long existed, and while board members always should have abstained from any vote where it could be perceived that they had a financial conflict of interest, it could now be a criminal offense.

This is not the only place a condo officer, director or manager could find themselves facing the threat of criminal penalties.  While we all know, or at least should know, kickbacks of any kind are wrong, often accusations made by a unit owner are not grounded in reality and instead are based on little more than spite and mistrust.

However, The updated Florida Statute 718.111 now reads “[A]n officer, director, or manager may not solicit, offer to accept, or accept any thing or service of value or kickback for which consideration has not been provided for his or her own benefit or that of his or her immediate family, from any person providing or proposing to provide goods or services to the association. Any such officer, director, or manager who knowingly so solicits, offers to accept, or accepts any thing or service of value or kickback is subject to a civil penalty pursuant to s. 718.501(1)(d) and, if applicable, a criminal penalty.”

The updated statute goes on to require that an officer or director who is charged with certain crimes (primarily crimes of dishonest character) shall be removed from office and provides requirements for filling the vacancy left by any such removal. The silver lining here is that you have to be charged with a crime before you can be removed, a mere accusation is not enough.

Will these and other provisions that have been added to the law make it even more difficult to find volunteers who are willing to serve as board members? No one really knows yet. What we do know is, it will probably take years for the legislature and the courts to sort this new law out.  We also know that those who serve on our boards of directors are most often well-meaning volunteers who want to do the right thing and serve their fellow owners.  All we can do is hope that none of these changes make it harder to get these good people to serve, and the law works as intended keeping those with a self-serving agenda from throwing their hat in the ring.

We are not attorneys, and anything said here should not be construed as legal advice. This article is purely for educational purposes, with the goal of helping associations better understand current updates to the law. Royale Management Services team members are Licensed Community Association Managers (LCAM) who work with associations to manage, to navigate and to comply with the law.  As you can see, these changes raise several questions, and you can be sure that until these issues are addressed by a court, no one will really know the correct answers. Nevertheless, it is always advisable to seek legal counsel if an issue arises.

SFPMA MEMBER - Find us on the Members Directory
Royale Management Services, a registered and licensed community association management corporation in Florida, works with association Boards of Directors throughout South Florida to oversee the daily activities required for proper management, helping to educate them on their responsibilities, duties, and obligations. Royale’s team members are highly trained in all aspects of community association management and customer service to ensure that proper procedures are followed that keep the association in compliance with all of the rules governing elections, budgeting, accounting, operation, collection and assessment. The firm and its president are members of the Community Association Institute (CAI) and the Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce.
Tags: , ,
Rembaum’s Association Roundup: Florida’s Newest Non-Native Invasion – Overnight Rentals

Rembaum’s Association Roundup: Florida’s Newest Non-Native Invasion – Overnight Rentals

  • Posted: May 30, 2017
  • By:
  • Comments: Comments Off on Rembaum’s Association Roundup: Florida’s Newest Non-Native Invasion – Overnight Rentals

With little doubt, purchasing a home is one of the most significant investments you can make. In order to help protect that investment, many purchasers choose to buy homes within community associations that include homeowners’, cooperative and condominium associations. Behavior within community associations is governed by a declaration of condominium or declaration of restrictions, along with the bylaws, articles of incorporation and, importantly, and more often than not, the rules and regulations generated by the board of directors. Those of us living within community associations, for the most part, did not sign up to live in a community with transient overnight housing. Yet, if left to the vices of VRBO and AirBnB that is exactly what can happen in your community. Do you know what to look for? Do you know how to prevent this from occurring? What if it is occurring in your neighborhood? What can your community association do about it?

For a variety of reasons, none which are the subject of today’s column, local governments may have difficulty in promulgating local ordinances prohibiting overnight housing offered by VRBO and AirBnB. Therefore, it is left up to your community association’s board of directors to ensure proper measures are in place to prevent homes in your community from becoming the newest unnamed hotel/motel.

Continue reading

Tags: , ,
The Internet of things

The Internet of things

  • Posted: Mar 23, 2017
  • By:
  • Comments: Comments Off on The Internet of things

The telecommunications industry says the upgrades are needed by 2020 to meet the demand for faster internet speeds, smart cities, driverless vehicles, instantaneous 3D downloads, the “Internet of things” where machines talk to machines, and more.

The battle between infrastructure needed for fast digital service and property rights may soon come to communities across Palm Beach County. Right now, it’s playing out in Tallahassee courtesy of legislation before lawmakers.

“It’s a ticket for multi-billion dollar wireless communication companies to come into a city and do as they please in city right of ways,” said Riviera Beach Councilwoman Dawn Pardo.

The brewing fight is over technological advances. First there was 1G wireless technology, for “first generation,” and as telecommunications technology evolved, 2G, 3G, 4G and 4G LTE came to be. Now 5G, a fifth generation network technology allowing greater connectivity at higher speeds for many more devices, is on its way.

To place the infrastructure needed for 5G service, a proposal pending in the Florida Legislature would limit state and local control of public rights-of-way where the 5G equipment is being installed.

Continue reading

Tags: , ,
a “TRIM Notice,” the notice reflects what the property taxes are likely to be on the November property tax bill.

a “TRIM Notice,” the notice reflects what the property taxes are likely to be on the November property tax bill.

  • Posted: Oct 02, 2016
  • By:
  • Comments: Comments Off on a “TRIM Notice,” the notice reflects what the property taxes are likely to be on the November property tax bill.

Every August, the Office of the Property Appraiser mails a Notice of Proposed Property Taxes to all property owners. Also known as a “TRIM Notice,” the notice reflects what the property taxes are likely to be on the November property tax bill.

A number of factors can come into play when it comes to determining if the proposed taxes are a fair estimate. For example, failure to recognize the recent slowdown in the real estate market could mean the tax estimate is higher than it should be. To ward against paying more than their fair share of taxes, property owners have the option to petition for an appeal. And condo owners have a unique opportunity where tax appeals are concerned.

Florida law allows condominium association Boards to file a joint petition for property tax appeal to cover all units in the building. In theory, if one unit in the building receives a TRIM Notice with unfairly high property taxes, then chances are the other units did also. Thus, filing a single petition is an efficient way for associations to ensure their owners are not overpaying property taxes. For those unit owners that do not wish to participate, Florida law provides a simple process for opting out of the joint tax appeal.

Continue reading

Tags: , ,
If you don’t hire someone to field these inquiries, you’ll have to do it yourself.

If you don’t hire someone to field these inquiries, you’ll have to do it yourself.

  • Posted: May 24, 2016
  • By:
  • Comments: Comments Off on If you don’t hire someone to field these inquiries, you’ll have to do it yourself.

Vacation Management managers can be found on SFPMA.com Vacation listing websites help you book renters but they can take up to 30 percent in commissions. While this may seem high, remember that each booking can involve dozens of inquiries for each renter. If you don’t hire someone to field these inquiries, you’ll have to do it yourself. You probably don’t want to rely on a listing website alone for your marketing. If you do, you may be costing yourself a lot of rented nights each year. Here are some relevant facts from the Vacation Rental Property Marketing Blog about vacation rental owners’ marketing expenses: Vacation rental owners spent an average of $1,150 per year marketing their properties in 2011. Half of all vacation rental owners only use listing sites to market their properties. This group experiences annual average occupancy rates of 54 percent. Vacation rental owners who combine listing sites with their own websites bump their occupancy rates up to 76 percent, on average. 94 percent of all vacation rental owners believe they could be doing more to promote their properties. Let us help by listing your Vacation Rental Company with us:  SFPMA has a Directory used by Thousands of Clients looking for the management services you provide….

This content is for Business Membership, Service Membership and Property Management Company Membership members only.
Log In Register
Tags: , , ,
Floridian Partners LLC- Government Relations & Public Affairs

Floridian Partners LLC- Government Relations & Public Affairs

  • Posted: Feb 29, 2016
  • By:
  • Comments: Comments Off on Floridian Partners LLC- Government Relations & Public Affairs

Connected. Experienced. Successful.   We maximize our experience and strengths with a proven successful bipartisan philosophy. We work collaboratively across with key stakeholders and influencers bring solutions to our clients’ issues. Our high ethical standards root the Floridian Partners’ team. We have a team-oriented culture that places the client’s needs first. At Floridian Partners, we operate as a team, so when a client hires us in one region of Florida; they have all the resources of our entire group rather than that of a single individual. Another benefit of our team approach is our ability to bring together highly qualified and experienced professionals who work tirelessly for our clients. Our collegial approach assures our clients the depth and breadth of the Floridian Partners experienced team and helps us produce significant results. At Floridian Partners, we draw upon our experience and relationships to develop and implement targeted and effective strategies on behalf of our clients.   “navigate the process + access decision makers + influence outcomes” Every day in Florida elected officials and government employees are debating issues that could profoundly impact the way you do business. Every legislative session, county commission or city council meeting is an opportunity for elected officials to change existing laws and regulations or make new ones. We have spent decades building and nourishing relationships on both sides of the aisle, and our partners and associates have experience at high levels in government and politics. As a result, our firm has a broad scope of subject matter expertise and the relationship reach to access decision makers at every level. We use those relationships and our political know-how to produce successful outcomes. We understand that our success is measured by your success, and we don’t rest until the job is done.   “storytelling + visual presentation + break through the noise + target your audience” We work to craft a message, test it, perfect it and then deliver it in a thoughtful and meaningful way. Our communications approach is always personalized and tailored to fit the specific needs of our clients. We utilize tactics that best fit your resources, and whether it be a well-authored speech, a digital media campaign, newspaper editorials, television ads, an impactful interview, or a combination thereof, we drive the conversation and narrative for you and your issue. Ft. Lauderdale Office 1512 E. Broward Blvd Ste 101 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 Phone (954) 779-2734 Miami Office 235 Catalonia Avenue Coral Gables, FL 33134 Phone (305) 461-4260 Tallahassee Office 108 South Monroe St. Tallahassee, FL 32301 Phone (850) 681-0024…

This content is for Business Membership, Service Membership and Property Management Company Membership members only.
Log In Register
Tags: , ,
LEGISLATURE: Less is Not Always Best Significant Changes to the Commercial Condominium Regime

LEGISLATURE: Less is Not Always Best Significant Changes to the Commercial Condominium Regime

  • Posted: Feb 21, 2016
  • By:
  • Comments: Comments Off on LEGISLATURE: Less is Not Always Best Significant Changes to the Commercial Condominium Regime

LEGISLATURE: Less is Not Always Best Significant Changes to the Commercial Condominium Regime Recently, several new laws went into effect that only affect commercial condominiums. While only a few of these changes make sense, most do not and illustrate the significant misunderstanding of the need to protect all condominium unit owners without regard to whether the condominium is residential or commercial. Remember, before you get too excited, this article only addresses changes to COMMERCIAL, and NOT residential condominium associations. Why our Florida legislators have determined that unit owners of commercial condominiums are not entitled to the same protections as owners of residential condominiums shall forever remain a mystery. If you own a unit in a commercial condominium, you need to be aware of these important changes. There is no longer any protection for an owner of a minority of units in a commercial condominium, WHATSOEVER! In other words, there is no equality – whoever owns the most units or the most square footage is “King of the Condo”, FOREVER AND EVER AND EVER AND EVER AND EVER!!!…

This content is for Business Membership, Service Membership and Property Management Company Membership members only.
Log In Register
Tags: , ,
Miami’s Pit Bull Ordinance is Preempted by FHA

Miami’s Pit Bull Ordinance is Preempted by FHA

  • Posted: Feb 21, 2016
  • By:
  • Comments: Comments Off on Miami’s Pit Bull Ordinance is Preempted by FHA

Miami’s Pit Bull Ordinance is Preempted by FHA By: Alessandra Stivelman, Esq.   The Federal and Florida Fair Housing Acts (the “FHA”) do not provide sufficient guidance as to what information a community association can request to verify a resident’s need for an emotional support animal (“ESA”). Since many associations have had negative experiences with residents attempting to take advantage of the lack of clarity in the law, some associations are now adamant about demanding absolute proof of a resident’s need for an accommodation and, in doing so, may go beyond the scope of a reasonable inquiry. In the last few years, while case law has provided some clarification, there still remains uncertainty as to an association’s obligations when reviewing reasonable accommodation requests.   Until recently, the law did not address whether an association could approve a pit-bull breed as an ESA in Miami-Dade County. This question recently arose in the case of Warren v. Del Vista Towers Condominium Assn., Inc, pending in the United States Court for the Southern District of Florida. The case involves an individual who allegedly suffers from Severe Recurrent Major Depressive Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Upon submitting a request to the Association along with a letter from his treating psychiatrist requesting a reasonable accommodation to maintain a dog within his Unit, Mr. Warren alleges that he was intimidated by the Association’s property manager and received a letter from the Association’s attorney advising that the Association had contacted his treating psychiatrist directly demanding more information.   Along with other counts against the property manager and the management company, Mr. Warren filed a complaint contending that the Association failed to reasonably accommodate his request for maintaining an ESA in the Condominium and requested unnecessary, invasive details about his medical history. Mr. Warren’s attorney had timely replied to the request for information from the Association reiterating that the original letter from his treating psychiatrist verified his diagnosis and his disability related need for an ESA. Mr. Warren’s attorney also explained how his dog assists him with coping with his disability by providing unconditional affection, comfort and emotional support.   Alessandra Stivelman of Eisinger Brown Lewis Frankel & Chaiet in Hollywood focuses her practice on community association and real estate law….

This content is for Business Membership, Service Membership and Property Management Company Membership members only.
Log In Register
Tags: ,
Page 1 of 212