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February, 2014

Security Cameras in Common Areas May Require Membership Approval

February 16th, 2014

Posted in Condominium & Homeowner Association Law

Spring break is approaching, and your community’s common areas (i.e., pool/clubhouse area) could be subject to “rowdy” crowds that may cause danger and damage to these areas as well as the owners and occupants themselves.  It is common for condominiums, co-ops, and homeowners associations to look for ways to promote the safety of the owners and occupants of the community, and the protect association property and amenities, by installing security cameras in the common areas.  Before doing so, however, the association’s Board of Directors should be mindful of (1) its ability to install these cameras without membership approval, and (2) any potential liability that may result in the placement of cameras. 
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Partial Termination of Condominium – How Does It Work?

February 4th, 2014

Posted in Condominium & Homeowner Association Law

Today’s real estate landscape shows a substantial improvement and a large increase in development of new communities throughout Northeast Florida.  However, prior to or at the time of the “bubble burst,” many condominium developers began projects either too ambitious or which were just poorly timed.  Condominium communities were planned, buildings were started and some completed, and then the market for condominiums fell out.  This has resulted in some instances the creation of “phantom condominium units” which technically exist in law even if the units are not physically created.  In fact, a phantom unit can exist without construction having started at all.  The difficulty is that these units are treated the same as other units in the condominium – their owners are required to pay assessments, they have voting rights, and they otherwise own a share of the common elements.  Of course, as most of these units are owned by typically defunct developers, assessments are subsequently unpaid and the owners of units that have been completed who reside in or utilize the condominium property are forced to carry the burden.  Further, the developer’s debt to the Association would continue to grow and it would be tied into what usually is a no longer viable project.  Florida condo associations and owners of these phantom units alike had limited recourse until 2011 when the Florida Legislature adopted changes to Florida Statute 718.117 which allowed for a partial termination of a condominium, resulting in the developed units to remain as part of the condominium and allowing for the undeveloped units to be removed from condominium ownership and thus subject to alternative forms of use.
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