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Condominium & Homeowner Association Law

Natural Disaster Planning and Management for Condominium and Homeowners Associations

June 23rd, 2017

Posted in Condominium & Homeowner Association Law

Is your condominium or homeowners association properly prepared for a natural disaster event such as a hurricane?  The Atlantic hurricane season officially began on June 1st of this year and will continue until November 30th. While September is usually the most active month for tropical activity, last year’s Hurricane Matthew demonstrates that communities should be prepared well before a hurricane hits to mitigate confusion in the aftermath.
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Associations Should Amend Governing Documents to be Better Prepared for Next Economic Downturn

May 26th, 2017

Posted in Condominium & Homeowner Association Law

Community associations experienced a record number of delinquencies during the economic recession that began in 2007-2008.  As a result, associations were forced to dedicate most of their resources to the collection of delinquent assessments.  Community associations were also severally impacted by the mortgage foreclosure crisis.  The increased amount of cases created a traffic jam for courts resulting in prolonged foreclosures, which decreased the associations’ chances of recovering all the past due amounts.      
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Strategies for Obtaining Membership Approval to Amend Condominium and Homeowners’ Associations Governing Documents

April 28th, 2017

Posted in Condominium & Homeowner Association Law

If you are a condominium or homeowners’ association board member or community association manager, this scenario probably sounds too familiar:  The association’s board of directors has identified a provision in the governing documents which would benefit the association to amend.  Perhaps amending the provision could have a direct, positive financial effect (for example, removing that unfortunate provision excusing past-due assessment liability of third-party purchasers after mortgage foreclosure).  Unfortunately, however, the governing document provision requires 75% approval of the entire membership to amend and the association cannot even attain a quorum at its membership meetings.  Accordingly, the board and manager question whether they should even attempt to propose an amendment to the governing documents and incur the associated expenses.  Should they just give up?

If the scenario above sounds familiar, there may be some strategies available to generate the support necessary to adopt the amendment, some of which are as follows:
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How to Hold an Efficient Board Meeting: Tips and Strategies

March 31st, 2017

Posted in Condominium & Homeowner Association Law

Have you attended a Board meeting for a condominium, cooperative, or homeowner association that lasted for what seemed like hours on end?  If so, you are not alone.  Many communities spend more time than necessary at their board of director meetings.  Below are some tips and strategies on how to hold an efficient board of directors meeting.
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Enforcement of Governing Documents – What are the Association’s Options?

March 3rd, 2017

Posted in Condominium & Homeowner Association Law

One of the most common topics we are asked by association clients is how to enforce the covenants and restrictions set forth in the association’s governing documents (declaration, articles of incorporation, bylaws, and rules and regulations).  Below is a brief review of an association’s options in regards to enforcement.
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Condominium and Homeowners’ Associations Should Carefully Review Insurance Policies to Ensure Coverage for Disability Discrimination Claims

February 3rd, 2017

Posted in Condominium & Homeowner Association Law

Generally, condominium and homeowners’ associations have obligations under state and federal laws to not discriminate against persons with disabilities.  Many forms of discrimination are intuitive, but others are not.  Under the Fair Housing Acts (both federal and state), discrimination includes the failure to permit reasonable modifications of existing premises, at the expense of the person requesting the modification, as may be necessary to afford a handicapped person full enjoyment of the premises.  Discrimination also includes the refusal to make reasonable accommodations in the “rules, policies, practices, or services” when such accommodations may be necessary to afford a handicapped person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling. 
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Condominium and Homeowners’ Association Acts do not Always Trump a Community Association’s Governing Documents

January 6th, 2017

Posted in Condominium & Homeowner Association Law

A common question we receive from community association board members and managers is whether pertinent provisions of the governing documents or Florida Statutes control when a conflict exists between them.  Understandably, a layperson’s initial reaction might be, “the law is the law, so it obviously trumps any contrary provisions in the governing documents, right?”  The short answer is “no” because Article I, Section 10 of the United States and Florida Constitutions generally prohibit States from passing laws that impair contracts.  A recent case illustrates the importance of understanding that the Florida Statutes will not necessarily control over conflicting provisions of a community association’s governing documents.
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Association Members May Receive Notices by E-Mail

December 9th, 2016

Posted in Condominium & Homeowner Association Law

Especially for larger communities, mailing out notices to the membership can be a significant expense to the association.  Fortunately, both the Condominium Act (Ch. 718, Fla. Stat.) and the Homeowners’ Association Act (Ch. 720, Fla. Stat.) provide that an association may send certain notices and communications to a member via e-mail if the association receives written consent from that member.  Chapters 718 and 720 of the Florida Statutes previously required that such authority be provided in the association’s bylaws; however, this requirement was recently removed by the Legislature.  Thus, as long as a member consents in writing, the association may provide the member with electronic notice.  
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