Non-delinquent owners must pick up the slack for those not paying assessments
Michael Bogen devotes his legal practice to representing hundreds of condominium and homeowner associations. Bogen, who is admitted to practice law in Florida, Washington, D.C., and Nevada, also is admitted before the United States District Court in the Southern and Middle Districts of Florida. He is assistant executive director of the Condo Council, which provides education to over 1,000 association members.
EMAIL: column@Condo Law.com What made you get into real estate? It’s in my blood: Mom was a Realtor, Dad a general contractor. What separates you from other Realtors? My very own Liz Caldwell Group mobile app (not an “HTML”) and commitment — they know I love what I do. Also, I’ve been the “Real Estate Expert” for Local 10-ABC news on Saturday mornings. Which neighborhoods/ areas are your specialty? Rio Vista, Las Olas, Harbor Beach, Weston Describe your working style: 24/7 and staying on top of the latest news and trends
What advice do you have for buyers? Take a deep breath — be educated. What advice do you have for sellers? Be realistic — we still live in volatile times. How does what you’ve learned about real estate help your clients? I listen and they know to come to me for sound advice for all their real estate needs. What’s the hottest listing you have right now? Harbor Beach: 1636 South Ocean Drive, offered at $2,999,500 What professional accomplishment makes you the most proud? My ability to strive to be what my clients expect — I am there for them. Q. Our condo association had to repair a pipe in the wall in my unit. In doing so, they had to remove my kitchen cabinets. Now, my cabinets are sitting on my floor and I don’t even know if they can be put back up. Isn’t the association responsible for putting them back up, or, buying me new similar cabinets? A. Under Florida law, and most likely your governing
Q. documents, the associaWe have many units that tion has a right of access to each are delinquent in the unit to perform its maintenance payment of their monthly duties. Assuming that it was the assessments. As a result, the association’s responsibility to fix board passed a budget that inthe pipe in the wall, generally, the creases everyone else’s monthly association is not responsible for assessments. The board stated any damage caused while perthey had to do this to make up forming its maintenance duties. for the shortage due to all of the There are exceptions, such as the delinquent units. Is this legal? association being negligent while
A. performing its maintenance duIf the association’s income ties. Another exception would be gets smaller and smaller, something called an “incidental the association has to get Are you involved in any charitable organizations? Junior Welfare Society —co-chair for “Taste of the Mediterranean,” Feb 1, 2014, and co-chair for Broward County Tiffany Circle of the American Red Cross What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you? When I graduated from college I worked for FPL, conducting home energy surveys, damage” clause in your governing documents that states that the association is responsible for all damage caused while performing their maintenance duties whether the association was negligent or not. There are many factors to consider and it is recommended you contact a community association attorney.
climbing in people’s attics! CALL Liz Caldwell, EWM Realty International, (954) 646-6332 • EMAIL email@example.com PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT MANAGER ADVERTISING DESIGNER SPECIAL SECTIONS WRITER SENIOR SALES MANAGER REAL ESTATE ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Broward and Palm Beach Counties Dade County & Out of Area its money from somewhere. That “somewhere” is the nondelinquent owners. When there are delinquent owners, all of the other owners generally have to pay extra to make up for that shortage. Unfortunately, this has been happening everywhere. Q. Each year, our association sends a letter to each owner saying that each owner is required to give an annual payment of $50. This $50 is not part of the budget or any special assessment. The letter states that this $50 will go toward new fixtures around the association, for social activities, and for bonuses to association employees. Is this legal? A. Short answer: NO. Long(er) Answer: The association must include all foresee-
GARRETT A. FOSTER
MICHAEL D. ROSS
MARIA SALES 954-425-1642 954-425-1029 954-425-1695 954-425-1234 954-425-1517 954-425-1640 able expenses in its budget. The owners have the right to contest the proposed budget and suggest an alternate budget. The correct way to collect the annual $50 fee is to include it in the budget. However, another issue arises regarding bonuses. It must state in the association’s governing documents that it may give “bonuses” or “awards” to employees, officers, or directors. Another issue I see here is in regards to fixtures. An added fixture may be considered a material alteration to the common elements. Why does this matter? Because, generally, a vote of the owners is required in order to make a material alteration to the common elements, which generally includes adding and removing fixtures around the association, including its lobby.