Condo & H.O.A. Law

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - Homespot - Broward East - - FRONT PAGE -

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

Q.

Our HOA board re­fuses to fix wa­ter ir­ri­ga­tion pipes re­sult­ing in many yards turn­ing brown. The board states it costs too much. What can I do?

A.

First, you have to de­ter­mine whose re­spon­si­bil­ity it is to fix those ir­ri­ga­tion lines by re­view­ing your as­so­ci­a­tion’s dec­la­ra­tion. If it is the as­so­ci­a­tion’s re­spon­si­bil­ity, I would rec­om­mend send­ing a let­ter via cer­ti­fied mail re­turn re­ceipt re­quested to the as­so­ci­a­tion’s man­age­ment com­pany and a di­rec­tor to be sure your let­ter is re­ceived. The let­ter should state that it is their re­spon­si­bil­ity to fix the ir­ri­ga­tion lines in ac­cor­dance with the as­so­ci­a­tion’s dec­la­ra­tion and that you ex­pect it to be fixed within 30 days. If that does not work, I would con­tact a com­mu­nity as­so­ci­a­tion at­tor­ney.

Q.

Our condo board con­tin­ues to per­mit “emo­tional sup­port” dogs or “ser­vice” dogs into our com­mu­nity if the owner shows a doc­tor’s let­ter say­ing they need the dog. Some of the dogs are 100 pounds. Our condo docs do not per­mit any dogs what­so­ever. Is the board be­ing too lax on per­mit­ting these dogs into our as­so­ci­a­tion?

A.

No. If the owner pro­vides a let­ter from their doc­tor, psy­chol­o­gist, or even so­cial worker stat­ing that the owner has a dis­abil­ity which af­fects the owner’s “ma­jor life ac­tiv­i­ties” (eat­ing, sleep­ing, walk­ing, etc.) and that the dog helps al­le­vi­ate the af­fected ma­jor life ac­tiv­i­ties, then the owner should gen­er­ally be per­mit­ted to have the dog de­spite the condo docs not al­low­ing an­i­mals.

Q.

We have peo­ple smok­ing on our cat­walks caus­ing the smoke to en­ter units and just over­all an­noy most of us that do not smoke. What can we do? Can we pe­ti­tion the board to do some­thing?

A.

The board has the power to en­act rules con­cern­ing the com­mon el­e­ments. The cat­walks are con­sid­ered part of the com­mon el­e­ments be­cause ev­ery­one uses the cat­walks. The board may pass a rule pro­hibit­ing smok­ing on the cat­walks or any­where else on the com­mon el­e­ments. You may pe­ti­tion the board to only dis­cuss the item at the next board meet­ing. The own­ers gen­er­ally may not pe­ti­tion the board to force them to cre­ate these rules.

Q.

In our condo as­so­ci­a­tion, we have a board of five peo­ple. For our an­nual elec­tion, only five peo­ple put in their names to run for the board. As a re­sult, we do not need an elec­tion be­cause those five peo­ple are run­ning un­op­posed. Do we still need to have our an­nual meet­ing and send out prox­ies to help es­tab­lish a quo­rum?

A.

Yes.

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