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: col­[email protected] Law.com

Q.

For years, we have been try­ing to con­trol the ant prob­lem in our unit. We have tried all dif­fer­ent types of sprays and noth­ing seems to work. We have asked the board to do some­thing and they tell us to call our own pest con­trol. What can we do?

A.

First, I would look to see if the pest con­trol re­spon­si­bil­ity is stated in your as­so­ci­a­tion’s gov­ern­ing doc­u­ments, such as your dec­la­ra­tion or by­laws. If it states it is the as­so­ci­a­tion’s re­spon­si­bil­ity, then I would send a let­ter to the as­so­ci­a­tion via cer­ti­fied mail re­turn re­ceipt re­quested ask­ing for the as­so­ci­a­tion to re­me­di­ate the is­sue or you will be forced to take le­gal ac­tion against the as­so­ci­a­tion. At this point, you would con­tact a com­mu­nity as­so­ci­a­tion at­tor­ney.

Se­cond, if the pest con­trol re­spon­si­bil­ity is not stated in the as­so­ci­a­tion’s gov­ern­ing doc­u­ments, the pest con­trol prob­lem could be con­sid­ered a “nui­sance” that the as­so­ci­a­tion may be re­spon­si­ble for rec­ti­fy­ing. If I was an owner, I would call inmy own pest con­trol and have them de­ter­mine the source of the prob­lem. What com­monly oc­curs is a snow­bird who did not clean up and left food out in the unit, which at­tracts ants and other in­sects. If this is the case, then the snow­bird owner could be held li­able for re­me­di­at­ing the ant prob­lem. I would start with a cer­ti­fied let­ter to the as­so­ci­a­tion and see if the as­so­ci­a­tion helps by a dead­line you give them (at least two weeks, un­less an emer­gency). If not, then I would call my own pest con­trol and have them de­ter­mine the source of the prob­lem. Af­ter the prob­lem is fixed, you may at­tempt to be re­im­bursed ei­ther by the as­so­ci­a­tion or the snow­bird owner, in my ex­am­ple, if it is de­ter­mined to be their fault.

Q.

We are a 55-and-older build­ing. A 25-year-old man wants to­move in with his fa­ther who is over the age of 55. How do we stop this from hap­pen­ing?

A.

The law in re­gards to 55-and-older com­mu­ni­ties states that as long as one 55-and-older per­son is re­sid­ing in the unit, a per­son be­tween the ages of 18 and 54 may re­side in the unit as well. There also is some­thing called the 80-20 rule, which means that at least 80 per­cent of the units in the as­so­ci­a­tion must be oc­cu­pied by per­sons 55 and older and that up to 20 per­cent of the units­may be oc­cu­pied by per­sons solely un­der the age of 55. Some as­so­ci­a­tions have elim­i­nated this 8020 rule by be­com­ing a “100%” build­ing via an amend­ment to the as­so­ci­a­tion’s gov­ern­ing doc­u­ments. There­fore, in your case, a 25-year-old gen­er­ally will be al­lowed to live in the unit so long as some­onewho is at least 55 years old also lives in the unit.

Q.

The board sent a let­ter to me say­ing that Iwas not al­lowed to in­stall

A.

hur­ri­cane shut­ters to pro­tect my condo unit. May the board pre­vent the in­stal­la­tion of my hur­ri­cane shut­ters? Florida law states that a board may not refuse to ap­prove the in­stal­la­tion or re­place­ment of hur­ri­cane shut­ters, im­pact-re­sis­tant glass, code-com­pli­ant win­dows or doors, or other types of code-com­pli­ant hur­ri­cane pro­tec­tion by a unit owner so long as the such hur­ri­cane pro­tec­tion con­forms to the board’s spec­i­fi­ca­tions for such hur­ri­cane pro­tec­tion.

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