Understand Your Rights And Responsibilities In Florida Condominium And Cooperative Ownership
Homeownership takes many forms in South Florida for both permanent and semi-permanent residents. Condominium and homeowners associations are more prevalent than ever before. These associations are a popular form of commercial ownership, as well. This style of ownership often comes with lengthy and complex rules that govern all aspects of ownership and use and can be enforced with fines and even liens on your unit. As a result, you may need guidance from one of our South Florida condominium attorneys in order to understand your legal rights and responsibilities prior to purchasing a new unit or even after years of ownership.
Providing Experienced Counsel To Florida Homeowner And Condominium Associations (HOAs)
The governing bodies of South Florida homeowners or condo associations have the often thankless task of enforcing a large number of rules for what can seem to be an infinite number of units. The upkeep and maintenance of the common areas and units or homes in the development help maintain property values but can be difficult to enforce at times. Just one uncooperative owner can detract from the overall appearance of the development and substantially lower property values. In this situation, South Florida condominium or homeowners associations can visit our Fort Lauderdale law firm to speak with an experienced Saavedra-Goodwin lawyer who works in the enforcement of homeowners association and condominium law.
Furthermore, Florida laws contain specific requirements for homeowners association board meetings. The governing documents of these associations and other statutory requirements also regulate the advertising and conducting of board meetings. Our Fort Lauderdale law firm offers advice and assistance on all matters relating to association board meetings, including the following issues:
- Open versus closed meetings
- The choice of topics appropriate for the types of board meetings under Florida law
- Proper notice of meetings to directors and owners
- Preparation, approval, and availability of minutes of open board sessions and executive session board meetings
- Member participation in board meetings
- Director conduct, such as policies for ethical duties, conflicts of interest and confidentiality
- General advice and assistance relating to member voting and meetings
Experienced In All Areas Of Condominium Law
At Saavedra-Goodwin, we are well-versed in all areas of condominium law. We can help with the following issues:
- Preparation of rules and regulations
- Drafting of architectural guidelines that comply with Florida law
- Advice on affording proper notice and hearing before meetings
- Interpretation, amendment and enforcement of the governing documents, such as a declaration of condominium; a declaration of covenants, conditions and restrictions; articles of incorporation; bylaws of the association; and the rules and regulations
- Answering day-to-day questions regarding operational, technical, regulatory and practical issues
- Assisting the board of directors on fiscal matters, such as budgeting, levying special assessments and establishing reserves
- Addressing maintenance and repair issues and distinguishing between those projects that require board approval and those that require unit owner approval
- Drafting and reviewing contracts for the management, maintenance, repair and operation of the community
- Assisting in planning and developing contracts for construction projects and complying with construction lien laws
- Reviewing loan documents and structuring commercial lines of credit and/or arranging sources of financing
How New Laws Will Change Condominiums
As part of a way to address disasters related to neglected upkeep of condominiums, the state legislature of Florida enacted several new laws. This legislative effort was initiated, in part, due to a 2021 catastrophic collapse at a condominium in Surfside.
The changes impact condominium unit owners, developers and condo associations in several ways. Our team of attorneys has the experience to guide you through the legal aspects of these major developments:
A licensed engineer or architect must closely inspect the building. The inspection will target the building’s structures and note any current or possible failures. This inspection is due by the last day of the building’s 30th year and every ten years after that. As many condo buildings are already older than 30 years, there will be an initial push until the end of 2025 to complete these inspections.
Additionally, the condo association must repair any defects found during the milestone review, and the building will undergo a second inspection once complete.
Condominiums must now keep a cash reserve to deal with various problems. Prior to the law change, condos could waive the need to reserve, but now, all condo members will see increased fees to make up the difference.
Additionally, the first order of business in 2024 for many condo associations is new costs, which will be to commission a study of the likely cost of remediating and structural defects.
It has been no secret that insurers are becoming increasingly wary of covering people and businesses in Florida. With these new requirements, people can expect the struggle to find insurance to continue.
Our firm’s skill is in litigation, and ADR makes us an ideal choice to come into these tense situations and find the way forward for our clients.
Speak To An Established Homeowners Association Attorney About Your HOA Rights
Owners understand the value of maintaining their unit or home but may not agree with the decisions made by the homeowners or condominium associations. You might wonder if your association is allowed to implement certain restrictions or levy large assessments. For instance, you might not be clear as to whether they can restrict the type of hurricane shutters that you want to use or whether they can prevent you from displaying Christmas lights or an American flag. If your association threatens you with legal action, you should contact our Fort Lauderdale law firm today. At Saavedra-Goodwin, you will learn your rights and options as an owner from an experienced community or condominium law attorney. Call (954) 928-9568 or email the firm to connect with an attorney today.