Newsletters

FALL 2002

WELCOME ABOARD

While the firm practices in several areas of the law, such as commercial litigation in both the state and federal courts, bankruptcy and personal injury, the majority of the practice is devoted to the representation of condominium and homeowners' associations. This issue, the firm is proud to announce the following clients to our growing list of association clientele: Oakland Shores Condominium in Fort Lauderdale, Bayview East Condominium in Miami Beach, Brookview and Three Horizons North Condominiums in North Miami and Golden Horn North Condominium in Hallandale. If we don't say it enough, we can assure you that we appreciate the business and the confidence placed in the firm.

WE'RE ON THE WEB

Check out our exciting and informative new website at: www.condo-laws.com where you can get copies of the firm's prior newsletters, send the staff or its attorneys e-mail, view a biography of the firm's attorneys, obtain a current list of condominium clients, get copies of published articles by the firm's attorneys, and more.

EXPANDING TO FIT YOUR NEEDS

The firm is proud to announce the recent hiring of a new Associate, Lourdes Sanchez-Barcia. Ms. Barcia obtained her law deree from Nova University School of Law and her undergraduate degree from The University of Miami. She is fluent in both Spanish and English and will concentrate in the areas of condominium and homeowners' association representation.

SOME RECENT SUCCESS

The firm was recently successful in appealing a decision of a County Court Judge who ruled that a lawsuit filed by a condominium association against the owners of a unit and their tenant seeking to enforce the "55 and over" provision of the declaration of condominium, must first be decided in arbitration. Arguing before a panel of Circuit Court Judges, Eric Glazer persuaded the court that pursuant to Florida Statute 718.1255, the legislature intended these types of cases to originate in a court of law rather than in arbitration. The panel ordered the County Court Judge to maintain jurisdiction over the case and required the unit owner and tenant to reimburse the association its attorney's fees and court costs.

A MATERIAL ALTERATION?

Readers of Legal-Beat have certainly heard this publication discuss the need for the Board to obtain approval from the unit owners before making material changes to the common elements. One exception to the statute is when the Board seeks to erect a security fence on the common elements where there is an established history of criminal activity occurring on the condominium property. Although the fence would otherwise constitute a material alteration to the common elements requiring compliance with Fla. Sta.§718.113, where it is demonstrated in evidence that the action of the board is necessary to protect the condominium property and the unit owners, and that criminal activity would continue in the absence of precautionary steps taken by the board, compliance with the statute is not required.

INSURANCE AGAINST THEFT

Florida Statute 718.111 provides that the association shall obtain and maintain adequate insurance or fidelity bonding of all persons who control or disburse funds of the association. The insurance policy or fidelity bond must cover the maximum funds that will be in the custody of the association or its management agent at any one time. The term "persons who control or disburse funds of the association" includes, but is not limited to, those individuals authorized to sign checks and the president, secretary, and treasurer of the association. "Adequate insurance" can be accomplished if the association purchases employee theft coverage. The Board would be wise to check with the association's insurance agent to determine if proper coverage exists.

FAILURE TO PAY ASSESSMENTS

It is not uncommon for unit owners facing foreclosure by the Association to attempt to defend the foreclosure suit by taking the position that the association is failing to maintain the common elements and therefore they should be excused from payment. This never works. In 1987, in the case of Abbey Park Homeowner's Association v. Bowen 508 So.2nd 554, the Fourth District Court of Appeal held that this defense is invalid as a matter of law. Interestingly enough, in a homeowner's association, if the governing documents so provide, an association may even suspend the voting rights of a member for the nonpayment of regular annual assessments that are delinquent in excess of 90 days whereas the condominium statutes do not allow for the suspension of any rights if a unit owner is delinquent in payment of assessments.

CONDO QUICK QUIZ

Question: If a director abstains when voting on a controversial issue, but doesn't have a conflict of interest, is the director deemed to have taken any position on the controversial issue anyway?

Answer: Yes. A director of the association who is present at a meeting of its board at which action on any corporate matter is taken shall be presumed to have assented to the action taken unless he or she votes against such action or abstains from voting in respect thereto because of an asserted conflict of interest.

A Publication for clients, family and friends of:

Law Offices of Eric M. Glazer, P.A.

Eric M. Glazer, Esquire
Michael A. Rajtar, Esquire
Lourdes Sanchez-Barcia, Esquire

Corporate Place, 85th Floor
1920 E. Hallandale Beach Blvd.
Hallandale, Florida 33009
(954) 983-1112

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation. The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience.