Newsletters

SPRING 2000

WELCOME ABOARD

While the firm also practices in the areas of commercial litigation and bankruptcy, the majority of the practice is devoted to the representation of condominium associations. This month, our firm is proud to announce the following additions to our growing list of association clientele: Ro Mont Gardens A, Ro Mont Gardens H, Ro Mont Gardens Service Corporation and Fourth Forum Condominium in North Miami Beach, Florence Condominium in Eastern Shores, Second Gulfstream Condominium in Hallandale, and Baylis Condominium and Sun Isle Condominiums in Miami Beach. If we don't say it enough, we can assure you that we appreciate the business and the confidence placed in our firm.

WE'RE ON THE WEB

If you would like to obtain a current profile of the firm, log on to the firm's web address: www.condo-laws.com where you can view a biography of the attorneys in the firm, a current list of our condominium clients, a list of published articles by the firm's attorneys, send e-mail, get directions to our office and more.

YOUR MONEY

As many of you are aware, every condominium association pays the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation the sum of $4.00 per unit each year toward a "trust fund." Thanks to the research and urging of the leaders of the Northeast Dade Coalition, the State of Florida Auditor General's Office performed an audit of this trust fund and found that the fees that are paid by condominiums were instead being used over the last several years to subsidize the operating budgets within the Bureau of Land Sales, Bureau of Mobile Homes and Bureau of Timeshares, each of which were operating at a financial loss. Each condominium association should demand from their elected representatives that the Florida Legislature pass a law mandating that the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation segregate funds collected from condominium associations, and that these funds are used solely for the administration of condominiums and not for land sales, timeshares or mobile homes.

The Northeast Dade Coalition is comprised of approximately 100 different condominium associations located in Northeast Dade County. Member associations meet approximately every six weeks to discuss condominium related issues. Guest speakers routinely include elected officials, attorneys, manager's, accountants and businesses that serve the condominium community. If your association hasn't joined the Coalition please contact its President, Paul Libert at 305-933-9775. We can assure you that every meeting is fun, educational and a great breakfast buffet is enjoyed by all.

EXPLAINING BANK FORECLOSURES

When a bank forecloses on a condominium unit, the bank usually purchases the property at the foreclosure sale and becomes the new owner of the unit. If the bank's mortgage was signed before April 1st, 1992 the bank will not owe the association any money for delinquent condominium maintenance. If the bank's mortgage was signed after April 1st, 1992 the bank will owe the association one percent of the original amount of the mortgage or the past six months of condominium assessments, whichever is less. It is important to remember however that once the bank becomes the owner of the unit the bank must pay the maintenance for each and every month the bank owns the unit.

LONG DISTANCE MEETINGS

Many Boards of Directors are comprised of "snow birds" who return North during the summer months. This does not mean that these Board members cannot continue to participate in Board meetings. Florida Statute 718.112 allows board members or committee members to meet by telephone conference and vote by telephone. A telephone speaker must be used so that the conversation of those board or committee members attending by telephone may be heard by the board or committee members attending in person, as well as by any unit owners present at a meeting.

ADOPTING A BUDGET

Many Boards mistakenly believe that unit owners must approve the association's annual budget. On the contrary, the sole responsibility for preparing the budget is that of the Board of Director's. After preparing the proposed budget, the board must then call a meeting of the unit owners and hand deliver or mail to each unit owner, at the address last furnished to the association, a meeting notice and copies of the proposed annual budget. This must be done not less than 14 days prior to the meeting of the unit owners or the board of administration at which the budget will be considered. Only if the proposed budget is in excess of 115% of the previous budget can the unit owners attempt to veto the Board's proposed budget.

CONDO QUIZ COLUMN

Question: Do all unit owners have the right to speak at all Board of Directors meetings?

Answer: Yes. Pursuant to Florida Statute 718.112, the right to attend such meetings includes the right to speak at such meetings with reference to all designated agenda items. The association may adopt written reasonable rules governing the frequency, duration, and manner of unit owner statements.