Newsletters

SPRING 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: Point East One and Two Condominiums in Aventura, Avant Garde Condominium in Hollywood, Winston Towers 100 in Sunny Isles Beach, Tennis Club Brooks Condominium in Fort Lauderdale and Fernwoods Condominium in Miami. 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.

ARBITRATION AND LITIGATION

In an effort to ease an already over burdened court system the Florida legislature passed a law that requires certain condominium related "disputes" to be heard in an arbitration proceeding rather than first proceeding to court litigation. Examples of cases that are required to first proceed to arbitration are cases involving the authority of the Board to alter or add to a common element, the failure of the Board to properly conduct elections, give adequate notice of meetings, or other actions, properly conduct meetings and allow inspection of books and records.

The arbitrator can order the parties to attend mediation. However, if an impasse is declared after mediation and the parties do not agree to continue arbitration, the arbitrator must enter an order of dismissal, and either party may then institute a suit in court.

The winner in arbitration is normally entitled to reimbursement of their attorney's fees and court costs. However, the loser in arbitration can file for a new trial in the courts and have their attorney's fees awarded and costs awarded if the court decision is more favorable than the arbitration. Any party to an arbitration proceeding may enforce an arbitration award by filling a petition in a court of competent jurisdiction in which the condominium is located.

CONDO QUICK QUIZ

Question: At Board meetings, can the Board of Directors address items that are not listed on the notice of meeting?

Answer: Yes. Any item not included on the notice may be taken up on an emergency basis by at least a majority plus one of the members of the board. Such emergency action shall be noticed and ratified at the next regular meeting of the board.

SOME RECENT SUCCESS

In Unit Owners v. International Park 2 the firm was successful in representing unit owners who claimed that the Board of Directors and management company deliberately did not notify them of an upcoming election because these same unit owners previously attempted to have the incumbent Board of Directors removed by way of recall petition. The arbitrator held that the association failed to explain why it sent mail to incorrect zip codes, mailed notice to nicknames instead of legal names and failed to assert a credible reason why the individuals who did not receive notice happen to be four individuals with whom the association and/or management company have "contentious relationships." The arbitrator granted the "extraordinary measure" or ordering a new election. In addition, the association will be required to reimburse the unit owners their arbitration costs and attorney's fees.

In another lawsuit, the firm was able to obtain a settlement in the amount of $650,000.00 on behalf of a client who sued a local municipality in Federal Court for violation of his civil rights. The client alleged that as a result of his refusal to pay bribes, the city by and through its elected officials and employees deliberately made efforts to harass him and destroy his financial interests in the community.

RESPONDING TO COMPLAINTS

When a unit owner files a written inquiry by certified mail with the board, the board MUST respond in writing to the unit owner within 30 days of receipt of the inquiry. The board's response shall either give a substantive response to the unit owner, notify the unit owner that a legal opinion has been requested, or notify the unit owner that advice has been requested from the division. If the board requests advice from the division, the board MUST, within 10 days of its receipt of the advice, provide in writing a substantive response to the unit owner. If a legal opinion is requested, the board MUST, within 60 days after the receipt of the inquiry, provide in writing a substantive response to the unit owner. The failure of the Board to provide a substantive response precludes the board from recovering attorney's fees and costs in any subsequent litigation, administrative proceeding, or arbitration arising out of the inquiry. Also, the association may through its board of administration adopt reasonable rules and regulations regarding the frequency and manner of responding to unit owner inquiries, one of which may be that that association is only obligated to respond to one written inquiry per unit in any given 30-day period. In such a case, any additional inquiry or inquiries must be responded to in the subsequent 30-day period, or periods, as applicable.

A Publication for clients, family and friends of:

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

Eric M. Glazer, Esquire
Michael A. Rajtar, 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.