Newsletters

SUMMER 2001

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 devote to the representation of condominium associations. This issue, the firm is proud to announce the following clients to our growing list of association clientele: Clairmont Villas Condominium, Summerset Condominium, Sandoral Condominium, Monclair Villas Condominium, and Ludlum Lakes Condominium in Miami, third Moorings Condominium and Romont Gardens Andover G and J Condominiums in North Miami Beach, Fairview House Condominium in Sunny Isles Beach, Vista Verde HOA and Miramar Gardens HOA in Opa-Locka, Oakland Forest Club Condominium in Fort Lauderdale, Arrowwood and Hollywood Towers Condominium in Hollywood, Bahia Miramar HOA in Miramar and Palm Springs Gardens Condominium in Hialeah. 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.

NEW ADDITIONS

Our Office Manager Leah Urena is proud to announce that the firm has recently hired Louis Goetz as its Senior Litigation Paralegal, Lavaugn Lewis as its new Litigation Secretary and Bernice Phillips as its new Comptroller. Rest assured that our entire staff promises to provide only the finest legal representation and appreciates the fact that our firm was chosen to serve your community.

INSTALLING LAUNDRY EQUIPMENT

The firm is commonly asked if associations can prevent unit owners from installing washers and dryers in their unit, even though the Declaration of Condominium is silent on the matter. A recent decision of the Condominium Arbitration Division held that a Board of Directors may pass a rule prohibiting the installation of washers and dryers as long as the rule does not contravene the declaration or bylaws. The arbitrator ordered the unit owners to immediately cease utilizing their washer and dryer, and within 21 days remove them from their unit and restore the area occupied by the washer and dryer to its previous condition. The association was given the right to be present during the disconnection and restoration process in order to determine compliance with the order. Additionally, the unit owners were required to obtain the services of both a licensed electrician and plumber to perform the work.

A MISDIRECTED DIRECTOR

The firm recently assisted a condominium association in uncovering a pattern of theft of association funds by its former President. A review of the bank records and canceled checks of the condominium revealed that the President had not paid monthly assessments in nearly two years, that the President had paid herself a salary during her tenure and had hired unauthorized family members as condominium employees. Without the need to sue the former President, the association was able to recoup its losses by submitting a detailed and well documented claim to their officer and director liability insurance carrier.

HURRICANE SHUTTERS

Florida law recognizes a unit owner's right to protect their unit against storm damage and requires each condominium board of directors to adopt hurricane shutter specifications, which include color, style and other factors deemed relevant by the Board, which shall comply with the applicable building code.

RECORDING BOARD MEETINGS

Any unit owner may tape record or videotape meetings, subject to the following restrictions: (a) The equipment cannot produce distracting sound or light emissions.
(b) If adopted in advance by the board or unit owners as a written rule: audio and video equipment shalle be assembled and placed in position in advance of the commencement of the meeting; anyone videotaping or recording a meeting shall not be permitted to move about the meeting room in order to facilitate the recording and advance notice shall be given to the board by any unit owner desiring to utilize any audio or video equipment.

AVOIDING THE COURTROOM

For a Board of Directors, more important than deciding who to sue next, is preventing the Board from getting sued itself. Remember that Florida Statute 718.111 provides that the officers and directors of the association have a fiduciary relationship to the unit owners. This means that Board members are in a position of trust and must always act in the best interest of the community as a whole, without regard for self interest. Commonly, Associations and Board members are sued for breach of their fiduciary duties by failing to maintain the common areas resulting in injury to persons or property, financial mismanagement and other violations of the Florida Condominium Statutes. Many of these lawsuits could have been avoided if the Board had sought the assistance of counsel before deciding on its own to take or not to take a specific course of action. Remember that a few minute precautionary phone call to counsel may save the association a great deal of time and expense in the future by avoiding the need to defend its conduct in a court of law.

CONDOMINIUM EDUCATION

At Century Village in Pembroke Pines, Eric Glazer recently had the privilege of teaching "Course 101 - Regulation of Condominium Associations" to approximately 30 condominium residents. The course is free of charge and is administered by the Center of Community and Condominium Living and funded by the Florida Division of Land Sales, Condominiums and Mobile Homes. Any association interested in having the course taught at their condominium is urged to call the Center at 954-456-3528.