Newsletters

SUMMER 2000 JUNE

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: The Hallmark Condominium in Hollywood, Bay Place condominium in Hollywood, Kings Bay Condominium in Sunny Isles Beach and Rolling Green Condominium E in North 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.lawyers.com/condominiumlaw 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. If you want to send a copy of this newsletter to your residents simply forward us your e-mail address and the firm will add you to our Internet address book.

PET RESTRICTIONS

Many condominium associations limit the rights of unit owners and tenants to keep pets in their unit. However, not all associations do so legally. Pet restrictions are similar to covenants running with the land. Therefore, if the declaration of condominium does not prohibit pets, the only way to legally prevent pets is to amend the declaration of condominium. Prohibiting pets simply by passing a rule rather than amending the declaration makes the restriction vulnerable to a successful attack by the pet owners.

COMMERCIAL VEHICLES

Associations can also limit the rights of unit owners to maintain commercial vehicles in the condominium parking areas. If such a provision is not contained in the declaration, the Board may still be able to pass a rule forbidding such vehicles if the rule has a grandfather provision which allows already existing commercial vehicles to remain. Associations have successfully been able to obtain permanent injunctions against unit owners who refuse to relocate their commercial vehicles, and reimbursement of their court costs and attorney's fees.

COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION MANAGERS

Persons who receive compensation to control or disburse funds, prepare budgets or other financial documents, assist in noticing of meetings, and other day to day services for condominium associations with budgets of $100,000.00 or more or which contain more than 50 unites, need to be licensed as Florida "Community Association Managers." (CAMS) While CAMS can be an invaluable asset to your community, the Supreme Court of Florida has determined that CAMS cannot engage in the unlicensed practice of law by preparing the condominium's frequently asked question and answer sheet, drafting a claim of lien, determining votes necessary to take certain actions and interpreting the condominium documents. These actions require the advice of a licensed Florida attorney. The Board of Directors of a condominium which as in excess of 50 units or a $00,000.00 budget, can manage the condominium by themselves, without the need for a CAM since they are not receiving compensation for their services.

HURRICANE SHUTTERS

Predictions are that this year's hurricane season will be a dangerous one. 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.

CONDO QUIZ COLUMN

QUESTION: The proposed budge must be mailed to the unit owners how many days in advance of the budget Meeting? Must the budget include reserves?

ANSWER: Notice of the budge meeting must me mailed to the owners at least 14 days in advance of the meeting. This budget must contain reserves. The unit owners may then vote to waive the reserves by a majority Vote of the owners at a duly called meeting.

MONEY MATTERS - COLLECTING ASSESSMENTS

Many older associations who have not amended their Declaration of Condominium are probably not receiving the late fees and interest that they are entitled to under Florida Statute 718.116. The statute allows associations to charge interest on up to 18% per annum on late payments, in addition to a $25.00 per month late fee. The late fee and 18% interest can only be charged if specifically allowed in your condominium declaration. If not, the association cannot charge a late fee and is limited to the interest rate as stated in the declaration.