Newsletters

WINTER 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: Peppermill Condominium in Kendall, Tamarind Grove, Summerset and Fernwoods Condominiums in Miami, Clairmont Villas Condominium in North Miami and Eldorado Plaza East 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.

THE WOODSIDE CASE

On January 3rd, 2002 the Florida Supreme Court decided the most important condominium law case perhaps ever decided by the Court. In Woodside v. Jahren and Mc Clernan, two unit owners challenged the association's right to enforce a new amendment to the Declaration of Condominium which limited the right to rent your unit for only nine months in a twelve month period. One of the unit owners had even been renting his unit in the condominium with annual leases for the past eighteen years. The court held that condominium living is unique and involves a greater degree of restrictions upon the rights of individual unit owners; that increased controls and limitations upon rights of unit owners to transfer their property are necessary for condominium living; that restrictions in a Declaration of Condominium are clothed with a very strong presumption of validity and that such restrictions will be upheld unless it is shown that the restriction is arbitrary, against public policy, or in violation of some fundamental right. Since the rental amendment was properly passed with the required number of votes, all unit owners knew that the declaration could be amended, the rental restriction did not violate public policy or a constitutional right, and the amendment was intended to promote owner occupancy of the condominium units, the court concluded that the amendment was both valid and enforceable.

CABLE TELEVISION

Cable television contracts with condominiums shall provide, and shall be deemed to provide if not expressly set forth, that any hearing-impaired or legally blind unit owner who does not occupy the unit with a non-hearing-impaired or sighted person, or any unit owner receiving supplemental security income under Title XVI of the Social Security Act or food stamps as administered by the Department of Children and Family Services pursuant to s. 414.31, may discontinue the service without incurring disconnect fees, penalties, or subsequent service charges, and, as to such units, the owners shall not be required to pay any common expenses charge related to such service.

PROVIDING FOR SECURITY

Condominium associations are wise to protect their residents from reasonably foreseeable criminal conduct. Associations who have actual or constructive knowledge of criminal activity that occurred on or near the condominium property, should employ adequate security measures. If the association fails to do so, and a victim suffers damages as a result of similar criminal attack, the Association faces the potential for civil liability.

CONDO QUICK QUIZ

Question: What records are not open to inspection by unit owners?

Answer: Records that are communications between the association and its attorney, medical records of unit owners, and information obtained by an association in connection with the approval of the lease, sale, or other transfer of a unit.

QUESTION & ANSWER SHEET

Florida Statute 718.111 requires the association to maintain a question and answer sheet as part of its official records. This page shall inform prospective purchasers of their voting rights, unit use restrictions, including restrictions on leasing; indicate whether and in what amount the unit owners or the association is obligated to pay rent or land use fees for recreational or other commonly used facilities; shall contain a statement identifying the amount of the assessment upon each unit type, exclusive of any special assessments, and which shall further identify whether the assessments are levied monthly, quarterly, or otherwise; shall state and identify any court cases in which the association is currently a party of record in which the association may face liability in excess of $100,000; and which shall further state whether membership in a recreational facilities association is mandatory, and if so, shall identify the fees currently charged per unit type.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT

On January 9th, 2002 Eric Glazer had the honor and pleasure of appearing on television on the 6:00 CBS News as a legal correspondent regarding the question of an association's right to pass a special assessment.