Recent Advancements in Association Law

Michael Chapnick

Warren Buffett once said, “Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.” As we approach the end of 2022, we thought it appropriate to see if we can reduce the risk surrounding the management and operation of condominium and homeowners’ associations by focusing on five (5) relatively recent advances in Association Law that may have a profound effect on how these communities operate.  These five (5) areas are: assessment collection letters, association registration, alternative dispute resolution, fining and/or suspension of use rights, and, last, but certainly not least, reserves. As to collections, Sections 718.121(5) and 720.3085(3)(d), Fla. Stat., now require that condominium and homeowners’ associations may not require the payment of attorneys’ fees related to a past due assessment unless the association (or its managing agent) provides the unit owner with a notice letter giving the owner thirty (30) days within which to make payment.  A rebuttable presumption that this letter has been sent is created by the execution of an affidavit by an officer, director, agent, or licensed community association manager attesting to the same.  Thus, if your association plans on attempting to recover its attorneys’ fees from a unit owner for collection of past due assessments, the thirty (30) day letter and affidavit are a necessity. As part of Senate Bill 4-D, all condominium and cooperative associations with buildings three (3) stories or higher are required to report certain information to the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes, on or before January 1, 2023.  The information that is required includes, among other things: the name of the association, the number of buildings that are three (3) stories or higher in height, and the total number of units in those buildings.  Condominium and cooperative associations may register at http://www.myfloridalicense.com/DBPR/condos-timeshares-mobile-homes/building-report/. Since 1992, when a disagreement arose between a condominium association and a unit owner as to an issue that met the statutory definition of “dispute,” they were required to submit to what is called mandatory non-binding arbitration with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.  Disagreements between associations and owners in homeowners’ associations, on the other hand, had...

Continue reading
TFB

 

Sachs Sax Caplan, P.L. is proud to be recognized by The Florida Bar for our commitment to hiring and developing Board Certified Attorneys.