DBPR CAM REGULATION ABSOLUTELY USELESS
Opinion By Jan Bergemann
Published July 20, 2019
When it comes to regulating anything that deals with community associations the DBPR DIVISIONS are absolutely useless. When I read the DBPR responses to the numerous complaints filed against community associations and community association managers I always get the feeling that the only interest of the investigators is to close the file as quickly as possible, no matter how stupid the response -- just in order to go back to doing nothing – obviously the favorite day-time entertainment of the investigators.
Just read the LETTER FROM INVESTIGATOR CHRISTINE ASKEW closing the complaint filed by a homeowner, a complaint alleging clear violations of FS 720.303(5). Maybe the investigator failed to read FS 468.436 Disciplinary proceedings?
It more or less says in the closing letter: Since the issue has been solved in the meanwhile no further action needs to be taken. Does that mean that a clear violation is non-existent if the violation is corrected before the investigator can finish his investigation, that the complaint is null and void – and the CAM can continue to use his false interpretations of the Florida Statutes and keep homeowners from getting requested records in a timely manner?
The time-line of this complaint is easy to follow:
May 31, 2019: Owner is notified that he can inspect records on June 3, 2019 – but Demands Payment For Inspection, claiming that FS 720.303(5) allows charging fees.
June 19, 2019: CAM sends letter saying that association attorney stated that charging fees for record inspection is not allowed by statutes.
June 21, 2019: Owner still wasn’t able to inspect records, files complaint with DBPR.
June 27, 2019: Owner was able to inspect most – but not all -- of the requested documents.
July 12, 2019: Owner receives LETTER FROM DBPR: CASE CLOSED SINCE PROBLEM WAS SOLVED?
The Florida Statutes clearly state: FS 720.303(5)(a) The failure of an association to provide access to the records within 10 business days after receipt of a written request submitted by certified mail, return receipt requested, creates a rebuttable presumption that the association willfully failed to comply with this subsection.
With other words: The CAM’s refusal to allow the owner to inspect the requested documents without pre-payment of fee-demands, is a clear violation of Florida statutes, no matter what the CAM used as excuse. The profession of COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION MANAGER is a LICENSED PROFESSION here in Florida. Having a license would mean in my opinion that the licensed person has minimum a basic understanding of the rules and regulations, a basic understanding that should prevent such obvious mistakes as we have seen in this case. In my opinion you don’t need to have Einstein in your family tree to understand the basic rules of community association law. If such a “professional” isn’t 100% sure about the rules, he/she should minimum know where to find these rules and refresh his/her memory before violating the laws.
Oh, by the way, the homeowner still wasn’t able to inspect all the records he requested in his initial demand letter. No matter what the “Senior Complaint Analyst” said, I don’t think that “the problems surrounding the complaint have been corrected.” A violation of the laws clearly took place – and nothing happens!
Why do we need to pay for Complaint Investigators and/or Analysts if the licensed professionals can violate the laws without being held responsible?