Courtesy of The Sun Sentinel
Published January 23,
that your condo or homeowner association won't let you have a pet? Is the
board threatening to foreclose on your home over a $25 debt? Do you think
your directors are stealing association money?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes — or if you have other
concerns — then keep the next two weekends open for three free events.
On Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., the Florida House Select Committee on
Condominium & Homeowner Association Governance will hold the first of
five statewide public hearings at Broward Community College's south
campus, 7200 Pines Blvd., Pembroke Pines. State Rep. Julio Robaina, the
Miami Republican who heads the newly created panel, wants to hear from
unit owners, especially those who suspect boards are stealing money. Call
his office at 305-442-6868 for more information.
Also that day, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., the Southeast Florida Chapter
of the Community Association Institute will hold its Trade Show & Day
of Education at the Wynmoor community in Coconut Creek. Danille R.
Carroll, the state condo ombudsman, will hold an hourlong discussion
starting at 1:30 p.m. on what to do if you suspect your directors are
For more information, see www.cai-seflorida.org or call 954-816-0661.
On Feb. 1-2, the Deland-based Cyber Citizens for Justice will hold its
National Homeowners Association Conference in Fort Lauderdale and
"It is the first meeting in Florida with national participation
organized by owners and for the benefit of homeowners and condo owners
nationwide," President Jan Bergemann said. "We feel it is high
time for owners to take the initiative instead of having the service
providers [such as association attorneys and management companies] decide
how we live and what rules regulate our lives and financial welfare."
Cyber Citizens, a volunteer organization formed in 2000 to help rein in
the power of boards, has been successful lobbying for new laws.
The Feb. 1 program, from 6:30 to 10 p.m. at the North Beach Community
Center, 3351 NE 33rd Ave., Fort Lauderdale, will include a panel
discussion with Robaina and Dr. Virgil Rizzo, the state's former condo
Also on the panel will be David Kahne, the Houston lawyer who wrote the
AARP's Bill of Rights for unit owners; Mark R. Benson, of Fort Myers, a
member of the state Regulatory Council of Community Association Managers;
and Marjorie Murray, president of the nonprofit Center for California
Homeowner Association Law.
Also speaking will be Maida Genser, of Tamarac, president of Citizens for
Pets in Condos.
The Feb. 2 program is 1 to 5 p.m. in the clubhouse at Century Village
East, 2400 Century Blvd., Deerfield Beach. Some of the speakers from the
previous day will be there, plus attorney Mark Bogen, who writes a weekly
Q&A on condo and homeowner association law in the South Florida
Sun-Sentinel, and Barry Silver, the Boca Raton attorney who
successfully defended a Jupiter homeowner sued by his association for
flying an American flag.
Question-and-answer sessions will follow both presentations.
See the group's Web site, www.ccfj.net, for more information on the
conference and driving directions.
Q. Several residents point out their homeowner association
documents set term limits for directors but state law doesn't. Can term
limits be legal if the law doesn't allow them, they ask.
A. Jean A. Winters, a Boca Raton attorney who represents unit
owners, points out both homeowner association and condo association
laws are unclear when it comes to restrictions on board membership.
One of the only cases to be reviewed involved a condo. The formal opinion
issued by the state Department of Business & Professional Regulation
was that an association's restrictions on board membership were illegal
because the law's only restriction is that convicted felons can't serve.
Department rulings aren't law, however, and "it will be interesting
to see if this or some other restriction is challenged in court," she
The bottom line: Until a court decides or the Legislature clarifies the
law, it is a matter of interpretation.